Search ads by make

Previous Features

Ernst Neumann Neander; an early genius in arts and motoring

Ernst Neumann Neander
Ernst Neumann-Neander, born in 1871 in Kassel/Germany was an early universal genius in arts and motoring. He got famous as well for his graphics and paintings, as also for designing cars, bikes and even yachts, but mostly for the development of his bikes and his famous "Fahrmaschinen".
As a student (in Kassel, Munich and Paris), he worked as a graphic artist, caricaturist and poster artist and got very popular in the Art Nouveau movement. In 1908 he relocated to Berlin, founding his "Ateliers Neumann". In the beginning, the main business was the design of advertising for automobile companies, but soon also coachwork-design was an important segment of his works. Today, his designs for Szawe and Schebera are the most reminded ones.
In 1924 he settled in Euskirchen (near Cologne), founding his "Neander Motorfahrzeug GmbH" and two years later, he finally relocated to Düren-Rölsdorf. Here, more than 2000 motorcycles were built, including the famous pressed-steel-frame Neanders, later refined and built under license as "Opel Motoclub". Yes, the ones with the red tyres!
In the early 1930s, N² (as Ernst Neumann-Neander was called because of his universalism) started the development of his "Fahrmaschinen". The little vehicles were no "real" cars or motorcycles. Even  N² avoided the terminus"car" and called his vehicles "Fahrmaschinen", which means "driving-machines". Just a frame, carrying the engine far in the front, a rudimentary body and the axles for three or four wheels. The design of this little silver vehicles, looking like grandsons of cockroaches and bristletails eclosed of Wehrmachts-helmet-eggs had nothing in common, with other cars in 1930s. Although the "Fahrmaschinen" were mainly used as racers, the purpose of the development was different. Neander wanted to build an early "Volkswagen", a cheap and unpretentious vehicle for the common people. Neander even invented a tilting technology, but because of the expensive production and also because of the lack of interest in those bizzare vehicles, production was extremely low. Only 20...25 Fahrmaschinen were built, with just a handful survivors. In 1939 the production was intermitted, because of WWII and after the war, Neander started producing vehicles for disabled persons, but with the death of Ernst Neumann-Neander in 1954, the factory's doors finally closed. But what is left of this great man? Surprisingly many motorcycles and also a handful of the "Fahrmaschinen" have survived. Two buildings of the factory still exist and what a great idea, the city of Düren honoured their famous inventor by calling the street,where the factory is located, the "Neumann-Neander-Strasse".


#6 2017-05-20 11:46
Luckely I am in the possesion of: Thomas Trapp, NEANDER, Ernst Neumann-Neander und seine Fahrmaschinen. Heel Verlag, 2002. ISBN 3-89880-041-5
#5 2017-05-18 00:21
Thank you very much for this hommage to a true genius!

Ernst Neumann-Neander was an incredibly gifted person, someone who we call in German a "Wanderer zwischen den Welten" - meaning someone who was at home both in the sphere of technology and the realms of art.

If you feel an unexplainable attraction when watching a German automobile advertisement of the 1920s and recognize the silhouette of an owl at the bottom, you can be sure it was the work of Ernst Neumann-Neander.

Men with his talents are sorely missed these days.
#4 2017-05-16 15:29
I fully agree Jaap: twostroke for ever :-)
#3 2017-05-16 15:25
There is also a great book about the man and his creations.
#2 2017-05-16 12:05
I took the photos in Kassel at a special exhibition in the "Technikmuseum" in 2012. It indeed was a highly interesting exhibition, but even without the "Neanders" it is worth a visit!

#1 2017-05-16 10:09
Where were the last 6 pictures made ? In a museum ? During a special show ? Highly interesting !

Add comment