After years of living near the old Primarius factory in Meppel NL (the pollution from the factory was still in the ground ...) I could finally purchase a Primarius Transport bicycle. This bike dates back the 1930s, still complete and completely original. I have replaced the rear wheel with another wheel with a brake on it (pedaling down the mountain costs you your legs if you dont have brakes…).
Primarius was a bicycle factory in Meppel NL that existed between 1917 and 1962. Jochem de Boer and Jan Ottenhof started their own company in 1918 in the Koekoeksteeg in Meppel.
Jochem de Boer had previously worked at Batavus in Heerenveen and Jan Otterhof had previously worked at Fongers in Groningen, after which they both started working at van Werven / de Germaan in Meppel. In this way they took knowledge of business with them to their first joint company: Primarius. There they did nickel plating and painting parts.
After they had been there for two years (in those two years the company grew to eleven employees) they moved to the Ruinerwoldseweg (Meppel) where they set up a new factory with the help of the local butcher Bloksma (from the Woldstraat) and skipper Bouwman who provided the first financing. Later, the farmer Eelkman Roda was also added as a financier, and so they had a good financial basis. Sometime in the 1920s the name officially becomes “NV Primarius Rijwielfabriek”.
They also specialized in transport bicycles and tricycles and the company experienced a healthy growth. Bicycles were produced under the names Primarius, BDO, Claudius Civilus and Emmy. Other bicycle dealers also had Primarius produce their “own” bicycles there and bicycles are also exported to, among others, Indonesia.
Around 1937 they took over the production of the company B&W (that would have been temporary) and around the 1950s motorized tricycles (motor carriers) were also built with Sachs 98cc engines that were used as cargo bikes for the baker and the ice cream seller, among others. Around that time, bicycles with an auxiliary engine from Rex and Sachs (74cc with two gears) were also used. These were driven by a belt. Around 1953, the production of those "mopeds" / bicycles with auxiliary engine stops.
The last (about 10) few years of the company's existence, things have not been going so well financially and the company got in trouble. Almost every year a new director came, plastic skylights were already being made… and none of that was a success. The company's accounting system “exchanged owners” a number of times, which did not really benefit the “transparency”… .. The factory burned down in 1957 and the cause always remained a mystery....
In 1959 an attempt was made to sell the activities to Uiterwijks Carrier Bedrijf, but unfortunately that fell through. The company was officially dissolved in 1962 when the bank pulled the plug. The Primarius brand still lives on and was initially operated by bicycle house Hartog in Utrecht and subsequently acquired by Primarius Bicycles in Laren. It no longer has any connection with the old Primarius from Meppel.
Due to the many (sometimes vague) changes of the management in the last couple of years and the fire in 1957, there is unfortunately little or nothing left of this brand. Via het Meppeler Rijwiel Archive (unfortunately that also stopped to exist) we could find the information that allowed us to write down the above information.
In addition to the Transportbike, a children's bicycle of the “brand” Emmy has now been added, which is also made by Primarius. Emmy was a daughter of the director, and the brand “Emmy” is therefore named after his daughter. And since two bicycles is not a bicycle ... bicycle number three (a Primarius men's bicycle) is also in the restoration phase ... well ... that's how it goes i guess with collections. LOL.