BMW car logo history
The BMW roundel is a stylised, rotating airscrew – the blue representing the sky. That’s right – Bayerische Motoren Werke built military aero engines for the planes that bombed the factories that they now own. It’s a funny old world.
The company traces its origins to 1913, when a Bavarian named Karl Rapp began an aircraft-engine shop in Munich named Rapp Motoren Werke. In 1917 Rapp resigned and the company, led by Austrian engineer Franz-Josef Popp, changed its name to Bayerische Motoren Werke. That same year chief engineer Max Friz designed the company’s first aircraft engine, the six-cylinder Type IIIa, which created strong demand for BMW engines. When the 1919 Treaty of Versailles prohibited German companies from producing aircraft and aircraft engines, BMW switched to making air brakes for railway cars. In 1923 Friz developed the company’s first motorcycle, the