Jean-Pierre and Jean-Frédéric Peugeot turned their father’s cereal mill into a steel foundry and eventually, to a motorcycle and automobile manufacturer. In celebration of the firm’s 200th anniversary, Peugeot has announced a new look for its cars – previewed through the SR1 Concept that will be revealed at the Geneva Show – and a new interpretation of its Lion emblem.
The updated Lion, which is now three-dimensional and looks more dynamic and supple, will make its vehicle debut on the new Peugeot RCZ sports coupe launched in the Spring. If you hit the jump, you can read about the birth and the evolution of the Lion emblem from 1847 to today.
From Peugeot Press Release:
The Lion emblem was first conceived in 1847 when Jules and Emile PEUGEOT, who founded the company Peugeot Frères, asked Julien BLAZER, a jeweller and engraver, to produce a logo for identifying all PEUGEOT products.
The chosen design was a Lion, as the characteristics of the Lion were very similar to those of the saws the Peugeot brothers were producing:
Strong teeth like those of the Lion.
Suppleness of the blade like the Lion’s spine.
Swiftness of cut like the Lion pouncing on its prey.
The Lion quickly became Peugeot’s sole registered trade mark, and could be found not only on tools and saw blades, but also on coffee grinders by 1881 (the production of which began in 1840), on bicycles from 1882 and, from 1898, on motorcycles.
Although the first Peugeot production car the Type 3, built by Armand PEUGEOT dates from 1891, it was only in 1906 that the emblem first appeared on a production car.
In 1910, the two entities (PEUGEOT Frères and Armand PEUGEOT) merged to become La Sté des automobiles et cycles PEUGEOT; the two product ranges, however, co-existed until the First World War.
The last car to display the “Lion walking on an arrow” was the Bébé Lion (designed by Ettore Bugatti), presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1912.
Subsequent models, however, used old-style lettering, on the top of the radiator grille contained inside a double “ellipse”, and in some instances with lettering also on the radiator, either on its own or in a coat of arms (from the 201).
In the 1920s the Lion became a rallying call for “Peugeotistes” who used it as a decoration on their radiator caps. Two types of radiator Lions were distributed in the network, a roaring version by the sculptor Marx and one ready to pounce by Baudichon.
For its part, Peugeot bicycles and motorcycles first used the Lion “walking on an arrow” emblem against the background of a spoked wheel; later a fighting Lion facing to the right was introduced in the 1920s and, finally, the same design but with upright lettering in 1960. Tools and domestic appliances opted for the Lion “walking on an arrow” in a coat of arms or on an oval plaque for coffee grinders.
From October 1933, with the launch of the “aerodynamic” range of Peugeot vehicles 201, 301 and 601, a Lion’s head re-appeared on the top of the radiator grille.
In 1948, the 203 adopted as its figurehead a Lion on the bonnet in a more prominent style. With the launch of the 403 in 1955 another new Lion appeared on the bonnet, however, these two designs were deemed too dangerous in the event of a collision and soon disappeared in September 1958.
It was attached to the boot lid until October 1952 and then migrated to the front of the bonnet from September 1958 until the end of the series in February 1960. During this period the heraldic Lion also appeared on PEUGEOT motorcycles.
The same design of the Lion was also placed in a small coat of arms in the centre of the radiator grille on the 403 range from April 1955 to 1966 before being replaced by a larger version, which first appeared on the Pininfarina styled 404, in May 1960.
It was then replaced by a Lion (gilt or chrome-plated) leaping from its background, which first appeared in September 1968 on the 504, then was adopted by the 404, 204, 304 and 104.
Another generation, the Lion “in outline” appeared on the 604 marketed in September 1975, and then extended to the 305 (November 1977) and 505 (May 1979) before being presented on a black background in 1982 on the 205, through to the 306 in 1993.
At its launch in October 1995, the 406 stood out with its large Lion emblem which rapidly migrated across the entire “six” generation models. This led in 1998 to a new look Lion, with a stylised, angular appearance that decorated the front and rear of both Peugeot cars and scooters.
Now in 2010, the Peugeot Lion, which has been associated with the brand for the last 152 years, has evolved again with a new more dynamic look. Combining a new bi-metallic finish it is now simpler in design, with a new posture and fluidity. The first production vehicle to display this new Lion will be the Peugeot RCZ which will be launched in April.