Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen was born on July 30, 1878 in Nakskov, Denmark. And after studying engineering in Mittweida and Zwickau, he set up a small factory in 1907 in Zschopau (Erzgebirge) to manufacture steam fittings.
During the First World War he experimented with steam-driven vehicles, the German initials (DKW) for such vehicles later being adopted for all his products. After 1918, Rasmussen started to produce two-stroke engines as well as manufacturing motorcycles back in his Zschopau factory. This marked the beginning of an almost unbelievable period of growth, and by 1928, his Zschopauer Motorenwerke was the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles.
Start of car production
1928 also saw the start of car production in the Zachopau factory. And Rasmussen, a gifted businessman, built up a small industrial empire in Southern Saxony within just a few years. In 1929, the worldwide economic crisis took its toll of the Zschopauer Motorenwerke, as it did with many of their outside suppliers. This ultimately lead to negotiations with the State Bank of Saxony and resulted in the fusion of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, to form Auto Union.
Rasmussen was undoubtedly one of the key figures in the founding Auto Union AG
. And he was a member of the Board of Management from 1932 to 1934, but resigned in 1935 after insoluble differences of opinion over management issues. In 1937, he moved to Sacrow, near Berlin, and after the Second World War returned to Denmark. He died in Copenhagen on August 12, 1964.