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De Dietrich or Lorraine-Dietrich?

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#1 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 10:57

All the racing reports from pre-1900 automobile racing show the make De Dietrich (or de Dietrich). The company, named "De Dietrich & Cie." was founded in 1884 by Jean de Dietrich (in fact, my namesake...  :p ). 

Then racing reports from the following decades indicated the make as "Lorraine-Dietrich". The company name was "Société Lorraine des Anciens Etablissements de Dietrich et Cie de Lunéville".

Did the two companies merge at a certain moment (and, if yes, when?) or the marque must be listed as "Lorraine-Dietrich" since the first starts of their cars in late 1890s? and the "de Dietrich" version is incorrect/incomplete?



#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 14:42

The company ultimately dates back to 1684, but was left with factories on both sides of the new border after the Franco-Prussian War. The one on the French side, in the part of Lorraine which remained French, continued buildng locomotives for French railways, but the one on the German side - in Alsace - diversified into consumer durables; stoves, cookers, wooden furniture, enamelled cast iron bathtubs and urban or industrial equipment – for tramways, distillation equipment and industry specific wagons. Although it too later started building cars. But not the same ones as built in Lorraine!


This page from a South African motor museum seems to have the answer: https://www.fmm.co.z...raine-dietrich/


So, if I'm reading it correctly, all cars produced by the company - be they the Bollée and subsequent designs built in Lorraine or the licence-built Turcat-Méry designs constructed in Germany until 1904 - were sold as De Dietrichs until 1908, even though the Lorraine-built ones already wore a croix de Lorraine badge to emphasise their 'Frenchness'. In short therefore - De Dietrich for cars built before 1908, Lorraine-Dietrich from 1908 onwards.

#3 robert dick

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 15:04

On 4 March 1905 the "Société De Diétrich et Cie., constructions mécaniques" of Lunéville was re-organised into "Société Lorraine des Anciens Établissements De Diétrich de Lunéville". 
In detail, the société en commandite simple par parts d'intétêts was transformed into a société anonyme.
(see Archives Commerciales de la France, 1 April 1905)
Up to the end of 1905 and including the 1905 Bennett and Vanderbilt races, the cars officially started under the name De Diétrich (De Dietrich in America). 
(Strictly it should be De Diétrich with accent aigu since the automobile factories of Lunéville in Lorraine and Argenteuil near Paris were in France. 
The company also had branches in Alsace which was German between 1871 and 1918 so that products from these Alsacian factories were sold under the name De Dietrich without accent.)
Beginning with the 1906 Grand Prix de l'ACF/Le Mans, the cars officially started under the name Lorraine-Dietrich.

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 15:37

I bow to Robert's superior sources and knowledge!