DISRAELI GEARS

Charvin

Charvin Le Lautaret 1 derailleur main image Charvin GRIS-GRIS Course derailleur main image Charvin Le Lautaret 2 derailleur main image

Établissements F. Charvin was owned by Francis Charvin and was based in St-Étienne.

Francis Charvin held a number of derailleur patents dating from the 1930s and 1940s and developed a range of derailleur designs. Unfortunately he also contracted the French disease, rampant at the time, of naming his derailleurs in an extremely random and confusing way. His story might go like this:

  • In 1930 (see French patent # 694,417) he developed a twin pulley derailleur called ‘Le Lautaret’ (named after a pass in the Alps that has been on the route of the Tour de France on 40 occasions). According to Frank Berto, he then modified this design by adding flanged pulleys and renamed it the GRI-GRI Route. Frank Berto goes on to suggest that, at some point this derailleur was re-renamed ‘Le Lautaret’. I believe that this derailleur was shown at ‘La cinquième semaine du cycle de Saint-Étienne’ in November 1931.
  • In 1935 he patented an interesting fork type derailleur with a built in tension arm (see French patent # 799,054). This was known as the GRI-GRI Course. Frank Berto suggests that this was produced in 1936.
  • In 1937 he patented a pure fork type derailleur with a separate tension arm (see French patent # 822,652). I do not know if this made it into production.
  • In 1942 he patented a twin pulley long arm derailleur which was called ‘Le Lautaret’ (see French patent # 889,673). This was a simple but rather effective looking design with radically off-set pulley wheels - and it definitely made it into production, as I have seen a number of examples.

Wikipedia tells us that a Gris-Gris or grigri is a voodoo amulet from Africa that is believed to protect the wearer from evil. Gris-gris is also, of course, the name of the 1968 debut album by Dr John, although it is not recorded whether the bespectacled physician was thinking of the amulet or the derailleur when he christened it... kon kon, the kiddy kon kon, walk on guilded splinters...


see also French Patent # 694,417 1930

see also French Patent # 694,417 1930

French Patent 694,417 - Charvin Le Lautaret thumbnail


see also French Patent # 716,698 1931

see also French Patent # 716,698 1931

French Patent 716,698 - Charvin Le Lautaret thumbnail



see also French Patent # 799,054 1935

see also French Patent # 799,054 1935

French Patent 799,054 - Charvin GRI-GRI Course thumbnail


see also French Patent # 822,652 1937

see also French Patent # 822,652 1937

French Patent 822,652 - Charvin thumbnail


see also French Patent # 889,673 1942

see also French Patent # 889,673 1942

French Patent 889,673 - Charvin Le Lautaret thumbnail
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