It was named after its founder Janečekbought the motorcycle production of Wanderer in 1929, by concatenating the first letters of Janeček and Wanderer. The company is still active today.
The first model was introduced on 23 October, 1929. This was a 500cc 4-cycle engine with 12 kW of power (1 hp) and fuel consumption of 6 liters per 100km. Although priced highly, through the first years (and several constructional fixes) this motorcycle was successful and was considered to be reliable.
Due to the economic recession of the early 1930, a cheaper and simpler motorcycle was needed. Year 1932 marked the introduction of Jawa 175, with its 3.6 kW engine. This light (70 kg) machine was capable of speeds up to 80 km/h and fuel consumption of 3.5 liters per 100 km. The first year of production was an immediate success, selling over 3,000 of the Jawa 175, almost three times the number of the 500 cc model over three years of production. The production of this model was finally stopped 1946. In 1938 Jawa was the first to offer test rides during exhibition show. This test motorcycle was a custom Jawa 175 equipped with dual handlebars, second pair being in the back for the instructor. Over the years total of 27,535 units of the Jawa 175 were built.
In 1934, Jawa introduced its first car. Production continued to at least the outbreak of war, and it appears that a few were assembled from left-over parts in 1944-1945.