On this day in auto history - August 12th

Thu 12th Aug 2021

It was on this day in 1930 that pioneering Czech engineer, entrepreneur and industrialist Vaclav Laurin - co-founder of what is now Skoda - passed away aged 64.

From humble beginnings, Laurin established a strong reputation as a tinkerer and locksmith before co-founding the Laurin & Klement Company in 1895 to produce bicycles with friend and business partner Vaclav Klement.

Laurin & Klement devoted itself to producing motorcycles from 1899 and, following a period of rapid growth, made the crucial leap into automobile production 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 worked for some time as a technical director with the new company, Laurin gradually withdrew from an active professional life due to his failing health, finally passing away in 1930. 

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.