Česká zbrojovka (ČZ a.s.) is a Czech company producing forklifts Desta and components for the automobile industry, it is former firearms manufacturer, also known for making ČZ motorcycles. ČZ was established as a branch of the Škoda Works Armament in Strakonice, Czechoslovakia in September 1919. Work started on the construction of the first workshops of the arms factory originally called Jihočeská zbrojovka ("South Bohemian Armament Works"). The company merged with an arms manufacturing plant in Vejprty and with a factory in Prague in 1922. This gave rise to the formation of a stock company whose name translates as "Czech Armament Works in Prague of the Manufacturing Plant in Strakonice". It produced pistols, air guns, and automatic guns which all became successful products.
In 1929 the growth of the Czech Armament Works reached a turning point. With the downturn in weapons sales after World War I, the company acquired a bicycle parts manufacturing plant in Kralupy nad Vltavou on the Vltava River. Bicycle exports destined for several countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America started to expand. Production of motor-driven bicycles started in 1932. Three years later the first motorcycles made in Strakonice entered the market. This marked the beginning of an era of great success for the ČZ brand. In a short time the company became the biggest manufacturer of motorcycles in Czechoslovakia. Consequently, business success resulted in a further extension of production activities by introducing chain and machine tool production. During the Second World War the factory came under German occupation and was converted to the manufacture of war materials.