A Brief History of the Marque
Manufacturer: Corona-Fahrradwerke und Metall-Industrie Actien-Gesellschaft
1902-1911, 1923-1924 (1)
Founded in 1891 by Adolf Schmidt, the company made its name with bicycles.
Built in Brandenburg, early model Corona motorcycles were powered by Antoine and Fafnir engines as well as their own in-house engines which may possibly have been ZL-licenced units.* Motorcycle production ceased around 1911, but they continued with a tricar powered by Fafnir with a 2-speed gear using belt drive to the single rear wheel. It had brakes on all three wheels.
After the first war motorcycle production was briefly resumed with machines powered by longitudinally installed 338cc horizontally opposed twins (2), built in 1923-1924.
In addition to motorcycles, Corona built utility tricycle vans and passenger 3-wheelers. The first of these were along the lines of the De-Dion, but in 1904 they produced the Coronamobil based on the front half of their motorcycle. Powered by the same Fafnir engines of 3.5 to 4.5 hp, it had a steering wheel and a bench seat. The following year two larger three-wheelers were produced.
The firm built large numbers of bicycles - some 40,000 were built in 1926, at which time the company had 500 employees.
In 1929 moves were afoot to close the plant down due to the extremely difficult economic climate, and the firm entered liquidation in 1932.
A version of the company still exists, with the addition of Corona to its name.
1. Sources differ on the dates, with some giving 1902-1909 & 1922, and another 1904-1909 only. One source also mentions Zedel engines. However a catalogue for 1911 shows several motorcycles.
2. It is suggested that this was a BMW engine, and elsewhere that the engine was of their own manufacture.
The "Corona" Motor Bicycle.
The "Corona" motorcycle is built by a German firm, and has become prominent as a pacing machine, the well-known record holder, Kobl, using these motorcycles for long distance pacing. The construction is simple and the appearance symmetrical as can be seen from the illustration. Special consideration has been given to the cycle frame, which has one bent tube from the front fork crown to the bottom bracket and up to the saddle. The motor is supported level with the bottom bracket and exactly between the two wheels to ensure freedom from vibration and side-slip. The power is transmitted to the rear wheel by means of a twisted hide licit, and should the purchaser be in favour of flat belts a substitution can easily be arranged. The 1¾ h.p. motor is sufficiently powerful for general touring purposes, and all hills have hitherto been taken without any trouble. The crank case has a width of only 2 1/3rd inches, but the bearings are very wide and this part of the construction is protected by a patent. An automatic feeding spray carburetter is employed and the sparking ignition is regulated by turning the left side handle of the handlebar. Another advantage of this motor is the inlet valve which is constructed not to be screwed, but is held by means of a bridge, and can be taken out without using a spanner or key. This idea adds to the facility of cleaning and renewing and does not become fixed by burning action of the charges. The petrol tank holds about one gallon, sufficient for an average journey of too miles. The total weight of the machine is 94 lbs.
Source: Motor Cycling Magazine, November 12th 1902.
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