The beginning of the bicycle industry in Poland dates back to the first decade of the 20th century. The oldest and at the same time the biggest bicycle factories were: the Bicycle Manufacturer "Wicher" established in 1891, Wahren's Factory in Warsaw (1893), Factory "Ormonde"(1913) and F. Zawadzki's Bicycle and Bicycle Parts Factory set up in 1917.
In spite of industrial development, a good deal of demand for bicycles was met through imports from industrialized countries, particularly Germany. It continued after Poland gained independence.
At the turn of 1945/1946 there were only 1,2 million bicycles in Poland, which means that for every 23 citizens, there was only one bicycle. The foundation of the United Bicycle Manufacturers in 1948 fuelled a fast growth of production in the next years. Despite the lack of raw materials and limited human resources, the company managed to develop astonishingly. "Romet" was established as the 11th department of the company in 1971. It employed 450 people and produced 220.000 bicycles a year.
1976 was the year of modernization for Romet – the factory was expanded, assembly lines, an electrostatic paint shop and wet surface treatment machines were installed. Thanks to these changes as early as August 1977 the millionth bicycle left the assembly line. The development of Romet is illustrated by the fact that the first million bicycles were produced over 5 years and the next – in half of this time.
Wigry 3 – the legendary bicycle of the People's Republic of Poland
Some Romet bicycles have a cult status and the famous Wigry 3 is definitely such a model.
Probably, there is not a family in Poland in which at least one member does not have memories connected with this "składak" (a folding bicycle). It's characteristic profile, dynamo powered light and rear rack with a spring flap still gives a sense of nostalgia to lots of adults for whom this model was often the beginning of their bicycle adventure.