The fabulous destiny of Leon Cibie.
With a passion for engineering and electricity, Leon Cibie joined a small electrical installation company as an apprentice. At that time, mains electricity was still a luxury and the lucky few able to afford it called on specialists for its installation.
He happily became a technician and was highly enthusiastic about all new technologies, particularly those in electrical applications in the aviation and automobile industries. At the beginning of the First World War, he was asked to develop and manufacture lighting systems for night-flying aircraft. He then broke new ground by inventing the world's first mobile lighting system, in which the generator was controlled by a voltage regulator and was used to light-takeoff and landing strips.
The Cibie company was founded in 1919. At that time, the major industrialized countries, and especially France, were developing their automobile industries. Most manufacturers still produced retail parts for garage owners. Cibie nevertheless accepted the challenge and Renault was its customer for over 20 years.
Pierre Cibie was born in 1908. After graduating from Ecole Polytechnique, he became the company's lighting specialist and presented his first lecture in 1929 to the Academy of Sciences. He provided the family business with his technical expertise and knowledge of the law regarding lighting. He was also responsible for developing the European code. He was also an aviation enthusiast and held a pilots license, even winning the Le Touquet aircraft rally when he was 18 years old.
At the end of the Second World War, the Cibie factory was located in Rue Haxo, in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. At this time, the public was still unaware of the Cibie brand. Following the liberation of France, and the death of Louis Renault, the company was nationalized.
The Renault 4CV entered production and Cibie was then appointed Renault's sole supplier of production headlamps for all vehicles (for both the Renault 4 and the Juva 4). The factory in Rue Haxo was now too small to keep up with the massive growth in Renault production and it was transferred to Bobigny, where it covers nearly 12,000 m2. In addition to Renault, Cibie's customers now include Peugeot and Simca as well as many others.
As well as producing headlamps, the company also specialises in producing fog lamps. The first halogen headlamp, which used quartz halogen, dates back to 1966. It was then that Marie Claire Merenda, the daughter of Pierre Cibie, joined the family business and took charge of the communication department. Cibie then became a partner of the leading rally teams in the Cevennes Rally, Monte Carlo Rally, etc.