A history of Campagnolo from 1901 to 1987.
August 26th, Gentullio (Tullio) Campagnolo is born to Valentino Campagnolo and Elisa Paiusco in Vicenza.
Tullio Campagnolo begins his amateur racing career (with Veloce Club Vicenza on a Cicli Aliprandi) that lasts until 1930.
November 11th, Tullio Campagnolo's frozen hands can't loosen the wingnuts of his wheel to flip it over to a different sprocket during the Gran Premio della Vittoria race across snowy Croce d'Aune Pass (he finishes fourth). "Bisogna cambià qualcossa de drio."... "Something needs to be changed in the rear." He vows to invent a product that will eliminate this problem: the creation of galletti automatici... automated wingnuts or, as we now know it, the quick release.
February 8th, the quick release hub is patented, the first of more than 135 patents for Tullio Campagnolo.
After fabricating parts in the backroom of his father's hardware store, Tullio starts Campagnolo, S.r.l. with the production of the quick release hub. The sliding hub, dual seatstay rod operated, back pedal derailleur (cambio prototype) is patented on May 4th and introduced in August. The pieces of the prototype derailleur are all handmade requiring a massive investment of time and labor. Fratelli Brivio of Brescia (F.B.) becomes the subcontractor for the parts. Later, the official corporate name becomes Campagnolo Brevetti Internazionali SpA (translation: Campagnolo International Patents Incorporated).
Cambio a bacchetta (translation: rod changer) or Cambio "CAMPAGNOLO" is the name used for sliding hub, dual seatstay rod operated, back pedal derailleur. The first advertisement for the Cambio "CAMPAGNOLO" appears in Gazzetta dello Sport.
Tullio Campagnolo hires his first fulltime employee, Enrico Piccolo.
A single page flyer is printed.
The first official Campagnolo logo: the winged wheel highlighting the quick release, a component that remains today the universal standard.
The Cambio Corsa (translation: race changer) is the new name for sliding hub, dual seatstay rod operated, back pedal derailleur; later referred to in Italian as the due leve (translation: two lever) when the una leve (translation: single lever) race changer is introduced in 1949. Two versions of the Cambio Corsa derailleur are available: the short lever Corsa and the long lever Sport. The quick release nut is the original rounded screw head version. On January 12, the Campagnolo winged wheel with quick release logo with the words "Cambio Campagnolo" is registered.
The beginning of the export of parts.
Campagnolo's first foreign plant (assembling and finishing) is built in Cognin, France; the quick release lever is stamped "Brevet France.". The company logo, the winged wheel, is modified with the dropping of "cambio" (translation: changer) and redesigning the wing and quick-release.
Gino Bartali wins the 1948 Tour de France in July using a Cambio Corsa derailleur.
The Tipo Paris-Roubaix sliding hub, single seatstay rod operated, back pedal derailleur is introduced; originally referred to in Italian as the "una leva" (translation: single lever) until renamed in honor of Coppi's April 1950 Paris-Roubaix victory. The quick release nut is now the oval-ring version. The Gran Sport twin cable, parallelogram rear derailleur prototype is shown at the Milan Show in the Fall; it is believed that ten prototypes were made.
Campagnolo employs 123 workers. The Gran Sport single cable, parallelogram rear derailleur prototype is shown at the Fall trade shows.
Fausto Coppi wins Paris-Roubaix in April using the Paris-Roubaix derailleur.
The Gran Sport single cable, parallelogram rear derailleur (chromed bronze, large chromed mounting bolt and pivot bolt and holes in pulleys, set screw-style cable clamp, and "B" adjusting screw for changing derailleur mounting angle that is eliminated by the next year) paired with bar-end shift levers (chromed bronze, then aluminum) without rubber covers and Gran Sport sliding rod, cable operated front derailleur are introduced, along with conventional small flange three-piece hubs (alloy flanges pressed onto a steel barrel and D-ring type quick release nuts). A forged dropout with integral Gran Sport derailleur hanger is introduced that measures 6mm thick with 4mm adjusting screw and derailleur stop at 4 o'clock; easily identified by bulge formed around adjusting screw. By the next year a new forged dropout is introduced that measures 7mm thick with 3mm adjusting screw and derailleur stop at 7 o'clock.
