[CR] CPM wheel builder

(Example: Framebuilding:Paint)

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2011 09:58:38 -0500
From: "Michael Shiffer" <dennisflange@gmail.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR] CPM wheel builder

Wow, Dale! This really takes me back! http://www.flickr.com/photos/oroboyz/5385908276/in/set-72157625774482931/

In 1972, I dropped out of high school to work at Charlie's Bike Shop in Eastchester, NY. The owner, a brilliant, bitter 5' 3" Armenian named Hagop, hated retailing and decided to build wheels along with running the shop. He planned to become a wheelbuilder full time. While I was working for him, he acquired the two machines in your photo. The machines were French: expensive, implacable, and endlessly frustrating. A typical day for us in 1973 saw him tinkering with and cursing at those machines while I sat on a stool and laced five wheels for every one he could coax from those tempermental twins. Being French, they gave the robotic equivalent of the Gallic shrug whenever he tried yet another adjustment in a fruitless attempt to improve speed & accuracy. The noise they made as they went through their routine was used, I swear, by Jacques Tati in his film, "Mon Oncle" for the factory scene where the tubing extruder starts making sausages.

Thanks so much for posting those shots!


Michael Shiffer
EuroMeccanica, Inc.
114 Pearl Street
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
(914) 668-1300