One of the oldest cars in the world, 1887 De Dion, Bouton and Trepardoux steam quadricycle.



One of the oldest cars in the world, 1887 De Dion, Bouton and Trepardoux steam quadricycle.

The De Dion Bouton company, which was founded in 1883, the story goes that Count Jules-Albert De Dion was fascinated in December 1881 by a toy, a small functional steam locomotive, made by a certain Charles Armand Trépardoux and a Georges Bouton.

The meeting between these three men takes place, Bouton and Trépardoux present their boiler project for light vehicles. De Dion, passionate about everything related to mechanical strength, decides to finance this project. The company "Trépardoux et Cie" was founded in 1882, the development of a boiler took many months before the first vehicles appeared: a De Dion tricycle in 1883, followed by a quadricycle in 1884: the De Dion Bouton La Marquise.



As steam engines decreased in size and improved in efficiency, a number of attempts were made to build a steam cart. De Dion, Bouton and Trepardoux developed this steam cart in 1887.


The boiler is fueled by coal, wood or paper depending on the availability of its owner, but the car is not operational immediately: a good half hour is needed for the boiler to be at operating temperature. Once this is reached, the Marquise can set off on the roads, it would have reached a speed of 60km / h in 1887 during a demonstration race which saw the car cover 30km at an average speed of 40km / h, with Georges Bouton as pilot.


Several examples have been constructed. In 1889, Bouton saw a gasoline engine at the Paris Exposition and recognized that it would be a more efficient source of energy. De Dion Bouton became a pioneering automobile manufacturer.



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