Historical research of the Voiturette Bertrand company

This page was created to give an overview about the existing results of the research work concerning the Parisian automobile company Voiturette Bertrand. It also includes as yet unanswered questions.

Please provide any available information about the Voiturette Bertrand company and their cars to me.

 

Information in accordance to the year of production:


>>> 1899 <<<

We found different information about a company called MM.Bertrand et Cíe. They sold petrol driven locomobiles in 1899 and 1900. In some technical articles the comany producing the Voiturettes Bertrand is also called MM.Bertrand et Cíe. MM.Bertrand et Cíe or MM. J. Bertrand et Cíe was operating in Marocco, Italy, Tunisia and Algeria as the advertisement shows. A photo of the 1901 Paris Automobile Salon shows a company called C.Bertrand et Cíe on the booth stand name plate. There is no proof for a relation of these two companies. Bertrand was a very common name. Maybe later research work mixed these two company names. M. or MM. is the French shortcut for Messieur or Messieurs.

The address of the company could be the solution to find the correct year of production of my voiturette. It seems to be clear that Bertrand et Cie produced cars before 1901. At this time the company was located at Avenue Malakoff in Paris (see photo of 1901 Auto Salon below). My Voiturette Bertrand was the car #54 but it was produced at 198. Bd. Pereire in Paris. This is documented by the number plate which belongs to the cars dashboard (see photo "Further information Bertrand")

 

References:

La Dépêche tunisienne 16th February 1899

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k579751f/f3.zoom.r=

 

 

La Dépêche tunisienne 28th February 1899 

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k579745m/f3.image.r=%22Bertrand%20et%20C%C3%ADe%22.langDE

 

 

La Dépêche tunisienne 15th October 1900

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k580083t/f4.image.r=%22Bertrand%20et%20C%C3%ADe%22.langDE

 

 

>>> 1900 <<<


>>> November 1900 <<<

Ariejan Bos gave me the information the first company Bertrand was founded at the 19th of April 1900. They launched there first car during the autumn of 1900. A description of the Bertrand ('a new car with extremely graceful lines') appears to have been published in L' Avenir de L' Automobile (Paris, November 1900).

Reference was published in the "Automobile Magazine 1901":

http://archive.org/stream/automobilemaga3171901newy/automobilemaga3171901newy_djvu.txt

 

>>> 15. November 1900 <<<

I found the registration of a patent from the company "Systéme Automobile Bertrand". This company is identical with the company "Voiturette Bertrand". The brass production plate of my car shows the same address "198 Boulevard Pereire". In 1900 the company was located in the "Avenue Malakoff". This is documented by different sources.

Text in the “Bulletin des Lois” Page 365

305 415, Brevet de quinze ans, 15 November 1900; Bertrand;  à Paris, boulevard Pereire, n° 198, --- Systéme Automobile Bertrand.

This documented that the company was located at 198. Boulevard Pereire in Paris in 1900. My car with the #54 was also produces at this place. At the 21dt of January 1901 the company had moved to the Avenue Malakoff (see photo "1901 Auto Salon" below) Therefor my car was built in 1900.

 

>>> 9. February 1901 <<<

Article about the "Salon de l´automobile 1901", 21.1.–10.2.1901, Grand Palais in Paris

The Autocar
A new firm to embark upon the trade are C. Bertrand et Cie., 151 Avenue Malakoff, who exhibit two nice-looking machines – on a tonneau and the other a four-seated car of the char-à-banc type. Power is transmitted from the five and a half horse-power Aster motor by means of a long belt to the countershaft, which is geared directly on to the rear-driving axle. The pulleys are of small diameter, and there are three of them for change speed and reversing.

 

>>> 16. February 1901 <<<

Article about the "Salon de l´automobile 1901", 21.1.–10.2.1901, Grand Palais in Paris

The Motor-Car Journal
MM. Bertrand et Cie., 148, Avenue Malakoff, Paris, showed two exceptionally attractive small cars, the one fitted with a 6,5 H.P. water-cooled Aster, and the other with a 4,5 H.P de Dion. The former carriage is designed to accommodate four persons all facing forward, and the latter is of tonneau type. Built low with long wheelbase, the Bertrand car looks as stable as it is stylish. The transmission is effected by means of a long belt from the motor in front to the differential shaft, upon which are found three pulleys. One of these is loose and the other two give the fast and slow speed respectively. A reverse gear is also provided. A lever placed upon the sloping pillar of the wheel steering actuates the speeds, while one hand brake and a couple of pedal brakes render the vehicle under perfect control. The weight is 380 kilogrammes, and the price is 200 GBP. MM. Bertrand et Cie would appear to have got hold of a capital little car singularly devoid of anything approaching complication in its mechanism.

>>> 27. June 1901 <<<

3 Voiturette Bertrand cars participated at the VI Grand Prix race from Paris to Berlin. Starting number 140  to 142 were Bertrand cars. Car 140 was driven by Mr. Bertrand. But the official press photo of the ACF shows a different car with the number 314. It was a 4-seating Voiturette Bertrand driven by M. Forain a French caricaturist. This car participated in the tourists class. The three cars with starting number 140 to 142 did not participate at the main race from Paris to Berlin (Source: la triomphale course Paris-Berlin 1901 written by Jean-Robert Dulier)

Publication "Gil Blais"

Je vous signale également :deux voiturettes Bertrand engagées dans la course Paris-Berlin : 27/29 juin 1901

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k75357984/f2.zoom.r=

Question:
Does anybody know the reason for deleting the 3 Bertrand cars from the starting list?

