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parts were developed by constructeur Louis Villemus from
the Rhône-Alpes area, the marque being a pun on his first
name. These components were around from the mid 1930s to
the late 1940s. Villemus was an old timer competing with
youngsters like Herse and Singer in the Concourses of the
1940s. One of his machines won the Grand Prix Duralumin
category "serie" in 1946. "Lewis" then joined company
with the mighty Etienne Bernadet, who inspired a
generation of builders through the Reyhand bikes he
co-developed and rode to victory in 3 consecutive Grand
Prix in the 1930s. Although he's largely forgotten,
Villemus seems to have had some influence."
"There had been earlier models, but the Lewis cantilever
brakes appear to have been the blueprint for the slightly
later and near identical Mafacs. You're somehow right
about the Lewis direct centerpull brakes being "paleolithic",
in the sense that they look to have been the first of
their kind. I believe it's safe to say there would have
been no Mafac Racers and Raids without the work of Louis
'Lewis' Villemus, nor the current Compass models that
prove the lasting relevance of this type of brake."
Robert van Driel on the Classic Rendezvous Google group
More to come...
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