1950-1955 : the prototypes


1950-1955 : The prototypes
The choice of the site
Access to the site
Establishment of the site
The team
Design features
The wind turbine commented
Sights on the wind turbine
Close-ups on the wind turbine
The research station
The tilting of the wind turbine
1959: Record of production
Disassembling the generator
Some figures
1966: the scraping
Remains of the wind turbine
Great power wind turbines
Where are the archives?
Lucien Romani
L. Romani & l'O.N.E.R.A.
The wind turbine & N.A.S.A.
French wind links
Legal notice
Site map
Who am I?

As of the end of the Forties, Lucien Romani approached the Institut Aerotechnique (IAT) at Saint-Cyr l'Ecole (Yvelines) where my father worked (aerial view of the site now).

General view of the Institut AéroTechnique at Saint-Cyr l'Ecole circa 1910.

Aerial view of the IAT between the two world wars.

This small research station on wind energy had two objects:

  • Testing wind turbines.
  • To develop ways to measure the performance of the future wind turbine Nogent-le-Roi which involved research on the structure of the moving air.

Several types of small wind turbines were tested there on metal pylons. The last sample was the BEST-Romani 10 KVA aerogenerator.

Not only wind turbine were tested there :

  • The CDC - Ailleret anemometer standed on the top highest of the three pylons attesting the interest that the Polytechnician Pierre Ailleret had to the study of the wind power a long time before being the Manager of the Direction des Etudes et Recherches of Electricité de France (there is a room Pierre Ailleret at EDF R&D in Clamart).
  • The Romani anemometer whose sensor was a striated vertival cylinder mechanically linked to a scale equipped with strain gauges inserted in an electrical circuit of the "Wheatstone bridge" type.
  • Cheap cups anemometers to count the number of revolutions of the butterfly system. These anemometers were distributed to volunteers complacent: teachers, town clerks, etc ... who agreed to devote part of their time to conduct the surveys (most were already equipped with mini-weather stations and tranmettaient their measures to the National Meteorological Office at Trappes).

The research station was also used in the development of gauges coupled with recorders using the Poggendorff method (mesurement by opposition).

These devices required controls, developements or calibration within the precincts of the research station itself or in the wind tunnel of the close Institut Aerotechnique.

On January first, 1955 my father was recruited by the BEST and his first missions were to monitor this aerogenerator and the measuring instruments the activity of which he had to record daily.

Models derived from the experimental aerogenerator BEST-Romani (10 KVA) were produced by the Aerowatt company and equipped the Service des Phares et Balises as well as the weather stations of Paul-Emile Victor in Terre-Adélie. There is a doubt about the links between the BEST and Aerowatt. According to Andre Argan, Head of the Division Energie du Vent at the Direction des Etudes et Recherches of EDF, Aerowatt would have been a subsidiary company of the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique and the BEST would have had a participation there. This assertion however could not be crosschecked. The facts are that, when a wind turbine from Aerowatt had technical problems, that was often the engineers and technicians of the BEST which intervened (lighthouse of Sept Iles off Ploumanac' h, in particular).

The Aerowatt company was purchased by the Société Vergnet SA from Marc Vergnet who still manufactures and markets wind turbines under this trade-mark.


General view of the station and its three pylons.
On right-hand side a building of the Institut Aérotechnique of Saint-Cyr.
In front of the aerogenerator (pylon in the middle), two small buildings of which one hosted the room for the research works of the BEST.
He lived with his parents. Housing was destroyed during an Allied bombing raid in the summer of 1944 no casualties, my family having to shelter from the start of the alert. Also visible in the center, the vegetable garden and fruit trees planted by Pierre Jean Cavey just after the war. My father also raised hives on his own behalf and that of a doctor in Saint-Cyr: Dr. Robert Mouton made ​​me be born.


In the foreground the dome of the horse-gear for tests of the Institut Aérotechnique of Saint-Cyr.
On left is a pylon for anemometer measurements of the BEST. One distinguishes on the middle post (at the top) an Ailleret anemometer.
In the background, the experimental 10 KVA aerogenerator.


The 10 KVA aerogenerator viewed closer.
The man who is held just behind the pivot gives an idea of the size of this wind turbine.
The photograph has been taken from the highest pylon, (at middle height).


View of the aerogenerator taken from the top of the pylon for anemometric measurements. The employee is on the side of the machine.
Lower down one notices the workers gardens.
Pictures taken at the beginning of the year 1956.

The Anemometer Compagnie Des Compteurs - Ailleret.
Its characteristic is to measure theoretical wind power per square meter (gauge of wind power).
Its inventor was director of the Direction des Etudes et Recherches of EDF. Its role in the realization of the wind turbine at Nogent-le-Roi will be determining
CIAMO aerogenerator of the lighthouse of the Sept Iles. Diameter 5,73 meters. Nominal nominal output: 5 KW.
Gauge for real measurement of the wind power conceived by the Aerowatt company.
CIAMO (Compagnie Industrielle des AroMOteurs) wind turbine at the Station Charcot (Terre Adélie) feeding a weather station of Expéditions Polaires Françaises
Photo taken during the International Geophysique Year (July 1957 - December 1958). .
(Click on the pictures to see them at their actual size).

Last update: Mar-01-2019 13:35:57 CET
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