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Gnome et Rhône was a major French aircraft engine manufacturer . Between 1914 and 1918 they produced 25,000 of their 9- cylinder Delta and Le Rhône 110 hp (81 kW) rotary designs, while another 75,000 were produced by various licensees. These engines powered the majority of aircraft in the first half of the war , both Allied designs as well as German examples produced by Motorenfabrik Oberursel.

In the post- war era they started a new design series originally based on the Bristol Jupiter , but evolving into the excellent 1,000 hp-class (750 kW) Gnome -Rhône 14K Mistral Major radial, which was likewise licensed and used around the world during World War II. They were a major supplier of engines to the German Luftwaffe, producing both their own designs as well as German ones under licence. Their factories were the target of highly accurate bombing, knocking them out of the war .

The company was nationalized as a part of Snecma in 1949, but the brand lived on for a time as the manufacturer of Gnome et Rhône motorcycles and Gnome et Rhône bicycles .

In 1895 the 26- year - old French engineer Louis Seguin bought a license for the Gnom gas engine from the German firm Motorenfabrik Oberursel. Sold under the French translation , the Gnome was a single- cylinder stationary engine of about 4 hp (3 kW) that ran on kerosene (known in the UK and South Africa as paraffin) intended to be used in industrial applications. The Gnome used a unique valve system with only one rod-operated exhaust valve , and a "hidden" intake valve located on the cylinder head .

On 6 June 1905 Louis Seguin and his brother Laurent formed the Société Des Moteurs Gnome (the Gnome Motor Company ) to produce automobile engines.