Where are the archives?


1950-1955 : The prototypes
The choice of the site
EDF or BEST photographs
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 measuring station
Tilting the wind turbine
1959: Record of production
Disassembling the generator
Some figures
1966: the scraping
What is left of the wind turbine?
Great power wind turbines
Where are the archives?
Lucien Romani
L. Romani & l'O.N.E.R.A.
Rauline Report and the N.A.S.A.
French wind links
Legal notice
Site map
Who am I?

Pierre Jean Cavey did not keep any of the working documents produced during his activity at BEST. The recordings and observations were all sent to the Paris offices on rue Leonidas for analysis by EDF and BEST engineers. No one knows what happened to the logbooks that my father kept on a daily basis, as the captain of a ship, and where he noted the slightest event. The only information he had been on this website. They are, for the most part, photographs and handwritten notes written partly from memory for conferences given by Pierre Jean Cavey at the request of friends and relations well after the Nogent-le-Roi experience.

According to a reliable but uncross-checked source, the archives of the EDF Research Department concerning this experiment have been destroyed. If this is the case, it is very regrettable because France had acquired at the end of the fourth republic and the beginning of the fifth a real technical advance in the production of electrical energy from wind power thanks to high power wind turbines. However, visitors to this site have pointed out some avenues to explore when I have a little time:

  • Mr Jean-Pierre Granier told me that there are EDF archives in Blois,
  • Mr Pierre Gauthier, who worked at the Eiffel wind tunnel, thinks that there are archives to be consulted even if it is unlikely that they relate to the Nogent-le-Roi wind turbine,
  • An anonymous visitor invites me to consult the EDF photo library at 50 and 54 rue de Silly 92513 Boulogne Billancourt Cedex.

This work was all the more remarkable because it preceded at least twenty years of the ideas that became fashionable in the 1980s.

The O.N.E.R.A. and its wind tunnel of Chalais-Meudon have also archives of that wind turbine. Marc Rapin and Jean-Marc Noël have reproduced part of it in their book « Energie éolienne Principes - Etudes de cas » published by Dunod in 2010 (ISBN: 978-2-10-050801-3). Pages 22 to 31 are dedicated to the Nogent-le-Roi wind turbine and the reader will find information not reproduced here.

Philippe Bruyerre, an Arts et Métiers engineer, has worked for a long time in companies in the wind energy sector. He retired in 2007 and defended a doctoral thesis in social sciences at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales entitled « Dynamiques d'innovation technique et d'intégration socio-economique. Le cas de l'éolienne en Allemagne, au Danemark et en France ». This work led him to collect unpublished testimonies and documents on the Nogent-le-Roi windmill. The result is a remarkable book « La puissance du vent. Des moulins à Vent aux éoliennes modernes »published by Histoire et techniques at Presses Universitaires du Midi in 2020 (ISBN: 978-2-8107-0675-4).

The Bureau d'Etudes Scientifiques et Techniques (BEST) was liquidated in 1966, but we do not know what happened to its archives. Lucien Romani and his brother Gaston are deceased. Lucien and Andrée Romani had a daughter (Lucienne) - perhaps two1. It is possible that she (they) has (have) recovered some of these precious documents.

However, according to the Association pour la Création et la Diffusion Scientifique, there is a "Fond Romani" at the Meudon Observatory (1-metre telescope building, Audouin Dollfus Laboratory).

Moreover, after the liquidation of BEST, Lucien Romani was Technical Director at the Eiffel Wind Tunnel until the 1980s. It is possible that personal archives can be found there unless they were repatriated to the Observatory where he also worked (« Physique du Système Solaire » Laboratory).

It is also likely that former employees of EDF or BEST kept documents or photographs and passed them on to their descendants. Among these, it would be interesting to be able to access the archives of my Father's successor, Marc Leguillette (who died in 1992) that his daughter Catherine or his granddaughter Pauline may still have.

The local press published photographs. It would be surprising if the photographers only took the published photos. It would be useful to explore the photographic archives of « La Republique du Centre » and « L'Echo Républicain ».

The 1:20 scale model of the wind turbine was tested for almost a year in the wind tunnel of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et d'Aérotechnique of Poitiers. These tests were conducted by Professor Raymond Goethals. It is likely that the results of these tests will have been archived on site.

Etienne Rogier and the Agence Méditerranéenne de l'Environnement published some very interesting information in their « Cahiers d'Eole » number two (this document is no longer available as the AME website no longer exists).

Any information that would help to fill in the gaps in this site or to rectify some of them will be welcome. Contact can be made by writing to me (see Who Am I page).

The paucity of archives alone justifies the publication of this site so that the adventure of Nogent-le-Roi does not sink into oblivion before all its actors have disappeared.

1- Note: on Gaston Romani's death announcement (in my possession) it is noted "Mr and Mrs Romani-Versteeg and Mr and Mrs André Charpentier [...] his nephews and nieces".

Last update : Nov-19-2021 14:12:17 CET

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