1869 Velocipede by Charles Sargent, 73 Champs Elysees, Paris


In the few years following its launch by the Michaux, the velocipede developed slowly in Paris. Then, this new machine knew a growing success in the capital, especially from the 1867 World Fair. An English article notes: “The velocipedes have almost become an institution in Paris, where cycling is now a social practice. as necessary as dancing and riding … “ And one can read in the article discovered by David Herlihy in Le Figaro from August 16-17, 1867 : “Mr. Augier intends, when we repeat his play in verse at the Théâtre-Français, to come from Croissy to Paris … in velocipede “. The famous playwright is the first known weaver in the history of humanity! Several cartoonists have crunched on his craft, as Beyle for the cover of the Paris weekly Le Bouffon of September 8, 1867 . This drawing is the first representation of a velocipedor riding his horse.

To meet the demand, the Michaux family joined the brothers Olivier, Central Engineers, to launch in 1868 in Paris the first company manufacturing industrial cycles, Michaux and Co., controlled by them. Then they redeemed it totally to launch La Compagnie Parisienne des velocipedes in 1869.

Parallel to this first cycle industry created in the world, a whole craft industry developed in the capital which counted in 1870 nearly a hundred manufacturers often come from the bodywork and mechanics. Among the first competitors of Michaux, René Olivier cites as builders Sargent and Maybon since 1864, Michaux not having filed patent.

Sargent sells arched velocipedes like the one held by the Domazan Museum, with a plaque that says: “Sargent, patented SGDG 73 Champs Elysées Paris”. This craftsman will file a patent for a tandem in 1868 and will make an advertisement in the Vélocipède Illustréof 1870. It is about Charles Sargent, and not of Isaac which is quoted several times in books, in particular for the work of the wood in the Roret, manual wheelwright and coachbuilder and who has a shop where he then lives at 21, 23 alley of Antin (now Franklin D. Roosevelt). In this mid-century manual , the velocipede is not mentioned among the many vehicles described. Later in 1896, an Encyclopedia Roret – Handbook of Velocipedics written by Louis Lockert will be published (L. Mulo editor) *

1869 Velocipede

by Charles Sargent, 73 Champs Elysees, Paris

35″ Front Wheel

31″ Rear Wheel

(Now sold)

Charles Sargent was one of the French pioneers of velocipede manufacture, and his company had an enviable reputation. It’s reported that the original prototype velocipede commissioned by Michaux was built by Sargent. As Michaux did not take out a patent for it, Sargent built them and sold them in competition with Michaux. Various French museums display Sargent velocipedes, and many books mention his name when explaining velocipede history.

This example is in excellent original condition, with the remains of its first paint in various places on the body and wheels. It has some unique features, such as adjusters for the top spring to suit riders of varied height, and an interesting sprung mechanism for the brake which is far superior to that found on most velocipedes. The seat has been re-leathered. It retains its maker’s plate, behind the saddle on the top spring; this has a crack on its lower portion but is otherwise intact and easily readable.













































* https://parisvelocipedia.fr/index.php/vocabulaire/bicyclette/12-histoire/courses/38-developpement-de-lartisanat-a-paris

(using google translation)