Slavia logoL&K logo used on company documents and as a label on Slavia bicycles (1895-1910).

They started making motorbikes in 1899, changed the name of their company to the Laurin & Klement Co and chalked up several racing victories. While making nearly 4,000 motorbikes of various types, they started experimenting with a new phenomenon — the car — which began to gradually replace motorbikes from 1905 on.

Slavia logoThe logo in the early days of the firm, used exclusively on company documents.

Slavia logoThe logo as used on L&K motorcycle fuel tanks.

Slavia motorcyleSlavia motorcyle image credit

Slavia motorcyle

Slavia motorcyle

ŠKODA logoItalics remained on the radiators of L&K automobiles until 1929.

L&K logoThe logo as it appeared on the first L&K automobiles (around 1905–1925).

Laurin & Klement TypG GR4The Laurin & Klement TypG (GR4), photo via Cartype.

Laurin & Klement TypG GR4

When war began in 1914, the Laurin & Klement Co started manufacturing for the armed forces too. Because of the economic conditions in the region at the time, Laurin and Klement needed a strong industrial partner to strengthen and modernise their company. They were now not only producing a range of cars, but also trucks, buses, aeroplane engines and agricultural machinery, such as motorised ploughs. They merged with Pizen Skodovka Co in 1925 and became ŠKODA.

ŠKODA logoThe logo used on ŠKODA cars during the period of 1925-1934, after the merger.

ŠKODA 645The ŠKODA 645 limousine, photo via Oldiesfan67.

ŠKODA 645

According to the ŠKODA website, around the years 1918-19 in the management office in Plzeň there was a picture portraying a Native American, and that was likely the inspiration for the feathered logo. The commercial director of ŠKODA at the time, Tomáš Maglič, is considered the author of the idea.

Skoda logo Indian inspiration

Two trademark variants were registered with the Office of Trademark and Design in Plzeň on December 15th, 1923. The first variant (below), used in 1924 and 1925, was a five-feathered winged arrow in a circle with the word ŠKODA.

Skoda logo 1924-25

The second variant (below) showed a three-feathered winged arrow in a circle, and it has not been significantly changed since.

Skoda logo

In 1939 came World War 2. Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Germans and the period until 1945 was a disruptive one for ŠKODA. The civilian car production programme was very limited and the majority of manufacturing was to support the German war effort.

ŠKODA hood ornamentŠKODA 1101 hood ornament (1949), photo via FritsKlijn.

ŠKODA 1101 roadsterŠKODA 1101, photo via Clay.

After the war, as part of large-scale nationalisation in Czechoslovakia, the company became a national enterprise and took over all passenger car production. This period saw the ŠKODA Tudor successfully exported as far as Australia and the introduction of the mould-breaking ŠKODA 1200 which was modernised several times before, as the 1202, finally ceasing production in 1973.

ŠKODA also manufactured the ŠKODA 440 which, in 1959, evolved into the first Octavia, named because it was the eighth model to be produced after the end of World War 2.

ŠKODA logoThe logo used during the mid-1990s (1993–1994).

New market economy conditions came with the political changes of 1989 when the Berlin Wall was brought down. The government of the Czech Republic and the management of ŠKODA began to search for a strong foreign partner in an effort to secure the company’s long term international competitiveness.

In December 1990 they decided on Volkswagen and a joint venture began the following year. ŠKODA became the fourth brand in the Volkswagen group, alongside Volkswagen, Audi, and Seat. Since then, ŠKODA has gone from strength to strength.

ŠKODA badge2013

ŠKODA Octavia vRSŠKODA Octavia vRS, photo via Vindis.

ŠKODA logoThe current ŠKODA logo, in use from 2011.

Via ŠKODA.

Car related: Aston Martin logo evolution.

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June 23, 2014

Comments

But the question is WHY a stylized feather / arrow?
I heard this was introduced when Skoda was first exported to USA and the logo was devised to combine the Red Indian feather head-dress (originally 5 segment) and the arrow – to make it look American.

Exactly. The logo from 1915 is the missing link here. On this one was pictured the profile of an Indian in red color and no arrow. This badge hung on the walls of Skoda employees’ offices back then. The arrow came three years later, in 1918, beneath the head already was stylized by then. In the spring of 2015 German magazine Auto Zeitung had a special edition dedicated to Skoda’s 120th anniversary, where the evolution of the logo was tracked out and that’s where I know it from. Of course, Google doesn’t know everything, so unfortunately, I cannot send you a link with the images.

How did the arrow and the red Indian head dress come into being? Was an American interest in Skoda involved? So many people have asked me about the symbol on my Scout.

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