On the first page of one of his binders, carefully placed on the large garage table, René lists in a homemade table the Salmson advertising posters he owns. All are classified by date and publication and by country.
“There is always something missing. We do not know everything that has been produced. With that, I can see where I am. “
There are hundreds of posters. But the septuagenarian does not let himself be overwhelmed by the quantity. Organization is the watchword of its collection. In its six filing cabinets, the Chartrain archives its small advertisements neatly, in a plastic sleeve. The state of conservation is irreproachable. For some, they date from the beginning of the 20th century.
This inhabitant of the agglomeration of Chartres collects bistro objects
La passion Salmson
She speaks little, but the Salmson company, created in the early 1900s and located in Boulogne-Billancourt, was one of the largest French aeronautical and automobile manufacturers. Its production has diversified over time. When it was founded, Salmson produced locomobiles, gasifiers, large diesel engines and even woodworking machines.
From 1910, aircraft engines were produced. The first Salmson planes appear during the First World War. Finally, in 1920, cars made their appearance. 30,000 cars will be produced in thirty years. Cyclecars even take part in large-scale races and emerge victorious. The winners range from the 24 Hours of Le Mans, from 1923 to 1928, to the Grand Prix de Rome, in 1932.
It is from the 1920s that the first Salmson cars will see the light of day.
The green Salmson cyclecar, preserved and pampered in the garage of the Chartres collector, immediately sets the mood. A great car enthusiast, René has been interested in the short life of the Salmson company since 1990. “They haven’t been able to take the turn, like Citroën or Renault. And the cars were too expensive. The equivalent of a Citroën, at Salmson, it was twice as expensive. While Salmson has had very low success, posters are in demand around the world.
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René Fouquereau owns European advertisements. French, of course, but also Belgian, German, English, Swiss, Italian and Portuguese paper. “But I don’t have any Spanish ads yet”. A gap that he will surely fill thanks to the Amicale Salmson. Among the members, three are domiciled in the Chartres agglomeration and six come from the region. 300 members join across borders, namely Malta, the United States and even Japan. Thanks to the association and his paper merchant friends, René has assembled a very varied collection. Among his finds, a 1933 registration document for a Salmson car owned by… Chartrain.
Second love: aeronautics
Salmson was also a pioneer in aircraft engines. Very easy, therefore, to establish the link with René’s second collection. Since the age of 16, he has been practicing model making, a passion that has lasted throughout his professional life. “I ended my career as head of the Air and Space Museum,” he explains. This passion, he took him to the other side of the world. Between 1972 and 1990, within the French team, he participated in several world championships in aircraft reproduction. They finished in 5th place twice. A result that satisfies the Chartrain, “after all the hours of work and investment spent in the workshop”.
René Fouquereau continues today to maintain his love for aeronautics. It has more than 300 reduced engines for aerobatic planes. Just like the Salmson posters, they are cleaned with the utmost care, using a heat gun. His greatest wish ?? Display his collection of engines at home to create a small personal museum. “But it takes up a lot of space, despite their small size. “
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The future of Salmson
Émile Salmson founded the eponymous company in the early 1900s. After his rise during World War I, Salmson began producing cars in the 1920s. Lack of innovation and competition destabilized the manufacturer. Today, Salmson produces hydraulic pumps.