Thursday, November 16, 2017

Frameteller - My New Favorite Website

The Milanese and Venetian schools of classic builders are fairly well known. You have Gloria, who begat Galmozzi and Masi and Colnago who begat Rossin and on and on. Venetian brands are fairly well known as well, even if their lineage is a bit murkier. A visit to Turin and my eyes were opened to that incredibly talented school, which is known locally but not as well worldwide, what with folks like Ernesto and Ugo hogging the limelight still to this day.

After my visit to Emilia Romagna's Somec, a favorite brand from my teenage years, my eyes were opened to yet another innovative classic Italian school of builders. I recently found, where regional pride has led to an incredible archive of this region's highly innovative and influential builders. Here, Manuel Dall’Olio has curated stories, innovations, publications and more, all with a narrow focus on the output from Emilia Romagna.

Known to serious collectors, but still fairly hidden from the "easy" collectors, names like Marastoni, Somec and Rauler rise to the top fairly quickly; however, the important contributions of Vicini and Dosi (two builders of Marco Pantani's early bikes) lead down the rabbit hole until you find a Paletti, an Ortelli and all of a sudden you're reading a long complete history of Neri e Renzo and then you find your saved eBay searches has doubled!

It is thanks to this site that I now know the creator of the greatest 90's paint jobs... Mario Martini. The amazing stars, neon argyles and fades created by Martini graced the bikes from this region and I now know the story behind it thanks to frameteller.

The list of innovations and patents to come from this region is in itself worth a visit. Too long to list here, but incredibly important are such items as internal cables, brazed on bottle mounts, shaped steel tubing, and even rollers for training!

One common thread from E-R to Milan to Turin to the Veneto is that the artisan construct remains: local "houses" doing business to finish a hand made work of art, with little regard to systemization beyond the idea that you've worked with this chroming house or frame painter for years. It's something worthy of many business theses and a way of doing business that still exists in il bel paese. But this is also lost to many new world collectors who can't wrap their heads around the idea that the hard rules of production are thrown out the window when working in this manner. Yes, this builder used this certain lugset for this period - until he ran out, lost interest, found something new or whatever... but then eight years later found the last box of them and used them again. These are the mysteries that are best appreciated by accepting and understanding the artisan environment.

A tip of the hat to Manuel, who has researched and listed 340 historic brands to emerge from this region since the 1920's. His completeness and dedication to the project sets the standard for the archiving of and lifting the covers off of a very narrow but important focus.

To translate the site into english, you can start at the Patelli link here and navigate around. Note that some of the flash pages won't translate in this manner, but most articles will. Also, be sure to enjoy the awesome photos and publication archive.

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