On this day in auto history - August 10th

Tue 10th Aug 2021

It was on this day in 1938 that pioneering Czech engineer Vaclav Klement - co-founder of what is now Skoda - passed away aged 70.

Originally a bookseller, Klement began repairing bicycles for a living in the late 1880’s and, together with his locksmith friend Vaclav Laurin, went on to form the Laurin & Klement Company in 1895 to produce their own bicycles.

Laurin & Klement devoted itself to producing motorcycles from 1899 and, following a period of rapid growth, began making cars in 1905 whilst raising extra capital by registering on the stock exchange.

Having also produced trucks and weapons during World War I, Laurin & Klement’s premises were badly affected by a fire in 1924, causing the company to actively seek a new partner and this is where the Skoda Works - a Czech industrial conglomerate - stepped in with a full merger taking place the following year.

Having become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group in 2000, Skoda’s are today sold in over 100 countries with global sales in excess of 1.2 million, making it one of the most profitable auto companies in the world.