Born February 15, 1877 - October 24, 1944
Locking Device for Vehicle Wheels
Patent #: 2,136,760
Louis Renault, a Paris native, became one of France’s most well known
automobile manufacturers, building his first automobile in 1898 and
establishing the Renault Motor Company.
Renault’s numerous patents revolutionized the automotive industry. Chief
among his designs were hydraulic shock absorbers, the drum brake and the
turbocharger. His hydraulic shock absorber is still a common feature on
automobiles today. Renault other inventions included a transmission that
transmitted power and motion from the engine to the wheels through a series
of gears without the use of chains or belts.
Renault’s first car was called the “Voiturette,” possessing a three-speed
transmission plus a reverse gear. Within a short time, Renault received more
than a dozen orders for his new car. In 1899, Renault and two siblings
founded the Renault Brothers Automobile Company, and by 1908, Louis Renault
had full control of the business.
During the German occupation of France during World War II, Renault
opted to stay in his country as his company was placed under German
administration. When the Germans were driven out of France in 1944,
however, Renault was accused of industrial collaboration with the Nazis,
and he died in prison while awaiting trial.