Also a company that makes carburetors (and possibly other auto parts). Solex carburetors are very popular in Type I Volkswagen engines.

Short version :

Solex is a french firm which is mostly known for having manufactured the Velosolex, a moped with the power transmission on the front wheel.

Long version :

Solex was founded in the beginning of the 20th century (1909) by two french engineers, Maurice Goudard and Marcel Mennesson. The firm was at first called Goudard and Mennesson. They first developped radiators for buses, then carburetors and changed the name for a simpler one: Solex. They also designed a mesuring device (pneumatic micrometer) which had a great precision for that date. They designed carburetors for cars, trucks, tractors and aircrafts and their products can still be found in a lot of not-so-old european cars.
But Solex is mostly known (at least in Europe) for one of its products: the Velosolex. This is roughly a bicycle with a small engine on its front wheel. The engine is a 2 stroke 50cm^3 internal combustion engine developping approxmately 1,5 HP. The top speed is limited by design at 35 km/h. The engine does not burn a lot of fuel : with a full tank (1,5 litres) you can make up to 100 km. The power transmission does not use a chain like the other mopeds: on the crankshaft, there is a small wheel, turning at 3800 or 5000 RPM (depending on the model), touching the front tyre, which makes the front wheel turn and thus moves the moped forward. As all the power is transmitted through the friction between the small turning wheel and the tyre, it's not very efficent on a wet or snowy floor...
The first prototype was built in 1941 and it has been manufactured until the 7th of november 1988, for a total of more than 5 millions machines produced. The machines used for its production have recently been bought by a hungarian firm, and new "Velosolexes" can now be bought under the name of "Cyclone".
The Velosolex is also part of the cliché that a lot of people (French included) have on France.
To sum up, the Velosolex is slow, weird, mechanically simple, robust, sometimes inefficent and that why i just love it !

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