History Simson Factory Suhl

Simson Logo

1854 the brothers Löb und Moses Simson bought one third of a steelhammer in Suhl (Germany). There the production of charcoalsteel began and the firm Simson & Co. was founded 1856. The following years they produced guns and gunbarrels.

1871 the first steam engine started to work. The enterprise established 1896 production of bicycles.

Old Simson Bicycle

1907 the firm began automobile production, the racing car Simson Supra is famous.

Simson Automobile

1936 the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler in Germany forced the jewish family Simson to flee the country. Within the framework of dispossession of jewish industrialists a trustee undertook the firm, thereby arised per mergence with other factories the "Berlin Suhler Waffen- und Fahrzeugwerke" (BSW).

In this Jahr also the first motorbike rolled from assembly hangars, it's name was BSW 98.

Simson BSW 98

After the political conditioned emigration of the Simson brothers the company intensified weapon production. From 1939 the company had the appellation "Gustloff-Werke - Waffenwerk Suhl".

Weapon factory Suhl

Until 1945 the factory build bicycles, weapons and cars. 1946 soviet soldiers partly disassembled the company and transported it to the Soviet Republic (USSR) as compensation for second world war. The factory was 1947 integrated to the russian "SAG Awtowelo" (state stock company motorcycle).

Later the the USSR handed over the factory to German Democratic Repuplic (GDR), 1952 the government renamed it to "VEB Fahrzeug- und Gerätewerk Simson Suhl". Little by little the production of sporting guns, perambulators and bicycles started again.

Simson sporting gun Simson bicycle

After the second world war the firm concentrated again on motorbike-fabrication. The manufacturing lines produced more than 300.000 exemplars of the motorcycle AWO 425.

Motorcycle AWO 425 Advertisement for AWO

The motorcycle montage was stopped at the beginning of the 60s in favor of moped building, now the GDR build motorcycles only in Zschopau (MZ).

1967 ISDT Simson E 350

The following years the production growed. In GDR rolled up to 200.000 mopeds per year from the montage halls.

Simson mopeds 1955 - 1989

Old Advertisement and Photos

Series manufacture of scooter KR51 "Schwalbe" with 3,4ps engine began 1964. The Schwalbe helped the company to become famous in whole world. In GDR the scooter stood for upliftment of east german motorcycle building. After reunion with West Germany the beautiful scooter conquered quick a fan community in West Germany, the Schwalbe has the same status at traditional clubs and associations like VW Beatle or Piaggio Vesper Scooter.

Simson Schwalbe

1968 occured a coalition of Simson and "VEB Ernst-Thälmann-Werk Suhl" to "VEB Fahrzeug- und Jagdwaffenwerk Ernst Thälmann Suhl".

After political turn in East Germany a lot of attempts to renovate the company failed. Several investors tried to keep production running and bringing new developments on market.

Simson S 53 alpha B Simson Scooter Gamma Simson Albatros 50

Simson 125 S Simson Spatz 50

In autumn 2002 manufacture stopped. On 1.2.2003 bankruptcy auction of the factory took place. 90 employees remained without compensation.

auction Simson factory 2003


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© Volker Müller