The story of our brand
by Michal Cerny, Supervisory Board Chairman, Walter Praguecast a.s.
Josef Walter incorporated Walter and comp. in 1911 to raise funds for his car manufacturing business. Before Volkswagen came to life in Germany, Walter was already building luxurious Walter Royal in Czechoslovakia. It’s twelve cylinder engine produced whopping 120 bhp. In 1922 the Kumpera family took the reins of the company and aircraft engine development and manufacturing started. The awareness of the Walter brand grew.
In 1949 during the communist regime, the name of the company was changed to “Motorlet”, but the original brand prevailed. All the engines were badged “WALTER” and company crest on top of the highest building was just turned upside down so the original “W” became slightly misshapen variation of the letter “M”.
In the eighties, I was an apprentice in the Motorlet company, it still felt like “Walter” company, as employees didn’t use any other name. Later in 1995 I became the business director and renaming back to “Walter” came naturally to me. Turning the “W” back to its original direction was easy. Actually saving the company and raising the brand awareness again was much harder.
"Since then I know how important the brand can be."
In the new millennium Walter turbo prop engines were vastly successful in the U.S., especially in crop duster planes in agriculture and in firefighting air tankers. Flying with crop dusters low to the ground is risky and the pilots are often referred to as “flying cowboys”. They dress and behave accordingly. In 2001 I was in Las Vegas visiting an air show. Heading for breakfast, I met one of those “cowboys” in the hotel lobby. In my European cut suit I looked a bit outlandish. I remember our brief exchange:
He asked me in his strong southern accent: „Hello, where are you from?“
I answered: „ Czech Republic.“
Him: „ Oh yes, Walter!“
Since then I know how important the brand can be.
Later the engine manufacturing was sold to General Electric and former manufacturing plant became housing and offices district. The only company still continuing the tradition of manufacturing at the original location in Prague is our precision casting foundry. We bear a unique know-how of precise heat-resistant castings used as critical parts in stator and rotor stages of gas turbines.
Since the fall of 2020 the business is in sole ownership of our family and now the name of the original founder is back in the company name and logo.