The Paris Exposition of 1900 showcased many new innovations, including bicycles. There were comparatively few French cycle manufacturers at this time, but those who were interested in the industry imported British and American cycles and parts and sold them on an agency basis. Once they had established a customer base, they started badging imported bicycles with their own names, and subsequently went on to manufacture frames and parts themselves. The founders of Automoto were inspired by the new inventions for personal transportation – bicycles, motorcycles and automobiles – and they established their company in 1902. Automoto became a leading brand over the following three decades until it was absorbed by Peugeot in 1930.
1920s Automoto ‘Cadre renforcé’ (French X Frame)
The British cross frame (or X frame) design was strictly controlled by patents, and was only popular in Britain and Holland. I know of only six of this French style of bicycle, described as ‘Cadre Renforcé’. I believe that most companies that badged them bought in the frames from an outside source, the same as the ‘truss-bridge’ frames for which Labor held the French patent. I’ve seen two variations of the ‘Cadre Renforcé’ – with the pump above the top tube (similar to the 1920s Labor truss-bridge frame); or with the pump fitted to the reinforcing plates at the top and bottom of the seat tube.
Being an older restoration, this example is in good condition and is ready to ride.