1914 Durkopp Cardan (Chainless)

 PREV  ITEM 83 / 292  NEXT 


1910 Durkopp postage stamp

Durkopp was one of Germany’s top bicycle manufacturers. The company’s Cardan (chainless) bicycle was a popular seller. When Rover brought out a chainless bicycle in Britain, they used the Durkopp system under license.

1910s Durkopp Cardan (Chainless) Export Model

23″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Frame No 589847

(Now sold)

This is a recent acquisition from the USA. With wooden rims and hub front brake, it appears to be an American export model. In the years building up to World War 1, Germany pushed hard in world export markets in order to compete with British industry.

The Durkopp is in very good original unrestored condition, and the Durkopp name can still be seen faintly on the down tube.

My friend found it in the USA; here’s his description:
You will note that this frame has original paint and parts.
The machine shaft drive mechanism is very good and has been well looked after. It runs very well.
The rims are sound as a pound. I looked at every inch of them.
The frame is 23 inches measured from seat bolt to middle of the pedal crank axle. Continental size wheels. 700s I think is what they are called
Frame number as you can see is 589847.
The machine is in track and no dents to the tubing.















In Bielefeld, Germany, during the middle of the 19th century, the industrial revolution had turned the city into a major textiles location. Imported sewing machines, mainly from the USA, were used to further process the materials. They were expensive to buy and hard to service. Two mechanics, Baer and Koch, recognized the opportunity and started the first sewing machine factory in Bielefeld .
The success of the venture indicated to the partners the potential of the new market, and in 1865, Baer decided to start his own operation. Koch continued trading under the name of Koch & Co, and by this time, he employed two sewing machine mechanics: Dürkopp and Schmidt. Dürkopp had already designed his first sewing machine in 1861, and in 1867 together with Schmidt, he started his own company known as Dürkopp & Schmidt.

Within the following 20 years, Bielefeld developed to become one of the most important centres of the sewing machine industry in Germany. In 1880, there were 19 Bielefeld companies operating in the sector. Their products enjoyed international recognition and were sold all over Europe.

The sector underwent a crisis in the 1880s as a result of growing national and international competition. Dürkopp & Co, as the company was called after Schmidt’s departure, was the first enterprise to start seeking new markets with the manufacturing of bicycles. The new product line sold very well and the company continued on its successful path. As did other companies, Koch & Co. followed Dürkopp’s example, and bicycle manufacturing soon became an important factor in the town’s economy.

Inspired by his success, Dürkopp started manufacturing cars, trucks and other forms of motorized transport at around the end of the century. While Dürkopp was constantly busy trying to find new fields of business for his company, Koch & Co concentrated on industrial sewing and clothing equipment. Its brand name “Adler” became synonymous for special sewing machines of international demand. Kochs Adler Nähmaschinenwerke AG, as the company was called by then, therefore discontinued bicycle production in 1920.

At the end of the 1920s, the world economic crisis forced Dürkoppwerke AG, the name of the company after the death of its founding father, to give up car production, which in any case had not been a great success.