French Patent # 1,049,881 - Huret

French Patent 1,049,881 - Huret main image

This January 1952 patent describes the Huret Spécial Lousion Bobet. Huret took the, very satisfactory, Huret Compétition and 'improved' it by adding a second cable that controlled the chain tension. This allowed the rider to reduce the chain tension while changing gear.

This issue of chain tension while changing gear was a 1950s obsession. It was not just Huret: Super Champion, Simplex and the Cyclo Gear Company also had models at one time or another with this feature. (As an aside there is even a 1972 Czech patent showing this feature added to a Favorit Special parallelogram derailleur). I have briefly ridden a number of bikes with chain tension controls on their derailleurs and have never found it to improve the gear change at all - perhaps I am missing something.

Despite my reservations, Huret were clearly very pleased with themselves, naming the derailleur described in this patent for Louison Bobet who won the Tour de France using Huret gears.