Václav Laurin and Václav Klement – the fathers of the Škoda brand
On December 17, 1895, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement started their business together. They started with bicycles, revolutionary motorcycles, and ended with cars. This is how today’s Škoda, a popular and much-loved automobile brand, was born. But who were Václav Laurin and Václav Klement and how did the brand develop so rapidly??
A few words about Václav Klement
Václav Klement was born and grew up in Velvary. After completing fifth grade at elementary school, his stepmother sent him to work for the local blacksmith. He did not stay there long, however, as his teacher thought he could do better and arranged a place for him with the bookseller Vokoun in Slan, where he became an apprentice. Here Klement became infected with reading books and cycling, which was not without significance for the development of his company in later years. At the age of 18, he became the owner of the bookstore himself, and his life was going quite well. In 1864. became the owner of a bicycle Germania 6 by Seidel & Naumann. Quite soon, however, it broke down, and no one around him could remedy the problem. Frustration led him to open his own repair shop. He started selling bicycles initially in his bookstore. He offered them together with books that he himself distributed around the area. However, he kept thinking about his own vehicles, which would be durable enough.
Václav Laurin was born in Kamien near Turnov. He came from a poor family, but his parents, seeing that the young boy had technical abilities, sent him to learn the profession of mechanic. The next stage was the school of handicrafts in Mlada Boleslav. Laurin gained professional experience in various workshops and also in operating steam engines in Dresden. He later collaborated on the production of bicycles, but still dreamed of starting his own company with the same specialty.
The beginnings of the collaboration
However, Laurin could not establish his own brand in the same town as there was no room for competition, so he decided to move and try his luck in Mladá Boleslavia. As soon as he heard about it, Klement decided to offer Laurin a share in his venture. On 30th September 1895, the new partners, already as the Laurin company&Klement, presented the first proposal for the location of his company to the town council. However, it was rejected. It was only two months later that an alternative location for the company was finally approved. The company‘s first bicycles were sold in Klement’s bookstore, which he continued to run. The models were called Slavia. Unfortunately, sales did not go well, as many companies of this type were created at that time. Nevertheless, in 1898. they managed to build a new factory, in which they employed almost 40 people.
Later on, the factory started to produce motorcycles and gradually developed them.
Where the Škoda brand name comes from
The name of the brand comes from Emil Škoda, who was the founder of Škoda factories, which were initially engaged in metal and armaments industry and later in car production.
In the 1920s. By the 1860s, with the first cars already on the market, Laurin & Klement began to look for a strategic partner. In 1925, the company merged with Škoda in Pilsen. A year later, the first car from Mladá Boleslav with the Škoda logo was presented at the International Motor Show in Prague. It was the 150 model.