Estonian Bike IndustryPrior to World War I

Prior to World War I

Before 1880. The primitive bicycles of that time mostly represented circus and hobby items. Several of them were made individually and from-the-hip; they were not widespread.

After bicycle became a considerable means of transportation in the 1880s, the Estonian national bicycle industry launched its production in the turn of the 19th and 20th century. The greatest manufacturer of that time was John Schümann in Tallinn, who sold Matador bicycles both on local market and in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and many other locations in the Russian Empire (Estonia was a part of a Russian Empire in these times until 1917-18). Schümann produced his bicycles in 1897-1905, when other, major manufacturers entered our local (Russian Empire) market, which made bicycle manufacturing less profitable.

Minor mentionable bicycle-makers of that time (operated mostly in 1900-14) included A. Rammo and Fr. Nicolai in Tallinn, Karl Gustav Reinhold, Ed. Kiwi and Ed. Otsing in Tartu, Gustav Leetberg in Rakvere (model Wiru), P. Saretok in Valga, and others. It is hard to estimate the extent to which the bicycles made by these manufacturers consisted of imported components and self-produced components – they probably used both. It is likely that they made the frames and other less complicated parts locally.

Local bicycle industry was probably inactive during the war period 1914-19.