Peugeot sewing machines

Peugeot sewing machines

From steel to cotton

The four Peugeot brothers founded their companies at the beginning of the 19th century in the town of Hérimoncourt. The two eldest, Jean-Pierre and Jean-Frédéric, joined forces and transformed the Sous-Cratet grain mill into a steel foundry in 1810.

The two youngest, Charles-Christophe and Jean-Jacques, create a cotton spinning mill at La Chapotte, downstream from Sous-Cratet. It started modestly in 1805 with 12 workers. From 1808, it employed 90 spinners, who produced 8 tons of yarn (or single textile) delivered to Indian manufacturers in Mulhouse. In addition to this production, a spindle casting workshop for looms is also put into service. In 1813, they built a second spinning mill in Audincourt.


The rebirth of a brand

Taking advantage of the sale of certain assets of Peugeot Frères & Cie, Constant Peugeot, one of Jean-Jacques’ sons, took over the machines for manufacturing textile machine parts and the Sous-Roche factory. In 1830, he founded the company “Constant Peugeot & Cie” to manufacture parts for looms (an activity that existed on the fringes of his grandfather’s business). The Constant business is growing enormously and its reputation crosses borders since the Constant Peugeot & Cie house exports throughout Europe: it is the most prominent Peugeot branch at the moment. This success is due to several factors: guaranteed technical know-how, an efficient workforce and favorable economic conditions which are driving the textile markets and therefore the mechanization of factories.

The end of textiles

The death of Jean-Jacques (in 1818) and Charles-Christophe (in 1819), both of whom died of typhus, compromised the future of the company “Peugeot Frères & Cie”. The heirs, too young and inexperienced, cannot cope with the various crises, financial or family. The verdict is final, on November 6, 1837, the case is declared bankrupt. However, this branch did not die, and, less than three years later, Constant Peugeot brought it back to life in another form…


The sewing machine

In the 1850s, Constant Peugeot & Cie became interested in a novelty: the sewing machine. This study is wise and reasoned since in line with the traditional production of textile machinery equipment.

The first sewing machine model was launched in 1867, and gained recognition in 1876 when Peugeot sewing machine models won the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. They come to compete with the Singer, Grover, Wilcox or Opel. The drive mechanism of sewing machines is composed of a double crankset. At the time, some people mocked the dubious effect of this mechanism, deemed capable of “giving sensations through its gentle and regular movement”. Exit the double crankset, Peugeot is developing the drive by a mobile plate.


Constant is an inventor who constantly improves his sewing machines and his products. Many patents are registered including that of 1869 placing the coil vertically and that of 1878 for the Bâti de Salon, known as Guéridon. That same year, the factory grew considerably and employed 700 people, all activities combined.


From Constant Peugeot & Cie to Peugeot Frères (1908-1939) via Japy & Cie (1897-1908)

Since the death of Constant Peugeot in 1877, and probably under the impetus of his son-in-law and heir Philippe Japy (Constant and his wife having had two daughters), the company has gradually come under the Beaucourtois fold (the JAPY company is based in Beaucourt, near Belfort). The corporate name of the company changes and becomes Peugeot & Cie.

A few years later, in 1908, the Sons of Peugeot Frères took over the sewing machine business. From then on, the Lion appears on the frame and the body of the machines. From 1920, the machines can be equipped, on request, with an electric motor. In 1929, the first totally electric model appeared.

Production will cease, like many others, at the dawn of the Second World War.

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