The Sichelrad was one of the most unusual German bicycle designs. Presumably influenced by the American Victor Springfork bicycle of the late 1880s, the Anker-Werke company made a front spring fork for their bicycles. This model then became the top of their range.
It certainly is very distinctive. It does make the front end slightly heavier. Like all spring forks and spring frames introduced onto bicycles over the years, I can’t say it particularly improves the suspension of the bike. However, like all unusual innovations fitted to bicycles, it definitely turns an otherwise mundane bicycle into a very interesting conversation piece and collector’s item.
1930s Gorricke with Anker Sichelrad (Spring-Fork)
The unique Anker spring fork was normally fitted to Anker bicycles. I’m not sure if Gorricke produced this model under licence from Anker when new, or if the spring fork was added to this bicycles later in its life.
As you can see from the company resume below, Anker started in 1867 as a manufacturer of sewing machines. It still exists as a British company supplying electronic cash registers.
1867: Carl Schmidt and Nickolaus Durkopp found a partnership to manufacturer sewing machines in Germany.
1876: Schmidt establishes his own sewing machine business in Bielefeld, Germany, as Bielefelder Nähmaschinenfabrik Carl Schmidt.
1878: Joined by Hugo Hengstenberg, the company begins producing machines under the combined name Carl Schmidt & Hengstenberg.
1894: The company begins producing bicycles and changes its name to Bielefelder Nähmaschinen- und Fahrrad-Fabrik Hengstenberg the following year.
1900: The company begins production of cash registers.
1906: The company changes name to Anker Werke AG.
1912: Anker Werke begins production of accounting machines and other office equipment.
1939-1945: Like most German companies, Anker used forced labour during the war. They’re included on a public list that records such things, with the following entry: Anker-Werke, Bielefeld ADS Anker GmbH Am Stadtholz 39 33609 Bielefeld 0521/ 3010 John H. Foulkes 540, Ankerwerke camp; 90, Anker Werke camp – Berglust
1948: The company ends production of bicycles to concentrate on cash registers and accounting machinery.
1956: Anker Werke launches its first electro-mechanical accounting machines.
1958: Sewing machine production is spun off into a separate subsidiary.
1967: Subsidiary ADS Anker Data Systems is created.
1976: Anker declares bankruptcy and is acquired by the U.K. company Thomas Tilling.
1978: Riva Computer Services Ltd. is founded in the United Kingdom.
1983: Thomas Tilling Group acquired by BTR.
1988: Riva goes public as Riva Group Plc.
1989: Riva acquires Hugin Sweda cash register group.
1995: Anker is bought from BTR by European Acquisition Capital and John Foulkes.
1996: Anker acquires GPI and begins restructuring, shutting manufacturing facilities and focusing on software development.
1999: Anker acquires OMRON Europe and the exclusive license to distribute Omron products in Europe; Riva Group plc is also acquired.
2001: Unicos BV of the Netherlands is acquired. Bolton, England-based (but Netherlands registered) Anker BV has transformed itself into a leading supplier of electronic point of sales systems to the European market. The company, which combines the electronic cash register business of the former BTR (now merged with Siebe into Invensys), and the EPOS business of Riva Group PLC, as well as the European distribution network of Japan’s Omron, claims an installed base of more than 900,000 systems throughout Europe.
From 1949-1958 the factory in Bielefeld, Germany, built motorcycles with Sachs and JLO engines 98-250cc. In 1952 the Paderborner Maschinenbau AG in Paderborn took over the Anker factory. Subsequently the motorcycles were built in Paderborn and only moped production was continued in Bielefeld for a couple of years.
The BSA Ariel 3 tricycle used the Anker Laura moped engine.