Documents - an introduction

US Patent 3,364,762 - SunTour Gran-Prix main image

You cannot collect derailleurs without accidentally collecting a certain number of instruction sheets, catalogues and nefarious other documents. These are strangely fascinating - like letters in a bottle that have been adrift in a sea of garbage in people’s garages for many a decade.

I also have a quiet enthusiasm for patent documentation, partly because of the clear and verifiable dates, partly because it credits the (often unheralded) individual designers involved, partly because of the spooky engineer-speak, but largely because of the natty engineering drawings. In an echo of Daniel Rebour, these drawings provide a visual history of the derailleur in a pleasingly consistent and formal style.

Where a patent is registered in many countries, I tend to favour a version registered in an English speaking country - if only because I can understand it myself. This is not cool, but will have to do until Esperanto finally sweeps the world.

I am very gradually adding a selection of documents to this site.

You can browse the document collection in four different ways:

  • By individual documents. This is a huge unwieldy list sorted by publisher - but it gives you the big picture.
  • By publishers. Look at each publisher in turn, some are brands, some are wholesalers, some are magazines and some are god-knows-what.
  • By countries. Fancy a Ukrainian instruction manual? I am sure there is one somewhere...
  • By decades. Going all the way back to the 1930’s.

In addition to the document collection the site has three further sections:

  • The core collection of gears. Rear derailleurs from around the world and across the decades in all their rusty glory.
  • A collection of spurious trivia loosely related to derailleurs. If, for example, you are hungry to explore the derailleur’s place in contemporary music, film, literature or fashion then this is the section for you.
  • A list of links that I have found entertaining and often useful.

As a handy guide, each of these sections of the site has its own colour scheme, and its own navigation menus - how technologically advanced is that?

You can use the arrows like this to move to the page that I deem to be logically next (or previous).

Finally no website is complete without a 'social media strategy' - and this one is no exception. You can find a link to my Facebook group in the footer of each page. This is what Facebook calls a 'closed' group - to avoid the evil that is spam-bots you have to ask to join it - but I am unlikely to refuse membership to anyone human. This group is growing, and is becoming a useful forum for discussing all things derailleur.

I hope you will find some of this stuff useful.