Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,535 pages of information and 233,960 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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Dürkopp, a German maker of sewing machines, bicycles, cars, buses, etc.

1867 Dürkopp and Schmidt was formed in Bielefeld, Germany to make sewing machines

c.1885 The company diversified into bicycles

1889 The company went public to raise funds for expansion

1894 Unable to persuade his shareholders to invest in cars, Nikolaus Dürkopp spent his own money developing an automobile

1897 The firm was persuaded to move into automobile production as a replacement for bicycle sales. To do this fast, the company became partners with a French manufacturer and used their blueprints instead.

1899 Dürkopp presented its first original design, a small "sports car", at a show in Berlin. The firm also made motorcycles.

1902 They built bus chassis from 1902. Only the early models of buses were sold in Britain. The North Eastern Railway had a fleet of over 15. The Hastings bus company ran a few before their operator went bankrupt.

c.1905 discontinued motorcycle production

Once Mercedes had released their groundbreaking design, Dürkopp, like most other German manufacturers, followed the Mercedes model.

The company became known as a high-quality luxury car producer. Bicycle and sewing machine sales supported continued investment in automobile production.

1904 Dürkopp bought an automobile body factory, Wiemann and Co. of Magdeburg. Cars were exported to England under the name Watsonia.

1906 A model known as the "Knipperdolling" was the first commercial success. This had a four-cylinder engine.

The company ventured into many other products.

1929 The automobile divisions were sold to Mercedes-Benz

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris
  • Company Histories [1]