When the gears of fate began to turn, how did a century-old brand of automotive startups evolve?

  In 1894, when the bookseller Clement sent a letter to the company Seidel Norman, he was still in Mladha, outside Prague. Little did he know that behind the letter, a century-old car brand was about to be born. The gears of Skoda’s fate began to turn.

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  When Mr. Clement bought a Norman bicycle and it broke down in use, he wrote to the company, based in Dresden, Germany, asking for repairs. The reply he received was in German: If you want a reply from us, please write in a language we can understand. Seeing the reply, he was inspired to find someone to start a bicycle factory together. Through intermediaries, he found the talented mechanic Laurin, and the two hit it off.

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  In 1895, they started with bicycle maintenance and quickly transitioned to the production of assembled bicycles. In 1899, the company changed its name to Laurin & Klement (L & K Company for short) and began manufacturing motorcycles. In 1905, L & K launched its first model, the Voiturette A, and successfully entered the field of automobile manufacturing. In 1925, L & K merged with Skoda Pearson, and the products were sold on the market under the name "Skoda".

  When Skoda’s products have entered the "four-wheel era" from the "two-wheel era", a new chapter has begun. In 2023, Skoda celebrated the 128th anniversary of the establishment of the brand, which means that the Skoda brand has spanned three centuries. In Skoda’s "four-wheel era", the start of automotive products is not as simple as pressing buttons and stepping on the accelerator. It is initially started by shaking the handle.

  Remote boot era

  The gasoline faucet made of brass, the hard and simple metal handle, and the small and delicate electric spark plug are not accessories of high-end industrial machines, but the starting system of old-fashioned cars.

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  The dawn of the starter era

  At the turn of the 1920s and 1930s, L & K cars had a one-button system to feed current into the starter. Push the pedal to activate the circuit; release the pedal and turn off the circuit. Foot pedal start became the most popular way to start at that time.

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  Key start era

  In 1964, Skoda produced the landmark "?1000/1100MB". The driver inserted the key into the key hole in the steering column and turned it lightly to activate the starter. This simple action ushered in a new era of key starting.

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  Keyless systems in the 21st century

  After a century of innovation, the keyless system KESSY is officially launched in the 21st century. As a convenient feature of Skoda products, wireless identification makes it unnecessary for drivers to take their keys out of their pockets.

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  The "butterfly effect" of a letter, prying the gears of Skoda’s fate. The starting system is part of the complex and sophisticated whole of the car, and it is also a key step in prying the power of the car. After going through the era of remote starting, the era of starter, and the era of key starting, the starting of automobile products has now entered the era of keyless systems. The iteration of technology has turned the car from a complex and sophisticated mechanical art to a simple action in life. (Photo: Courtesy of Skoda)