Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 125,183 pages of information and 195,063 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Olivier Brothers

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The Olivier brothers, Aimé, René, and Marius, were the first people responsible for recognizing the commercial potential of the bicycle.

The Olivier family was wealthy, owning a series of chemical plant in France based in Lyon.

While students in Paris in 1864, they were among the first users of the new velocipede.

In 1868, the Oliviers formed a partnership with Pierre Michaux to mass-produce bicycles.

All through the first bicycle craze, from 1867 to 1869, it was René Olivier who led both the Michaux company and the industry as a whole. René stayed "behind the scenes" in the beginning, until severing the partnership with Michaux in 1869, at which point he formed his own Compagnie Parisienne bicycle factory, however, the bicycle craze in France (and in the USA) ended that year. The bicycle's popularity continuing only in England


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