A Brief History of the Marque
BJ van den Berg of Den Hulst commenced trading in 1904 and began building bicycles in 1911 using Gazelle frames, and in 1913 production of their own frames began. A factory was constructed in 1914 with Union Rijwiel Fabriek Dedemsvaart on the facade. By 1920 production was 3300 bicycles with 100 people employed, and the company name changed to NV Union Rijwielfabriek.
Berend Jan and his brother Evert, who was a financial partner, were what some would call socialists in that they had the interests of their workers at heart. They built houses for them and established a pension fund.
Motorcycle and triporteur production started in the late 1930s, with Villiers and JLO engines of 98cc to 150cc.
Production resumed in 1953 with an autocycle using a Boy engine under the URD marque, and this was followed by a machine with a 50cc JLO. Mopeds joined the catalogue in 1956 with Sachs and Berini motors. The Union Boomerang arrived in 1961, designed by Charles Burki1.
In 1966 they celebrated the production of 1,000,000 bicycles and that year they merged with Motorenfabriek Kaptein NV in Utrecht under the name Unikap, and the Union brand was sidelined in favour of Kaptein Mobylette mopeds built in France.
1. Charles Burki was a famous Dutch artist who began designing motorcycles in the 1920s. His life story is remarkable - shortly after moving to Java in the Dutch East Indies he was imprisoned by the Japanese who sent him to Japan as a laborer. The transport ship was sunk en route by the Americans, but unlike most of the others aboard, he survived, and arrived safely in Japan. It probably wasn't personal, but the Americans then bombed the city where his labour camp was located. He survived Nagasaki too.
A number of books have been written about his life including Charles Burki. De kunst van het motorrijden (The art of motorcycle riding) by Vincent Demmers, Bussum, Thoth, 1997.
Sources: Wikipedia NL, canonvannederland.nl, rijwiel.net.
vgc99 at hotmail.com
1960 union holland
I am looking for a left hand gear/ brake handle for my 1960 Union Holland. The gear assembly on the handle does not have the gear numbers on it, but instead it fits into that housing. The brake lever is attached to the left unit, and cannot be removed. Any idea where I can find one?
Onoway, Alberta, Canada
Union Holland 1960 image posted to Comments
Union-Holland-50cc-Sachs-STsirekas-01.jpg posted to Comments