Krebs' hand written note
about the origin of the Société Anonyme des Anciens Établissements Panhard et Levassor (Exhibition 1902)
Origin of the company
The Société Anonyme des Anciens Établissements
Panhard et Levassor collected in 1897 the heritage of a House whose state
of services in mechanics were yet brillant.
Périn, inventor of the band saw, founded in about 1846 the House who became later the Société Panhard et Levassor. His workshop was dedicated to wood machines construction and particularly the saw he was the inventor.
The name of the House had been :
From the origin, the House carried on providing the most irreproachable manufacture, essential condition for wood machines which generally comprise parts set in motion by very rapid movements.
Construction of first gas engines
These habits of work precision brought the House to deal with construction of gas engines from the years 1875. Soon, after 1886, it started the construction of petrol engines whose patents had been bought from M. Daimler of Carnstadt.
Creation of the first automobile
In 1891 the Panhard House realized the first motorcar operated with petrol engine, thanks to the persevering energy of one of its leaders, the missed Émile Levassor. Thus it can be considered exactly as the cradle of the automobile industry.
Creation of several dispositions
Since the first car left the Panhard Levassor workshops, each year had been point out by new improvements, whose whole, adopted by all constructors, state the type universally known as the French type after being simply the Panhard type.
This type is featured by the following points :
- Engine at the frontEach step cleared of, each progress realized, received its approval during great sportive events to which Company’s cars took part.
1895 Paris - Bordeaux - Paris (endurance)In all these events the Panhard Levassor Company attempted to keep its superiority by the good design and the good execution of its cars and not by the use of engines with an exaggerated power.
Between enhancements which stood out each of the steps above and whose most of them had been patented by the Panhard Levassor Company, we will particularly point out the following topics :
The irreversible steering whose usage
is became so general that it seems impossible to make now a motorcar which
should not fitted with it, as well as in France and abroad.
Balance of engines, of four and two cylinders.
Choice of materials - testing methods
While these new dispositions where created, continuous improvements where brought out to the building, the choice of materials, the good execution of the work and the design of the whole and of the details.
First cars were fitted with ordinary conditions
in usage in mechanics; engines’ power being not then considerable there
were no difficulty to realize the motion transmission in such conditions.
The Panhard and Levassor Company, after having studied with the greatest care the result given by the temper of ordinary steels, adopted the first the nickel steels for the manufacture of speed gears and crankshafts (the first order of nickel steel sent to the J. Holtzer House, is dated of June, the 3rd of 1901).
The choice of the steel, and in a general manner,
the metals best suitable to all parts of the car, had been done as a result
of lot of resistance tests, and in particular shock tests, executed after
the most new methods. The Panhard and Levassor Company, were the first
(in the automobile industry) to use it in tests for guiding us in the choice
of new metals to employ and for studying the suitable treating for these
metals. We think we can say that nobody before us used these tests for
the study of fragility of hard steels.
The Company’s testing service includes, more than the mechanical testing laboratory, a chemical testing laboratory. The Panhard and Levassor Company did not conceive the application of a great power engine to a race car unless this engine should be particularly light, so, the first one, she had been lead to employ steel forged cylinders with brass water jackets.
So she obtained engines of 60 nominal HP (70
real), weighting only 4 kg by real HP, and 24 nominal HP (30 real) weighting
only 5 kg by real HP.
The engines of this type which got a so brilliant success in 1902 between Paris and Belfort, were ordered to the Holtzer House, concerning the cylinders, since the 31 October 1901. The construction of these cylinders had been patented on the 23 October 1901.
Many types of cars
Concerning the types of cars, the Panhard and
Levassor Company did not be afraid to face a problem of an extreme difficulty
: constitute, by the mean of a reduced number of interchangeable parts,
a considerable number of types satisfying all of the requests.
At last, that important fabrication (today 120 cars a month) is controlled by a special verification service completely independent from the workshop and to which each parts is submitted after each step of shaping.
Novelties presented at the Exhibition 1902
The novelties presented by the Panhard and Levassor Company at the Salon 1902 are briefly described in the notice A and the drawings jointed.
We allow us however to point out to the jury’s
attention the following topics :
Experiences to which the public can daily attend in the Grand Palais, since the opening of the exhibition, prove superabundantly that the result is attained.
Importance of the Panhard and Levassor Company
The good traditions of work and loyalty of the Panhard and Levassor Company gained her the sympathy of a numerous clientele ; so her turnover reaches annually more than fourteen million francs. The business she does abroad can be evaluated to a third of her turnover.
The House had built until today more than five thousand cars and see periodically coming back in her repairing workshops the oldest cars which left her workshops. All these cars are carrying out their regular service and had saved their trade value, this is an advertising practically alive which exempt her to do more.
Therefore the Company just had to build, next to her construction workshops, repairing workshops which occupy a surface of 7000 m². Workshops which are the subject of the biggest attention because it is there the new dispositions are judged ultimately. It is also there we often find the inspiration for new dispositions to adopt.
The Company builds also standing engines for Electro-generator
groups for varied utilization and boats powered by these engines. She won
a lot of success in that branch of industry.