Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Pierre Michaux

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Pierre Michaux (June 25, 1813 - Paris - 1883) was a blacksmith who furnished parts for the carriage trade in Paris, and made perambulators, during the 1850s and 1860s.

He started building bicycles with pedals in the early 1860s. See Michaux Velocipede

He, and/or his son Ernest Michaux, may have been the inventor of this machine, by adapting cranks and pedals on the front wheel of a draisine. Other sons were Henry and Edmond.

The design was based on the previous model, the only difference being that on the bicycles of the new company the serpentine frame was made of two pieces of cast iron bolted together, instead of wood, which made it more elegant and enabled mass-production.

In 1865 a blacksmith from Lyon named Gabert designed a variation on the frame which was of a single diagonal piece of wrought iron and was much stronger

1865 Michaux's firm produced 400 machines in the year[1].

1868 Their first promotional pamphlet referred to a new velocipede with "pedals and brakes" to distinguish it from a draisinne[2].

1868 The first bicycle race was held in Paris on 31 May; it was won by James Moore.

In 1868 he formed a partnership with the Olivier Brothers under his own name, Michaux et Cie ("Michaux and company"), which was the first company to construct bicycles with pedals on a large scale

1869 One of Michaux's taller velocipedes was demonstrated by Rowley B. Turner at a gymnasium in London in January[3].

The partnership was dissolved in 1869, and Michaux and his company ceased


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Story of the Bicycle, John Woodforde, 1970
  2. Bicycle: The History by David V. Herlihy, Yale University Press, 2006
  3. The Story of the Bicycle, John Woodforde, 1970