Hugo Koblet wins the 1951 Tour de France in July using Gran Sport derailleurs paired with Gran Sport bar-end shifters. Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali also racing with same set up (only six Gran Sport derailleurs available for their TdF debut).
Catalog, no number. Has both Cognin, France and Vincenza, Italy addresses on cover. Printed for year-end trade shows. Included are the Cambio Corsa, Tipo Paris-Roubaix, Gran Sport front and rear derailleurs, Sport front derailleur (no rear version), bar end shifters (no rubber covers) and downtube shift levers (twin band clamp, hexhead bolt friction adjuster, full length cable housing and braze on version shown), small flange three-piece hubs (alloy flanges pressed onto a steel barrel, QRs with "D" ring), Cambio Corsa/Paris-Roubaix toothed dropouts, Cambio Corsa/ Paris-Roubaix with integral derailleur hanger, Gran Sport dropouts with adjusters, Sport dropouts, "H" tool, dishing tool, freewheel remover, cone wrenches and a fixture that accurately locates the toothed dropouts during frame building.
The Gran Sport Extra rear derailleur (second generation of Gran Sport) is introduced (changed body, large chromed mounting bolt and pivot bolt, holes in pulleys, extended horn shape to the outside pulley cage frame and revised cable clamp) along with the Sport single pulley rear derailleur. The Gran Sport down-tube shift levers are changed to single band clamp with flat-head screw friction adjusters, open cable without housing ("D" ring friction adjuster screw offered as option). A new forged dropout is introduced that measures 7mm thick with 3mm adjusting screw, a derailleur stop at 7 o'clock and a spring hole for mounting the Sport derailleur.
Fausto Coppi wins the 1952 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France using Gran Sport derailleurs.
Catalog, no number. Printed for year-end trade shows. As per 1951 Catalog with the addition of the Gran Sport Extra rear derailleur and the Sport single pulley rear derailleur.
In August the definitive Gran Sport rear derailleur (third generation of Gran Sport) is introduced: changed body, pulley cage reverts to first version, no holes in pulleys, smaller black-oxide mounting bolt and pivot bolt, 5mm spring cover (was 3.5mm) and back of body marked "14-26 denti" indicating usable freewheel size. Large flange three-piece hubs (alloy flanges pressed onto a steel barrel) are introduced. The famous Campagnolo script over the globe logo which dates back to the forties is registered.
Fausto Coppi wins the 1953 Lugano World Professional Road Race using Gran Sport derailleurs.
Catalog #12. Printed for the year-end trade shows. Included are the Cambio Corsa, Paris-Roubaix, Gran Sport and Sport rear derailleurs, Gran Sport and Sport front derailleurs, bar end shifters with rubber covers, downtube shifters (single band and braze on versions), brake cable clips, hubs (small and large flange three-piece, QRs with "D" ring), Gran Sport dropouts with adjusters, Sport dropouts, Cambio Corsa/Paris-Roubaix toothed dropouts, Cambio Corsa/Paris-Roubaix toothed dropouts with integral derailleur hanger, pump heads and holder, "H" tool, dishing tool, freewheel remover and cone wrenches.
The Competition low-cost derailleur is introduced at the year-end Milan trade show.
Catalog #13. Printed for the year-end trade shows. As per Catalog #12 with the addition of the "T" wrench and derailleur hanger alignment tool.
At the year-end Milan trade show a micro-adjust, two-bolt seat post (steel post and head brazed together) with a zero offset head is shown. Since it has the ears at the front and back of the post let's call it the Alfred E. Newman seat post. Within a few months it is replaced with the iconic two-bolt seat post with the offset head.
The Gran Sport pedal (steel quill with strap loop) is introduced. In July a headset and a micro-adjust, two bolt seat post (steel post and head brazed together), along with a seat positioning/leveling tool (maintains saddle position when changing seat post) are introduced, followed in August by the Gran Sport rear derailleur with the lower body and outer cage revised (elimination of three of original six spring tension adjustment holes) and an 8mm spring cover (was 5mm).
The iconic Record 5-pin cotterless crankset is introduced; 151mm bolt circle, 44 tooth minimum chainring, pedal hole dust caps, relieved spider and raised pedal lip. Also introduced are the Record one-piece alloy, small and large flange hubs (oval holes in flanges, oil hole clip and open "C" on quick release lever changed to closed "C"). A patent is granted on hollow chainring bolts with Allen key hole and crank bolt cover with Allen key hole.
