Energic is a French brand of agriculture, viticulture machinery and garden equipment. This material was built from late 1929 to 1986 by the Patissier Establishments in Villefranche sur Saône in the Rhône (department 69 postal code 69400) – the capital of the Beaujolais viticulture industry- the starting point of viticulture machinery.
I am interested in the presently undocumented Energic history from the first prototypes to the start of the second world war, after which the history is much clearer. I have spent a long time researching, collecting and documenting what is available on pre-war Energic motoculteurs. I have pieced together fragments of information from many sources to form a credible Energic time line. This is not definitive and will change as more information comes to light, but it is a starting point.
Early walk behind tracteurs (renamed motoculteurs later on) offered mechanization and greater flexibility to smaller holder/farmers. Motoculteurs could be worked hard for longer periods of time than there counterparts the farm horse. In fact they where sold on the basis of how much work they could do in an average day compared with actual horse power. There are some statistics that say around the 1935/1940 period, 40% of France’s agricultural workers where still using horses as their main source of traction for agriculture. Before 1940 it was estimated there where 2 million horses used in agriculture.
These very early motoculteurs where, as a rule, extremely large, difficult/heavy to manoeuvre, under-powered with poor weight distribution. They proved very difficult to manoeuvre in tight situations or on steep slopes. Here are 3 examples of this type of motoculteur/tractor.
They used the tried and tested technology of the day that is where based around the available heavy car engines of the time modified onto a smaller chassis. After the first world war their construction became more stream-lined with the use of smaller motorcycle derived engines, that where re-geared for agricultural use. These machines where evolving quickly and, for the small holder on a budget, were the first affordable mechanical alternative to the heavy horse power.
Albert Patissier, born in 1900, was the inventor of the derailleur in 1920 (cycling) and test pilot at Monet-Goyon in Macon. He started off in a modest shop as a repairing business for cycles and various brands of motorcycettes (small motor cycles 50cc to 175cc) of that time at Rue National Villefranche-sur-Saône (in front of the L’Eden). there are records of the first registration of his company with 7,800,000 francs at this address in 1919 (reg; 57B136). (See Motobecane MB1 typical motorcycettes below). The company was fully trading in 1923.
Patissier moved his business after 2 years to Rue Paul Bert 1925 and then Rue du Promenoir in 1926. It was here and at la newly aquired warehouse at Rue des Docks that he started on the prototypes of motoculteurs for his viticole clients in 1926. This facility was close to the railway station for ease of finished product movement.
The large warehouse/hanger Rue des Docks near to the railway station at Villefranche-sur-Saône
He was contacted by a friend/viticulturist who purchased a early motoculture from Paris in 1926, who unable to successfully run a new type of motoculteur and was frustrated by its limitations. Mr Patissier analysed the machine, and it became evident that it was impossible to modify sufficiently to increase efficiency and to over come the problems inherent in this basic design. So he set about constructing a prototype forming a new base design. This would be a limited range of motoculteurs that would be more suited to the purpose of polyculture, maraîchage and viticulture.Three machines where initially built under the brand name “Energic” in resplendent blue. They where sold.
Mr Patissiers first motorculteurs where equipped with a 9cv Chaise petrol/essence engine. These motoculteurs where of a 4 wheel drive system, with solid disc wheels, With its overall width approx. 40cm – which was the standard width/distance between the rows of vines. Also within the design was a blockage system, to prevent wheel slippage,which operated by locking apposing wheels on apposing axles. Also Mr Patissier used a special design of self cleaning wheel design.
However these motoculteurs also had there draw backs, difficult to steer, poor lateral stability, poor turning circle for the small parcels of land used by the viticulturist. Some 28 motoculteurs of this initial design where produced and 12/15 where sold.The size of the machine was dictated by the viticulters requirements to work on small parcels of difficult terrain, mainly on hill sides. In the Lyonnaise area.
Before any more where sold, Mr Patissier, at his own cost, recalled these first motoculteurs on the understanding that he would correct them fit for purpose.This was a very generous thing to do and fiscally very risky, as his fledgling company had merger resources. This was make or break for him! It actually was the bedrock of the Energic companies work ethic moving forward, trust, honer able and honest using the best materials available with the latest technology. These first motoculteurs where replaced by what we recognize as the Energic B, C and G ranges of the future. Also interestingly the colour changed from the original blue, to red with all 2 wheel drive machines of that date. (information from archives supported by Mr Jean Fleitou – who worked for Mr Patissier from the first machine production till 1967).
