Some thoughts on Celeste taken off the web via dejanews.
Chuck Schmidt SoPas, SoCal
Subject: Re: Bianchi Celeste paint recipes
From: email@example.com (Richard Kaufman)
Date: Sat, 7 Feb, 1998 8:30 PM EDT
> jeb <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> I think the point that Jobst was trying to make was that the version of Celeste
> has changed in recent years. No one is going to think it's not a Bianchi either
> way, but it is different. I seem to remember the recent color being called
> "Nuovo Celeste" in company literature. I believe the difference to be in that
> the newer stuff has a bit of blueish type hue mixed in, whereas the older stuff
> ( to me ) is more "flat" mint green. Perhaps it has been constantly evolving
> over the years.
Certainly the color has changed over the years, and even from batch to batch. In the late sixties, when my father, as a visiting American paint chemist, visited the factory, he discovered the reason why, and I am passing the the reason on to the newsgroup.
Like so many things in an Italian bicycle factory, much of the work is done by hand, mechanized techniques are perceived as lacking warmth. Mixing the paint is no exception. For many years the job of mixing the celeste paint from raw pigments fell to one one elderly gentleman who had been responsible for the task since well before the Second World War. They complained to my father that despite following the recipe, as written in the notebook of the founding master himself, the paint was not coming out the same color. My father watched them mix a batch. The pigments were miced in precisely the quantities called for. The sources and requisite purity were all correct. The added the pigments to the paint, and the old man began to stir the batch with a short stick, perhaps four inches long. It was obvious to my father that the heavier pigments were sinking to the bottom of the drum, and not contributing to the colro of the paint.
"Perhaps you shoulld use a longer stirring stick?", my father suggested. The managers conferred with the old worker, the shop stewart, and several other workers on the floor. My father, who spoke no Italian, could only wonder what they were saying. After several minutes, it was explained to him: "The old man says, that when he started as an apprentice in the factory, many years ago, the stick was much longer."
After much discussion, the stick was replaced with a longer model, and the color changed to what we know as "Nuovo Celeste",( more likely really "Old Celeste") as they called the paint make with the new stick. Perhaps what has happened is they replaced the stick again. As far as my father knows, they never replaced the mixing drum, and who knows what combination of pigments is being stirred up by the new broom handle they are using.
Richard (a Bianchi owner)
Subject: Re: Bianchi Celeste...the real story From: Chuck Schmidt <email@example.com> Date: Mon, 4 May, 1998 8:03 AM EDT Message-id: <34DBAE99.4EC4@wavenet.com>
Selim Ataz wrote:
> Celeste is still Celeste;
> The most identifiable mark of Bianchi, the unique color called " Celeste",
> immediately signifies a Bianchi bicycle to the cycling tifosi. Many stories
> told about the origin of this color, but the most widely held is that
> Edoardo Bianchi wanted a color for his bicycles that was easily spotted in
> the cycling peleton. Earlier versions of the color were more blue and were
> said to resemble the color of the Milan sky. PMS #333
> Selim Ataz
> Bianchi Bisiklet / Turkey
Here's the story I heard...
In 1893 Edoardo Bianchi taught Queen Margherita the art of cycling. Lessons were given in the park of the Royal Villa at Monza using a special Bianchi model featuring a crystal chainguard. In 1895 King Umberto I appointed Bianchi "Official Suppliers by Appointment to the Royal Court", entitling Bianchi to use the Coat of Arms of the Royal House of Sayoy on the Bianchi headbadge. The color Celeste was not the color of the sky above Milano as commonly thought, but in reality, the color of Queen Margherita's undergarments! I have this on good authority from a very close personal friend who happens to know the house keeper of an administrative official very high up at the Bianchi Reparto Corsa headquarters in Treviglio. I know, I know..."celeste" translates to "sky blue" but...who knows...
Chuck of Velo-Retro