Bollée family, Authorization of circulation of the first "locomobile" car

It is customary to consider it as the first automobile for individuals (especially since the word "automobile" - "which moves by itself" - appears for the first time in the works of the French Academy in 1875, the latter deciding then on its gender - male in this case)

The Obéissante (so named in large part to calm the apprehensions of the maréchaussée and the police, at its imposing approach) is the name of the first steam-powered road vehicle, built in 1873 by Amédée Bollée.

Weighing 4,800 kg and offering 12 seats, it could reach 40 km/h on level ground. Thanks to its gear shift, it could climb a 12% hill at low speed. On March 26, 1873, Amédée Bollée asked the prefect of the Sarthe department for authorization to operate his "locomobile" in the department. His plan to travel from Le Mans to Paris required numerous administrative procedures and it was the Minister of Public Works, Eugène Caillaux, who gave his approval on 26 August 1875.

Postcard " l'Obeissante ", first locomobile

Postcard " l'Obeissante ", first locomobile

The Bollée family has three sons, including Léon. At the age of 14 in 1885, he invented a kind of pedal boat and made a name for himself. In 1896, Léon Bollée marketed a three-wheeled vehicle which, for the first time, was equipped with pneumatic wheels. The horizontal engine was designed by his brother Amédée. He named it "Voiturette" and registered the name. The front position of the passenger made the "Voiturette" nicknamed the "Tue Belle-mère".

With this first success, Léon created his own company in Le Mans and named it after himself. After Léon Bollée's death in 1913, his widow Carlotta Bollée (née Messinisi) continued the production of automobiles and weapons.

The brand was finally bought out in 1922 by the English firm Morris. It became "Morris-Léon Bollée", based in Le Mans. Production began in 1925 with vehicles equipped with Hotchkiss engines. The factory closed permanently in 1931.