Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,485 pages of information and 233,925 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Felix Millet

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1887. Musée des Arts et Métiers
1894. Millet's motorcycle.

Félix Théodore Millet, 1844-1929

Born in Ivoy-le-Pré, France

In 1887 Millet built a tricycle powered by a five cylinder radial (rotary) petrol engine built into the sprung front wheel. In 1893 he built a version with the engine in the rear wheel of a bicycle, creating the first multi-cylinder motorcycle. The cylinders rotated around a fixed axle. Electric ignition, with the spark provided by a Bunsen cell, invented in 1841. In 1897, he produced, probably in the workshop of Alexandre Darracq, financed by Hippolyte Fontaine. One of his motorcycles started in the 1895 Paris-Bordeaux race. The engine displacement was 1925 cc. Source of information here.

The front portion of Millet's remarkable 1887 petrol engine-driven tricycle (tricycle à essence Millet) is on display at the Musée des Arts et Métiers. See photos.

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