Industrie Museum - Chemnitz, Germany +++++

Chemnitz - well known town with production of bicycles, but big and nice museum in city keeping silence about.


128 - Industrie Museum Chemnitz

Old factory building UNION in Chemnitz in 2013.

128/B UNION Chemnitz

The history of the bicycle industry in Chemnitz

Harry Weinert 2012

The town Chemnitz and the neighboring villages were the cradle of developing and production of bicycles in the end of the 19th century.

The production of bicycles came to a standstill with the political change in 1989/90 despite the renaissance of the bicycle as unit for sport and for tourism. Only a middle  large company in a village near Chemnitz  continue the production of bicycles unter the former , wellknown in Europe, brand names "Diamant".

Bicycle production phase-founder

The start of production of low-wheeled bicycle in Chemnitz is dated to 1884. Template were English designs and models. Previously, in various factories running and later high wheels were produced 1884 the Brothers Nevoigt founded their workshop for production of platinum’s and began 1885 with the production of bicycles, known under the later name "Diamant cycle" 1885 Winkelhofer / Jänicke founded the "Chemnitz Velosiped established Depot”. This led to the later "Wanderer-Werke"

1897 the "Presto factory " took on the production of bicycles.

It was followed by the knitting machine factory "Schubert & Salzer," specially a separate work was erected for the production of bicycles. 1896 the "bike-factory Salzer & Co." was founded. After 1906 documents for The further production of bicycles were missing.

As a major manufacturer of bicycles, the company "Spearman, Weigel & Co" is to mention, created the bike with the name "Esweco" on the market. There was no self-construction, but the company bought parts in whole Germany and assembled them to bicycles. For completeness, should be mentioned: 1887 start of production of bicycles in "knitting machine factory R. Dressler," Kappel, However, the production is no longer documented from 1892. 1898 recording of bicycle production at the company, "Richter & Speer" and 1898 recording of bicycle production at the company, "Moritz Swoboda" For both companies, there is no evidence of how long the bike production was In operation, but it is likely, that it was soon discontinued, and had assumed any large extent. The later Technical Director of the "Wanderer Werke" Richard Stuhlmacher produced from 1901 to 1907 five special bikes.

Production of bicycle until the end

The "Presto Fahrradwerke Guenther Co. KG” was founded in Tharand in 1897 as a bicycle factory, in the same year in Chemnitz on the production in a factory at Zwickau Str. was established. Although the production of motorcycles and cars of various types were dominated by value, bicycles were always being produced .The experience with the construction of motorcycles in the 20's led to the development of bicycles with an auxiliary motor (startle or chicken, pecking warmer). 1930 was converted to military production, producing bikes for the armed force, but 1943 the production of bicycles was set. All materials and designs were handed over to the “Diamantwerke”.  “Presto” was the headquarters of the works in the Scheffelstraße, then the administration building was used as the headquarters of the “AUTO UNION”, also because the “Presto company” have been sold there. The "Wanderer Werke" was directed to about 1888 on the production of high wheels. The low-wheels came into vogue, especially with the UK import. As early as 1890 in the "Wanderer Werke" 470 pc. of low bicycles were built. 10.000 bicycles were already built with the newly launched roller chain in1895. 1901 the double gear transmission hub was introduced in production with freewheel and coaster brake as a registered DRP. The production of bicycles was continuelly maintained after World War I and the Great Depression, but it gradually lost in importance towards the production of motorcycles, automobiles and machine tools. Under the “AUTO UNION” the production of bicycles was not forced and during the II.World War the production was exclusively directed for the war machinery. It can’t be demonstrated with certainty after the dismantling in 1945, whether afterwards the production of bicycles has beenresumed. The flagship of the bicycle industry in Chemnitz was the “Diamant factory of Nevoigtbrothers” in Chemnitz / Siegmar. In 1895 the first Diamant-bikes were made from serial production. Bicycle production was the most important part in 1912, so that in 1000 people were already employed in 1916. The brand had become so popular that the "Chemnitz racing club" was founded. 1926 the construction of the first alloy bicycle was made. In 1931 the double roller chain was introduced, which is still used today. In subsequent years the production was very stable with production numbers from 150.0000 to 200.000 pcs. apart from the reductions during the Great Depression.

In preparation of and during the Second World War, bicycles were built for the Army and the next production cycle went back. The Diamant factory were converted to war production especially for all gun parts, such as sighting devices and lock parts are manufactured, as this operation was favored for production by the parallel flat knitting machines.

After the Second World War and the dismantling the production of bicycles resumed slowly.

The foundation of the " VEB Fahrradwerke Elite Diamant" took place In 1952. In its first year were still built about 300.000 bikes, so the production stabilized in subsequent years to around 200.000 units / year.

But the famous diamond bicycles were worldwide public, especially the racing bicycles by the international success of "Täve" Schur and B. Eckstein in “amateur cycling world championships”.. In the 1970s and 1980s racing bicycles for the East German national team were made, with them numerous international competitions were won. Diamant bicycle were on the amount of time largely beginning to der 1980s. After the political changes the " VEB Fahrradwerke Elite Diamant." were privatized under the flag of the Swiss group Villinger. Since 2003, they are under the direction of the U.S. company Trek Bicycle Corp.. And at the same time the company moved into a new production facility in Hartmannsdorf. The old traditional location in Chemnitz/Siegmar was abandoned and forfeited increasing.

The plant in Hartmannsdorf is only a manufacturing facility, usually only assembly plant or factory completion. The development department is in the U.S. the distribution is handled by the Swiss company Villinger. The frames are from Taiwan, circuits and breaks from China. The stamps will be sold "Diamant," Anwara "and" Kukuwara " Produced were 150,000 bicycles are going as a city- , touring- and trek-bikes The preparation of Elektrobikes was recorded. New is the front of the engine and the pedal brake with energy recovery.

The bicycle production effectuated also the founding of companies for supply parts and accessories. These include the following companies: - Herm. Riemann, Chemnitz-Gablenz , company for bicycle- and car lights. The partially decayed and rotten ruin of the company - known as VEB Fahrzeugelektrik on the Sonnenberg, present at the Fürstenstr. no evidence more of the glory of past years.Gebr Haeckel Chemnitz Gablenz special factory for bicycle and automobile l lanterns, the company was in the Bernhardt-Str. and parts of buildings are still present.


The production of bicycles - a tradition in Chemnitz- forever has been lost. As a last resort, albeit a small bastion in the tradition of building and commercial of bicycles in Chemnitz "bicycle-Franke"- well known in Chemnitz and the surrounding- closed its business in the Schlossstraße in 2010. Now the shop is a sex/erotic- shop. Symptomatically?