French Patent # 2,140,959 - Simplex

French Patent 2,140,959 - Simplex main image

Some months ago some dyspeptic student locked a bike to a street sign near my flat. It was some kind of mid-to-low-end, early 1980s, French, 10-speed that had been painted with house paint - although you could see the original paint here and there - in a fetching 'champagne lustre'.

Gradually, as time has passed, the bike has dissolved, first the wheels went, then the saddle and seatpin (good luck with an early 1980s French seatpin - it's probably some weird size like 25.2mm), then bits of the brakes and transmission, and on and on. Now there is virtually nothing left - only the main frame, the headset, the bottom bracket, the, very bent, front forks, the rear mudguard (why take only the front?) and, at the base of the downtube, the object that is the subject of this patent - a distinctive black plastic Simplex cable guide.

These cable guides were an astoundingly common and familiar part of the bike world in the 1980s. As such I find this patent kind-of comforting. I am just surprised that it dates from as early as 1971 - I would have guessed a decade later.