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Historical prints

Product catalogues. In the 1920s-30s, there were product catalogues galore. As a rule, the Estonian catalogues published in the 1920s and 1930s promoted the brands sold (distributed) by a particular manufacturer. Local ETK and ARE bicycle manufactures began publishing their own catalogues by the second half of the 1930s. There were also some import catalogues available in Estonia, such as Swift (English) in the 1920s and Dürkopp (German) in the 1930s.

Things were different after the war, when technical specifications and user manuals, often in the form of small unassuming brochures, replaced product catalogues. Most bicycle manufacturers did not pay particular attention to their appearance. The quality of the paper used for the manuals was usually mediocre and they had no artistic design. However, there was one exception – the manuals issued in the second half of the 1950s by Riga Bicycle Factory (Sarkana Zvaigzne), the successor of Erenpreis (operated in the 1930s). These manuals were colourful and, in many ways, similar to pre-war product catalogues.

Advertising. Several bicycle sales ads published in the magazines and other periodicals of the 1920s-30s in Estonia had simple illustrative pictures. However, the ads of Rud. Niibo bicycles even came with special rhymes.

Bicycle driver’s licence. Before and during World War II (and immediately after the war), local governments imposed annual bicycle tax in Estonia. The payment of the tax was associated with issuing a new licence plate, designed in different colours for different years. Thus, the bicycle driver’s licence was, in fact, a certificate, because the cyclist did not actually have to pass any examinations.

Registration certificates and the obligation to register bicycles persisted after the war, in the 1940s-60s. However, the owner was no longer required to replace licence plates each year. However, due to increased traffic density, the design of certificates reminded little brochures, containing the most important provisions of the traffic rules applicable to the cyclists.