In 1930 Mr Patissier bought a further property at Rue Françoise Giraud, to keep his labour force in the local fainaty of his existing warehouse and premisis.
In 1939 Mr Patissier then purchased a facilityat Rue de Thizy, so that the engines stored here could be mounted easily on the motoculteur chassis.
Importantly Mr Patissier, when studying the other motorculteurs on the market at the time. Saw the possibility of developing a Implement towing arm/system d’attelage, to attach all manor of equipment to be trailed behind the motoculteur. He obtained a patent in France, England and Italy. This was a large step forward and set the marque ahead of the competition. This is the Brevete S.G.D.G. implement-attachment draw-bar-hitch
Read more about the Energic Brevete S.G.D.G. implement-attachment draw-bar-hitch here.
The competition in the French domestic market 1930/34, comprised of machines from the following manufacturers Pégase, Somua, Comiot-Graveix, Mesbla-Curtis and Bruneau.
Here is a range selector of the Energic motoculteurs, Moto-Treuil and Moto-Charrues 1929 to 1932.
The “Energic motoculteur B1” – a very maneuverable machine, utilizing a smaller engine with a patented Brevete S.G.D.G. design swing arm for multiple attachments – his first Motoculteur. This was not a stationary machine could be used for a multiple of tasks from plowing to harrowing. It used a 247cc Motobecane 2 stroke engine. Using a revolutionary simple mono spine chassis, which is the basis of all other machines from then on in the range. Very light weight and versatile machine.
Energic type B machine 3/5 cv Motoculteur.
Read more about the Energic motoculteur B1 here.
The “Energic type A”. It was powered by a more powerful 500 cm3 ACT Chaise engine and available from before 1930. It was a stationary winch machine (Moto-Treuil). A lot of the viticulture was on very steep slopes where a winch (treuil) cable pulled a plow or other implements where required. To this end the Energic Type A 9 (9cv) was adapted.
Energic Type A 9cv Chaise moteur. Moto-Treuil.
Read more about the Energic Moto-Treuil type A here.
Mr Patissier then sourced, through Motobecane, a “lateral valve” engine which was compact, weight efficient, offering a lower center of gravity and who’s gearing and some internal parts could be modified to give longevity to the moteur for agricultural use (more load at lower speed). Thus the Energic motoculteur C7 (Motobecane 350cc (with the B4 lateral moteur) was created on the B platform design with modifications to the chassis to accept the moteur and drive chain. Their introduction showed significant improvements on overall engine to weight power ratios. Offering a more compact design that was definitely more suited to the tasks. And with the later introduction of the Energic motoculteur D9, this design founded the basis of all models produced from then on wards up to 1939.
Energic motoculteur C7 with a B4L 7CV moteur.
Read more about the Energic motoculteur C7 B4L here.
Energic motoculteur G9 9cv. Moto-Charrue.
Read more about the Energic Moto-Charrue G9 9cv here.
It became obvious that even in there final developed state, the G9 machine also had engineering limitations. These issues could be better resolved with a further redesign and possibly a change to a more compact engine.The Energic G range models ran next to these models till 1933 when they where phased out in favour of the new design.
1932-33 Energic motoculteur models;
Type B (later call B5 in 1932/3 catalogues) 5cv motor 247cc 2 stroke 8% oil mixture.- (Motobecane) Originally with 1 speed and no rear gear (priced 5500fr.), then available with selectable rear gear drive (6850fr.)
Read more about the Energic motoculteur B5 here.
A later developed the Energic B the B5 E (Étroites) available from 1933 used the 5cv motor 247cc 2 temps – it was developed, by demand, for even narrower width requirements – special vine work.
Type C7 (replaced the type B4 5CV in1931) 7hp model Type 200 had selectable rear gear, 3 speed motor motobecane B4L (lateral) bloc 346.7cm3 (this motobecane engine was manufactured in various forms from 1930-34). But Energic seem to have used it till late 1934 when it was dropped as a current engine. It was replaced by the new more efficient S Bloc range, using a larger recirculating oil cooling & lubricating system necessitating a separate oil tank. Priced originally 7850fr. moving to 8500fr; in 1934/5) Crank handle start, with a hand operated decompressor lever on the exhaust valve.
Read more about the Energic Motoculteur C7 B4L here.
Type D9 9hp 500cc B5L motobecane. Very rare this engine, in lateral form was only produced for less than one year and in 1931/2 was replaced by the S bloc. Was the replacement for the G9.
Read more about the Energic Motoculteur D9 B5L here.
