Men in their driving coats, stout gloves, caps with goggles, and crisp, white scarves. Women in their fur-lined coats and jaunty hats. Shiny automobiles, their brass fittings gleaming in the sun, their gas lamps primed, the spoked wheels and leather seats polished. This was the dawn of the age of the automobile. A golden age of beautifully constructed machines. Rolling works of art.
On 13 June 1961 Monaco issued a charming set of 14 stamps celebrating the beauty of the antique automobile. Two of the stamps in this set were engraved by Pierre Gandon. The 10c and 30c values. These two stamps will be the focus of this blog.
The 10c value depicts an 1899 Panard-Levassor. The AL model.
The company known as Panhard et Levassor, was a French car manufacturer, established by René Panhard and Émile Levassor in 1887. They sold their first automobile in 1890, a vehicle based on a Daimler design. For more on the evolution of the Panard Motor Company, click HERE.
By 1891 they began incorporating their own features to the vehicles. In fact, their designs set the groundwork for many modern standards. They were the first to incorporate a clutch pedal to operate a chain-driven gearbox. Their deign was also the first to feature a front-mounted radiator. It is also believed that the 1895 Panhard et Levassor included the first modern transmission. And if this ere not enough technical innovation. The automobile Panhard et Levassor entered into the 1894 Paris–Rouen Rally came equipped with a steering wheel, This is believed to be one of the earliest uses of this apparatus.
A French Magazine, dated 6 Aug 1894, advertising the Paris-Rouen race...
The 30c value depicts a 1901 FN Herstal.
The Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal (National Factory of Herstal), is a firearms manufacturer, located in Herstal, Belgium. The company is usually identified by the name: FN Herstal, or simply FN. The company was originally established in 1889 to manufacture 150,000 Mauser Model 89 rifles ordered by the Belgian Government. In 1899 FN Herstal also began manufacturing automobiles.
The very first FN automobile was in the style of the horse-drawn dog cart, which was commonly used by sport shooters. It had a twin-cylinder engine with a chain-drive, and a two-speed gearbox. The company continued to sell this style of automobile through to 1906. By 1939 the company stopped making automobiles.
Until next time...