Société Parisienne (Maison Parisienne) was a French manufacturer of
velocipedes, bicycles and tricycles from 1876. They began
limited automobile construction in 1894 and regular light car
(voiturette) construction in 1898 or 1899, and they ceased
operation in 1903. The vehicles, variously known as Parisienne,
Victoria Combination, Eureka, l'Eclair, Duc-Spider and Duc-Tonneau,
were manufactured by
Société Parisienne E. Couturier et Cie of
The first attempt at vehicle manufacture in 1894 was planned to be
powered by an 'air compressor' but it did not work.
The first successful motor vehicles were Benzes built under license by
M. Laboure of La Maison Parisienne.
In 1898 the company engineer, a M. Serex, designed a flat-twin car
which ran in the Marseille-
Nice Race of that year; this, too, was
built along the lines of a Benz.
The 'Victoria Combination' voiturette achieved front-wheel drive by
mounting the engine directly on the front axle and then turning the
whole assembly with a tiller, while the driver and passenger were
towed in a Victoria trailer (Calèche).
1.3 Motor manufacture
1.4 Victoria Combination
2.1 Other sources
3 External links and sources
Société Parisienne de constructions Velo' was founded in 1876 by
Mr. Reynard, who was awarded the 'Diploma of honour' at the Exposition
Universelle (1878). By 1891 it was run by Monsieur Couturier.
Société Parisienne Poster - Cycles and Voiturettes. circa 1900.
Société Parisienne poster, 10 avenue de la Grande Armée. Circa
Société Parisienne de constructions Velo' manufactured
velocipedes, bicycles and tricycles at its works at 10 avenue de la
Grande Armée, Paris, from 1876, and was described in L'Industrie
Vélocipédique (Cycling Industry) of 1891 as 'the oldest velocipede
manufacturer in France', by which time the workshop was regarded as a
model for industrial organisation and practice. The bicycles were
described as light, high-quality, 'precision machines', and the range
included safety bicycles and a folding Military model.
Société Parisienne de constructions
Velocipedes et Automobile'
built motor vehicles at 10 avenue de la Grande Armée. The earliest
record of Parisienne's ambition regarding motorised vehicles is the
list of applicants for entry to the world's first motoring
competition, the 1894 Paris–Rouen Competition for Horseless
Carriages (Concours du 'Petit Journal' Les Voitures sans Chevaux) run
by the Paris newspaper Le Petit Journal. The application, listed as
number 52, stated that the '
Société Parisienne de constructions
Velo' of Paris would use a four-seater vehicle powered by an 'air
compressor'—It did not show up at the event. At the 1896
Paris–Marseille–Paris race two Parisiennes (Parisienne-Benz) were
entered by Guyonnet and Charles Labouré, and completed the
1,710 km course in 102 hours to record eleventh and twelfth
places respectively. The cars were reportedly slightly modified Benz
Viktorias, using a single-cylinder, 2.9-litre, 4.5 hp petrol
At the Marseille–Nice–
La Turbie event in January 1897 M. Courtois
(sic) (possibly M. Couturier) was classified 23rd after completing the
240 kilometres in 12 hours 50 minutes. At the 1897 Paris–Dieppe race
three Parisiennes were entered and completed the 178 km distance.
The new two-seater vehicle of Serin was classified last in 33rd
position in a time of 10 hours 7 minutes 30 seconds. The older
four-seater Parisiennes of Guyonnet and Labouré completed the
distance but were outside the time limit. At the 170 km
Paris–Trouville event in August Monsieur Serin finished 32nd in 8
hours 36 minutes.
At the 1898 Marseille–
Nice race Labouré finished 23rd in his
Parisienne, covering the 226 km in 11 hours 12 minutes 47
seconds. It was second in the 200–400 kg class.
In 1899 a Parisienne Victoria Combination entered the voiturette class
of the 371 km Paris–
St Malo race, finishing 23rd overall and
second(last) in the class. In October a Victoria Combination won
its class in the Paris–Rambouillet–Paris event, covering the 100
kilometre course at 16 mph. In 1900 it completed 150
miles, non-stop, at 18 mph.
The earliest cars built between 1896 and 1898 were reportedly
initially based on Benz Viktorias, using a single cylinder, 2.9-litre,
4.5 hp petrol engine. From 1899 over 400 articulated
front-wheel drive 'Victoria Combinations' (also known as the Eureka)
were manufactured at 10 Avenue de la Grande Armée. From 1900-1901 the
Duc-Spider and Duc-Tonneau were more conventional models, with the
engine mounted in the rigid chassis and driving the rear wheels via a
propeller shaft. The 'Duc' (Duke) models used Aster engines of 5,000cc
1900 Victoria Combination
1900 Victoria Combination
The company became known for a front-wheel drive voiturette called the
Victoria Combination, which was variously powered by 1.75 hp or
De Dion-Bouton engine or a water-cooled 3.5 hp Aster
engine. The engine was mounted on the front axle and so was rotated by
the tiller steering. The name Victoria Combination
described the lightweight, two-seater trailer commonly known as a
Victoria, combined with the rear axle and drive mechanism from a motor
tricycle that was placed in front to achieve front-wheel
drive. It was also known as the Eureka and Société
Parisienne patented the design of articulated front-drive unit and
The specification of the Victoria developed over time, but the simple
design belied the high quality of workmanship. The coachwork was built
by a leading Parisian coach-builder Alfred Belvallette, the front axle
units were built by Darracq. In June 1899 it was offered with a
2.5 hp De Dion Bouton engine fitted with 'Longuemare automatic
carburettor, and a four-speed gearbox made by Guyenet et Balvay to the
patent design of J Didier.
