Historic Peugeot Bicycles

History of Peugeot Freres

Peugeot’s first success was with its”Grand Bi”, which appeared in 1882. This ancestor of the modern bicycle was a strange and impractical contraption. It was rigged up with two unequal wheels, and the pedal assembly was fixed directly onto the huge front wheel. Four years later, Armand Peugeot launched the manufacture of the first true bicycle, with equal-sized wheels and chain-control gear system, from the Beaulieu factory.

Models were presented under the “Lion” brand at the Universal Exhibition in 1889, and a shop was opened in Paris at 32, avenue de la Grande-Armée. People were witnessing the appearance of a range of bicycles for the whole family – men, women and children. Even for clergymen.

It was with the “Petite Reine” that the Peugeot name first became popular on every road across France. At the start of the 1890s, the Peugeot catalogue contained no fewer than 32 pages and, in spite of the strong competition from British bicycles that were very popular in France, nearly 10,000 machines were produced by Peugeot each year. This growth was helped by Edouard Michelin’s 1891 invention of the inflatable tyre fixed to the rim, and easily removed in the event of a puncture.

The Peugeot were a family history of French manufacturers dubbed The Clan of Sochaux. They were known since the fifteenth century as founders and owners of the Peugeot industrial empire. At that time, the Peugeot were farmers, millers and notables.

1790: Founding of Peugeot, dyeing and tanning business.

1810: Association with Jacques Maillard-Salins and foundation of the company Peugeot brothers and J.Maillard-Salins. This business was the first to start moving into metalwork.

1825-1832: Four new plants: Hérimoncourt, Valentigney, Beaulieu and Mandeure.

1882: Mass production, with success, of Grand Bi (high wheeler or ordinary bicycles) and tricycles.

1889: Peugeot now employed 1,900 people in the various factories of the Doubs area.

Around 1895, the company manufactured bicycles, motorcycles, tricycles, tools, housewares, coffee grinders, trimmers for hair stylists etc … and created the cart Peugeot Type 1, then 2 and 3. This was the beginning of the empire of the Peugeot car.

At that time, Peugeot history was marked by social progress, and the directors of the company were responsible for establishing various advantages for their workers: ten-hour day, social insurance with mutual care and free medicine, pension fund for widows, workers’ pension fund, creation a hospital Valentigney (free care), savings clubs, gym, food cooperatives, low cost housing for workers and their families.

The company Automobile Peugeot sold 54 cars in 1887; 156 in 1888; and 500 in 1900.

1905: Opening of Sochaux.

4000 cars come out of the factory in 1913.

During the First World War, Peugeot took part in the war effort and manufactured bicycles, cars, trucks, engines, tanks, airplane engines and shells.

In the aftermath of the war, Peugeot was heavily in debt and that led to the collapse (in 1926) of the Society of Automotive and Peugeot Cycles into two independent companies, Automobiles Peugeot and Cycles Peugeot, the profitable part manufacturing cycles becoming separate from the automotive industry deficit. Meanwhile the 100,000th car left Sochaux in 1925.

In 1948, the lion of arms of Franche-Comté was adopted to represent the brand.

WWII: Peugeot was placed under German control and could not make cars, but had to accept orders for trucks and spare parts for the Wehrmacht. All staff and workers in the management slowed production and organized sabotage. Production dropped by 80%. Plants survived despite everything and straightened their finances.

1953: All entities were merged under the single name of Peugeot.

Info with thanks to http://www.peugeot.com/en/history/cycles/bicycles.aspx