Today Peugeot is known primarily as a car manufacturer. However, when you look back at the early history of the company you will find that this is not what they originally set out to be. The family owned business was one of the early car manufacturers, but this is not where it all began.
The Start of the Family Business
The Peugeot family of Valentigney, France started out in the manufacturing business in the 18th century. The business slowly started to add on additional manufacturing concepts and in 1842 they added the salt and pepper grinders. It would not be too long until they made the move into the vehicle market.
The First Move into the Vehicle Market
When the Peugeot Company first moved into the vehicle market it did not start with a car. The move to vehicles was not sudden as they first started to make crinoline dresses which needed steel rods in them. From this point the company moved on to umbrella frames, wire wheels and finally a bicycle.
The first bicycle that the company produced was released in 1882 and was called Le Grand Bi. After this release there would be a range of bicycles to follow before any moves to cars would be made. The company continued to make bicycles until recently.
The Move to Cars
Armand Peugeot, one of the leaders in the company, became interested in cars very early on and was convinced that it was a viable option for the business. The first car to come from Peugeot was a three-wheeled steam-powered car that had been designed by Leon Serpollet. The car made its first appearance in 1889 and was limited in number with only 4 ever being made.
It was in 1890 when the cumbersome steam-powered vehicles were scrapped for a petrol-fuelled four wheel car. The first car that was produced by Peugeot in this manner was more sophisticated than many of the other cars on the market at the time including a manual transmission and three-point suspension.
The popularity of the car caused an increase in production for the company with 29 cars being built in 1892. This number continued to increase and in 1899 the company was producing 300 cars in a year. The early car models were not given specific names as they are now, but rather a Type number such as Type 12. Peugeot was a pioneer in the car industry and the first to fit rubber tyres onto a petrol-powered car.
The Engine of the Car
Peugeot did not stop with manufacturing the car as they moved onto making the engines as well. In 1896 the first Peugeot engines were introduced which ended the company's reliance on Daimler engines. The first engine was an 8 hp engine which was first fitted into the Type 15.
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