When production ceased in mid-1901, over 400 copies had been sold for
3,000 Francs (circa $600) each.
Parisienne - 1899
Parisienne - 1898
Examples of the 'Victoria Combination' are currently displayed at the
'Musée Automobile de Vendée'fr:Musée automobile de Vendée in
Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, France, and the Swedish National Museum of
Science and Technology in Stockholm.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Parisienne.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Société Parisienne.
^ a b c Tonton Velo, pour les velos anciens. L'Industrie
vélocipédique January 1891.
Société Parisienne de Construction
^ a b c Gallica, Bibliotheque National de France, L'Industrie
Vélocipédique, January 1891,
Société Parisienne de Construction
^ Motorbase. Profile of 'La Societe Parisienne'
^ a b c d e Georgano, G.N (Nick) (1973). The Complete Encyclopedia of
Motorcars, 1885 to the present day. London: Ebury Press.
^ Philippe Boursin. Les 1 492 marques françaises de l'histoire de
^ Italia - 1894 Parigi-Rouen.
^ a b TeamDan Early results database - 1896, Paris-Marseilles-Paris
^ Wiki Italy Motoring in 1896
^ Driver Database, II Grand Prix de l'ACF 1896
^ TeamDan Early results database - 1897, Paris-Dieppe Trail
^ TeamDan Early results database - 1898, Marseille–
^ Unique Cars and Parts.
Voiturette Racing - Before The Formula One
^ a b c d e f Bonhams Auctioneers, Profile description of Parisienne
at Wikimedia Commons
^ a b c d e f Bonhams Auctioneers - Profile of La Société Parisienne
- Victoria Combination
^ a b c Grace's Guide to Industrial History. Profile of La Societe
Harald H. Linz, Halwart Schrader: Die große Automobil-Enzyklopädie.
BLV, München 1986, ISBN 3-405-12974-5
David Burgess Wise, The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Automobiles
External links and sources
Transcribed from Tonton Velo, pour les Velos Anciens.
Société Parisienne - Vélocipéde manufacturer
Gallica - Bibliotheque National de France.
L'Industrie vélocipédique, (The Cycle Industry), January 1891,
Société Parisienne de Construction Vélocipédique
The oldest velocipede manufacturer in France was founded in 1876 by
Mr. Reynard, who was awarded the 'Diploma of honour' at the 1878
'Exposition Universelle'. The factory, which has gained considerable
importance and whose products are highly appreciated by connoisseurs,
is located at 10, avenue de la Grande Armée, near the Arc de
Triomphe. The Director Mr. Couturier, the director, invited us to
visit the large workshops where we never imagined they could cram so
many machines. It was no surprise to learn that the workshops had been
designed by a specialist engineer who wanted a model factory, that is
to say integrated manufacturing of bicycles.
It's really wonderful to follow the work of these multiple machine
tools, they seem intelligent, pre-programmed, and finish parts with a
mathematical precision, ready for use.
Thus we realised that the bicycles of
Société Parisienne are
veritable precision machines.
Le plus ancienne manufacture de France pour le velocipède fut fondée
en 1876 par M. Reynard qui obtint le diplome de honneur a l'Exposition
Universelle de 1878: cette usine, qui a pris une importance
considérable et dont la fabrication est tres appréciée des
connaiseurs, est située: 10, avenue de la Grande Armée, pres l'arc
de Triomphe de l'Etoile. Il nous a été donné, grâce à son
sympathetique directeur M. Couturier, de visiter ses vastes ateliers,
où nous n'imaginions pas qu'on pùt entasser un outillage aussi
complet. Du reste nous n'avons plus été surpris quand nous avons su
que ces ateliers avaient été agencés par ingenieur spécialiste
d'une haute capacité, qui a voulu faire une usine modelle,
c'est-a-dire crée toute d'une pièce pour la fabrication si
intéressante à suivre, des vélocipèdes.
C'est vraiment merveilleux de suivre le travail de ces multiples
machines-outils qui semblent donées d'intelligence, et de voir sortir
d'un morceau informe une pièce finie, avec une précision
mathémathique et prête à être mise en place.
Aussi nous avons pu nous rendrecompte que les vélocipèdes de la
Societe Parisienne sont de veritables pièces d