BMW Logo Badge

It started in 1913 with the manufacturing of aircraft engines by the (Karl) Rapp Motor Works. After struggling for several years, Franz Josef Popp was installed as a supervisor. The name changed in July, 1917 to Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works). In October, Popp devised a new logo for the company, the famous BMW trademark. However, it remained true to the imagery of the previous Rapp Motorenwerke emblem (which was designed by Karl’s brother, Ottmar Rapp). Thus, both the old and the new logo were built up in the same way: the company name was placed in a black circle, which was once again given a pictorial form by placing a symbol within it. By analogy with this, the blue and white panels of the Bavarian national flag were placed at the center of the BMW logo. Not until the late 1920s was the logo given a new interpretation as representing a rotating propeller.

Max Friz, who joined the Rapp Motor Works in January, 1917, designed the first BMW boxer-twin “airhead” motorcycle (R32) with shaft drive. The first release was in Berlin, September, 1923. This basic design lasted till 1995, when BMW discontinued the airhead.