Nice story on the Caminargent. Can you give us references where you read the story? I assume it's not original research.
The Caminargents don't seem quite so rare that breaking one would wipe out the brand. Especially women's bikes seem to have survived. I don't want to infer that women don't ride as hard - but perhaps more women who don't enjoy riding are given bikes by male companions in the hopes they'll join the sport? Funny that most of these "high tech" makers also offered women's frames.
Regarding Barra - Raymond Henry presented a paper on this builder at the last (2002) Cycling History Conference. I believe the proceedings have been published by Vanderplas, so the Barra piece should be in there.
Also, the next issue of Vintage Bicycle Quarterly (out in a couple of weeks) will have a reprint (and translation) of an article from 1936, featuring a 7.96 kg (17.5 lbs) 1936 steel Barra cyclotouring bike. The weight does not only include fenders, lights and rack, but even the pump! The article spells out the weight of each component...
Finally, the history of the French lightweight fanaticism will be discussed in detail (together with the history of the technical trials which brought all this about) in issue 4 of VBQ. You'll see details like headsets with exposed bearings, pedals with exposed spindles and more.
Sorry for the late reply - sick child kept me busy.
Jan Heine, Seattle
For information on Vintage Bicycle Quarterly, check out http://www.mindspring.com/~heine/bikesite/bikesite/index.html