Featured Pages Matchless Flat Twin 1916 An Outstanding Design by Harry Collier
Matchless 732cc HO TwinClement Ader The Stuff of Legend
Pioneer in Telephony, Aviation and Motorcycling
Moteurs AderGuzzi's Grandpa A shaft-drive transverse V-twin from 1904, another deft touch from Clement Ader.
1886 Triumph Cycle Company founded by Siegfried Bettmann.
1887 The company registered as the New Triumph Co. Ltd., now with financial backing from the Dunlop
Tyre Co. In that year, Bettmann was joined by another Nuremberg native, Mauritz Schulte.
1888 Schulte encouraged Bettmann to transform Triumph into a manufacturing
company, and in 1888 Bettmann purchased a site in Coventry, using money
lent by his and Schulte's families.
1889 The company began producing the first Triumph-branded bicycles
1890s Motorcycle manufacture began in Coventry.
1908 Advert in 'The Times' for Triumph Motorcycles.
1912 Listed in Spennell's directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers.
1896 Triumph opened a subsidiary, Orial TWN (Triumph Werke Nuremberg),
a German subsidiary for cycle production in his native city.
1897 The company was registered on 12 February, as the New Triumph Cycle
Co, to acquire the business of the Triumph Cycle Co. In June,
the name was changed to the Triumph Cycle Co.
1898 Triumph decided to extend its own production to include motorcycles
and by 1902, the company had produced its first motorcycle - a bicycle
fitted with a Belgian-built engine. In 1903, as its motorcycle sales topped
500, Triumph opened motorcycle production at its unit in Germany.
During its first few years producing motorcycles, the company based its
designs on those of other manufacturers. In 1904, Triumph began building
motorcycles based on its own designs and in 1905 produced its first completely
in-house designed motorcycle. By the end of that year, the company had
produced more than 250 of that design.
1902 Branched out into making Triumph motorcycles at their works
in Much Park Street. At first these used bought-in engines but the business
took off and they soon started making their own and, in 1907, expanded
into a new factory in Priory Street, taking over the premises of a spinning
1902 The first Triumph motorcycle was known as the No. 1,
a converted fitted with a Belgian-made 2.25bhp Minerva
engine on the front tube. At the time, internal combustion technology was
more advanced in continental Europe than it was in the UK, and Mauritz
Schulte, the designer (and co-owner of the Triumph Cycle Company),
happened to be a perfectionist. The Minerva
was felt to be the best engine for the purpose.
1907 After the company opened a larger plant, production reached 1,000
bikes. Triumph had also launched a second, lower-end brand, Gloria,
(see below), produced in the company's original plant.
World War I. The outbreak of World War I proved a boost for the company
as production was switched to support the Allied war effort. More than
30,000 motorcycles - among them the Model H Roadster aka the "Trusty
Triumph," often cited as the first modern motorcycle - were supplied to
the Allies. Major orders for the 550cc Model H came from the British
Army during World War I and, by 1918, they were Britain's largest motorcycle
Bettmann and Schulte fell out after the war, with Schulte wishing to replace
bicycle production with automobiles.
1919 Mauritz Schulte left Triumph after conflicting opinions with Siegfried
Bettman, with a 'Golden Handshake' of £15,000. Schulte believed that
Triumph should concentrate on car production, Bettman strongly disagreed.
The successor to Mauritz Schulte as General Manager, was Colonel Claude
Vivian Holbrook, who worked for the War Office during World War 1 as a
motorcycle procurement officer.
c1921 Triumph Motor Co formed
By the mid-1920s Triumph had grown into one of Britain's leading
motorcycle and car makers, with a 500,000 square feet plant capable of
producing up to 30,000 motorcycles and cars each year.
In 1932, Triumph sold off its bicycle manufacturing facility to Raleigh.
1933 Triumph had been struggling financially, and Bettmann had been forced
out of the chairman's spot and he retired completely in 1933.
1936 The company hit financial problems however and in 1936 the Triumph
motorcycle businesses were sold to Jack Sangster of Ariel
to become the Triumph