 

>>> 1901 Paris-Berlin Grand-Prix race <<<

These photos were taken in front of the ACF building in France in June 1901 at the departure of the tour cars. The starting number of the car is different to the starting list printed in the newspapers. It was the VI Grand Prix and the first great automobile race. (Photo publication of Jules Beau and "La Vie Ilustrée" from 1901)

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b84333389/f6.item

 

The following article "Le Journal, 22.06.1901, page 3) shows a listing of the tourist class starters. No. 314 is the Voiturette Bertrand of Mr. Furain.



According to today's knowledge, it is not sure whether a Bertrand has ever reached the German border in this race. But it is to be assumed that the vehicles in the tourist class are driven. A recently discovered map shows that the drivers of this class were not near my home town. The route runs more south through the state of Hesse.



>>> 1901 Moscow-St. Petersburg trial <<<

Vladislav from Barnaul in West-Siberia sent me the following photos from the Moscow-St. Petersburg trail. Thanks also to RCForum.ru and the Ultimatecarpage.com.

This photo shows the winning car a Starley-Bertrand driven by Louis Mazy and Vadim Mihailov.

The longest run of 1901 finally, unlike previous years, should’ve been completed during one run and wasn’t divided into two runs. All five listed drivers arrived to a starting point in Moscow, but Peltzer (RUS) didn’t start his tricycle because of the mechanical problems. Finally, Mazy (driving together with Vadim Mihailov) finished in a proud loneliness, though made it almost out of time. Fedor Tanskiy and Samuel Suurmets retired near Tver (problems with tyres for Tanskiy, while Suurmets had something with a stone on the road), and Alekseev broke the axle near Novgorod. (Source: www.ultimatecarpage.com)

Photo of Louis Mazy

First automotive race ever held in Russia was initiated by Louis Mazy - French driver, who opened a shop in St.-Petersberg called 'Bicycles and motors' to deal with Clement, Gladiator and Phebus companies. Before it opened there were only about 12 cars (almost all were Benz cars, except one Delahaye, which, in turn, was a copy of German car) and several motorcycles (Hildebrandt and Wolfmuller) in St.-Petersberg. The race was planned to be an advertisement for his production and for horseless transport in general. Mazy's companions in case of competition organization were members of Society for Cycling in Russia.

1901 Starley-Bertrand 6.5hp

Specially for 1901 Moscow – St.-Petersberg race Louis Mazy remade one of the cars produced on his Starley-Psycho factory in Russia. While the technical part remained the same, including a standard 6.5hp Aster engine, the body was a completely new. Two seats instead of four for basic French body and much lighter aluminium bodypanels. It was one of the latest cars produced at Starley-Psycho (maybe even last) – on August, 8, 1901 a fire occurred at the plant – 200 bycicles and 6 tricycles were destroyed, and Mazy left Russia and returned to France, though entered one more race in 1902.

What is interesting, this exact Starley-Bertrand 6.5hp was sold to Port-Arthur, where worked in a fortress, and after Japanese took Port-Arthur it was taken to Japan and became a first-ever car there.

(Source: www.ultimatecarpage.com)


General information about the Moscow-St. Petersburg race:

Sources: contemporary reports in Russian magazines Avtomobil', Sport, Sportsman

III Moscow – St. Petersburg Race

Date of race: 17.07.1901 (04.07.1901 according old russian calender)
Distance: 693.42 km / 650 versts (obsolete Russian unit of length

Results:
1. place and winner:
Louis Mazy (F) / Vadim Mikhailov (RUS)    on    Starley-Bertrand 6.5 HP   in 37:50'00 = 18.328 kph

Did not finish:
Fedor Tansky (RUS)   on 3-seater
Alekseev (RUS)   on 2-seater voiturette
Samuel Suurmets (RUS)   on tricycle (accident)

Did not start:
Peltzer (RUS)    on tricycle (mechanical problems)

http://forums.autosport.com/topic/59994-early-motor-racing-in-russia-1898-1914/

 

>>> 11. September 1901 <<<

During the time from the 10th till the 25th of Decembre 1901 Bertrand et Cie was participating the "4e Exposition Internationale de l´Automobile, du Cycle et des Sports" in Paris (Grand-Palais). (Source: La Chaffeur, 11. Septembre 1901, Page 342)

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5532605s/f24.image.r=Voiturette%20Bertrand.langDE

 

>>> 1902 <<<

>>> 11. October 1902 <<<

At this date "Voiturette Bertrand" filed for insolvency.

"Archiv Comerciales" Issue 31. December 1902 (1105,A29), Page 150

Déclaration de Faillites
Bertrand et Cie – Constructions d´automobiles – 11. Oktober 1902 – Paris   1320

 

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5592466f/f174.image.r=%22Bertrand%20et%20Cie%22.langDE

Other references:

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k7626103v/f6.zoom.r=

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k728517n/f4.zoom.r=

 

>>> 1903 <<<

In 1903 another famous car builder, Théodore Schneider, was operating from 198, Boulevard Pereire in Paris.

Annuaire des grands cercles (Paris), Page 319

We found this interesting detail in a member list of the Automobile-Club de France. Maybe he continued to use the facilities of Bertrand & Cie after the bankcruptcy at the end of 1902.

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5665163h/f344.image.r=%22198%20Boulevard%20Pereire%22.langDE

 

I would like to thank all veteran car enthusiasts, museums, libraries and organizations for providing information to me. This page will be updated regularly and will display the present status of my research.