The partnership between Richard and Brasier lasted less than four years. During the 1890s George Richard and his elder brother, Félix-Maxime worked in a bicycle repair and manufacturing business. The business flourished and the brothers created a company which they called “Société des Cycles Georges Richard”.
The brothers’ belief in the quality of their bicycles enabled them to include a life-time guarantee against manufacturing defects when selling the machines. This enhanced the reputation of Georges-Richard bicycles and sales boomed. New customers included large-scale users of bicycles such as the health services and the military, along with the postal and telegraph services. Expansion led to a name change, and the business became the “Société de Construction de cycles et d’Automobiles Georges Richard”. The first formerly presented “motor car” was a two seater propelled by a single cylinder 708cc power unit producing a claimed maximum output of 3.5 hp. This “voiturette” was presented a the first national bicycle show to admit motorized vehicles, and would be constructed between 1896 and 1902, being sold under the name “Pony”.
Charles-Henri Brasier, intelligent and resourceful, was also uncompromising and often arrogant. At the age of sixteen he gained entry to the l’Ecole des Arts et Métiers de Chalons. After graduation, he worked for several months as a draftsman at Panhard et Levassor and later the Orleans Railway Co. In 1886 he joined Mors Freres. While there he initially worked on the design of an experimental steam car and various locomotives and launches. From there he began to design and supervise the construction of the Mors cars, one of which he drove himself in the Paris-Berlin race. Brasier was involved in an accident, in which a boy was unfortunately killed, and was so upset that he would never drive in another race. In 1901 he severed his connection with Mors, and took over the management of the Societe des Etablissements Georges-Richard, which was then building light carriages along cycle lines. Brasier immediately took steps to reorganize the business more in line with his work at Mors. In racing, Brasier enabled Mors to challenge and eventually supplant Panhard et Levassor but tension seems to have built up between Brasier, management and their star driver Henry Fournier … history would repeat itself.
Joining George Richard the company’s name was changed to Richard-Brasier and initially the partnership seemed to work well but illness forced George Richard to temporarily leave full powers to Brasier who developed plans for two new large cars, a 24 hp and 40 hp. Brasier also commits the company to field an entry for the 1904 Gordon Bennett Cup. To the despair of Georges Richard, whose frequent visits to the hospital did not allow him to challenge the direction that Brasier had set for the company which was away from the small dependable cars of Richard to larger expensive models such has those he championed at Mors.
Léon Théry on a four-cylinder 80 HP Richard-Brasier, finished first, ahead of Camille Jenatzy in a Mercedes and Henri Rougier in a Turcat-Méry at the Gordon Bennett Cup race.. In 1905 Léon Théry repeats his performance this time beating the Fiats Felice Nazzaro and Alessandro Cagno. On their return to France, Leon Thery and Charles-Henri Brasier are celebrated as heroes in the streets of the capital, before being received with great ceremony at the Elysee Palace by President of the Republic, Emile Loubet.
Using his success Brasier gave notice to Richard terminating the agreement between them, while purporting to retain both the factory at Ivry-Port and the “four-leaf clover” trade mark which Richard had recently registered for the business. There followed a bitter litigation battle between the partners which ended in Richard’s favor. Georges Richard went on to establish the Société anonyme des Automobiles “UNIC”, based at Puteaux. Not satisfied, Brasier wanting to capitalize on his recent race success and sought to double the price of his cars only to see the number of sales take a sharp drop. Eventually he was forced by his backers, a Swiss financial group, to limit his authority and to revise down the price of cars.
Shocked by the premature death of his son and the concessions he was forced to accept, Charles-Henri Brasier took refuge in hard work. Quickly rewarded with a sales curve that starts to climb sharply. In 1909 he produces a four-cylinder 11 HP car which coupled with victories at the 1908-09 Mount Ventoux hill climbs returned some glory to the brand which were now known simply as Brasier.