Type G9 9hp model used a Chaise G 500cc 3 speed engine – very few motoculteur engined tractors where produced) I have not physically seen a G7 or G9 model, but have photos. They where phased out (1933) in favor of the Energic motoculteur C7 designed D9 with the introduction of the 1934 S Bloc Motobecane. (The S bloc being a development on from the original R bloc which was available late 1933 in a 250cc form).
The Energic G9 models used a front moteured kick start – derived straight from the motorcycle usage design. A handful of these models where produced as they where heavy to manoeuvre and expensive starting at 9250 fr. in 1932/3. (the Energic motoculteur C7 B4L was a better design was 2000fr cheaper, lighter, more fuel efficient and would do a better job). Most G models where scavenged for parts for Chaise engine enthusiasts, or scrapped.
Read more about the Energic Motoculteur G9 here.
** I have just recently found a Energic Motoculteur D9 B5L (M9) using a 9cv (500cc) motobecane B Bloc lateral engine. Not much is known about these engines which where produced for a brief period of time (as motorcycle engines 1931/32) for Energic, with the Energic logo lettering cast into the on the crankcase.
I have a satisfaction/reference letter from 10/10/1932, at Ecully, mentioning the 4/5cv 2 strokes – that will be one of the first B motered machines. And the first Energic motoculteur C7 appearing on 12/12/1932 in Toulouse – B bloc.This type of letter is submitted as a reference after a minimum of 12/18 months of satisfactory service. Dating Energic motoculteur B to the mid 1930 and the Energic motoculteur C7 B4L in mid/1931
Additionally within that period, (with no specific date) but available from 1934
Type E 2-3cv – traction one wheel motor 2 temps, 3 speed capable of pulling a small one soc plow, 30cm wide – very few manufactured (priced 3500 fr.). The engine size is not known but 100 – 150cm3 maximum – suitable motobecane engines where available at this time).
Late 1933 – 1939/40
In Oct 1933 the new R/S bloc lateral 250cc, 350cc and 500cc became available from motobecane. The 350cc and 500cc engines was fitted in the Energic C7 & D9 models respectively. (The B series motobecane moteured motoculteur/tiller was discontinued in favor of the S bloc – sometimes the plaques showed D9 M9 but had S9 motors in this transition period). Motobecane continues to manufacture the S bloc engine and use it in its motorcycles till after the war approx. 1947. (The bloc R being the Routier version, of the later Bloc S – in motorcycle trim). Energic machines use the R bloc but all is referred to as a S bloc in motobecane engine terms, from its introduction, as this is the most common engine variant.
The new S bloc, with its increased oil/cooling and lubrication efficiency – through the use of a separate oil reservoir (tank) situated next to the fuel tank operating a float valve regulation. This was a big step forward in the motorization of the Energic motoculteur. The new moteurs probably came on stream with Energic motoculteur models from 1934, after spare and stock of the Motobecane B4L engines where used up.
Read more about the Energic motoculteur S bloc C7 here.
Read more about the Energic Motoculteur S bloc D9 here.
The C7/D9 motobecane S bloc Energic motoculteurs where still available in up to 1944 (using up the old stock of parts and chassis). There availability overlapped with the introduction of the totally new in house produced Energic motoculteur 409 3v (engines totally Energic – not out sourced). I have a machine that was bought new, one owner, in late 1944 a D9 (S bloc spec.). And I have seen an order dating from June 1942 for the New Energic motoculteur 409 awaiting homologué, with information showing authorizations relating the New 409 as early as 20 May 1941.
Bon De Commande dated 1/3/1940 for a Energic motoculteur D9
Finally what was very interesting and important to the Energic Brand, is its huge presence in the domestic market in France. There are some statistics that prove that the Energic brand held 68% of the French market in motoculteurs in the period up to and including 1938. Ahead of the other leading brands of Couaillac and Somua. A testament to the quality, reliability and technological break through’s led by Mr Patissier at Energic.
Read more about the Ets Patissier model and range history after 1940.
Read more about the Ets Patissier factory history.
Read more about the Energic motoculteur B1 here.
Read more about the Energic motoculteur G9 here.
Read more about Energic motoculteur C7 B4L here.
Read more about Energic motoculteur D9 B5L here.
Read more about Energic motoculteur D9 S Bloc here.
Read more about Energic motoculteur C7 S Bloc here.
Read more about Energic History here.
See more on Facebook page: www.facebook.com/energic.info
If you like my Facebook page then I can put more information on it./ Si vous aimez ma page Facebook, je peux mettre plus d’informations à ce sujet.