Record crank pedal hole dust cap is eliminated.
A period of great expansion for Campagnolo! Campagnolo employs 300 workers. Inventing and patenting car and motorcycle hydraulic and cable operated disc brake components is undertaken. The Record parallelogram front derailleur is introduced (arms are chrome plated bronze; later changed to aluminum). Around this time the Gran Sport rear derailleur has its cable tension adjustment screw eliminated and the pulley cage stop screw is countersunk into the lower body. Record crank relieved spider eliminated.
Catalog #14. Printed for the year-end trade shows. Included are the Record road and track groups comprising Record cotterless crankset (151mm bolt circle) and Gran Sport bottom bracket, small and large flange Record alloy one-piece hubs, seat post (now all alloy), Gran Sport headset, Record front derailleur, Gran Sport rear derailleur, Gran Sport pedals. Also in the catalog are the Gran Sport Group (includes Record front derailleur), Sport Group, Gran Sport cottered bottom bracket (note that there is no accompanying cottered crankset), Gran Sport track pedal with and without teeth, wood-boxed tool set, the Saddle-Line alignment tool and the Acciaio (steel) small flange hubs.
Strada triple and Cyclocross cranksets, Sportman low-cost rear derailleur and Sportman medium flange hub with round holes are introduced. In July a revised Gran Sport rear derailleur is introduced with a 10mm spring cover (was 8mm) to improve shifting on six-speed freewheels. Note that six-speed freewheels are not commonplace until the mid-1970s! Campagnolo opens a factory in Bologna to manufacture superlight magnesium wheels for autos and motorcycles, as well as lightweight military and aerospace parts. Campagnolo becomes the first company in the world to use low-pressure magnesium casting, revolutionizing the use of this material.
The Turismo low-cost rear derailleur is introduced; identical to the earlier Gran Sport rear derailleur, but with a cheaper stamped-steel pulley cage substituted for the original cast-steel pulley cage. The raised-lip around the pedal hole of the Record crank is eliminated.
In October the Record rear derailleur (chrome plated bronze) is introduced. This has a revised cage shape with the pivot behind and closer to the jockey pulley and center punched rivets; it is designed to be able to shift the new six-speed Regina freewheel and back of body is marked "13-36" for usable freewheel size (in reality, a 13-28 freewheel is the maximum). Note that six-speed freewheels don't come into common usage till the mid-late seventies. A new wider base clamp design for the cable guides and down tube shifters along with thicker down tube shift levers (with open "C" changed to closed "C"). The word "Record" is added to the hub barrels. Thicker heads on seat post adjusting bolts. Next generation Record headset with non-domed lock nut, plain keyed washer. The low-cost "CAMPAGNOLO" model derailleur, an economy version of the Gran Sport derailleur (cadmium plate body and black oxide finish on pulley cage with the word "CAMPAGNOLO" on body), and also the low-cost Sportman rear derailleur are introduced.
The Valentino low-cost rear derailleur is introduced along with the Valentino low-cost front derailleur and obscure large flange track hubs with curved lever quick releases.
The Record rear derailleur (chrome plated bronze) has the no-teeth steel pulleys with ball-bearings replaced with plastic pulleys with nine teeth and plain bronze sleeve bearings.
The Sport low-cost hubset (large and small flange all steel hub) is introduced in January. Patent granted for self-centering wine bottle opener in the shape of a bell (lever pivots are the patented hollow chainring bolts).
The Record crankset is changed to a 144mm bolt circle (41 tooth minimum chainring) from the previous 151mm bolt circle (44 tooth minimum chainring); initially referred to as the "Special Record" crankset and doesn't appear in Catalog #15.
Catalog #15. Printed for the year-end trade shows. Included for the Record group is the Nuovo Record alloy rear derailleur and the Nuovo Record bottom bracket (rifled axle aperture cups). Also the triple chainring crank and cyclocross flanged-chainring crank, the Nuovo Tipo small and large flange hubs (round holes in flanges, no oil hole and stamped steel races), Record pedals (name change), a new Record headset, the Valentino group, pedal spanner (15-16-17mm multiple head), portable repair stand, and the obscure large flange track hubs with curved lever quick releases. Valentino Super and Nuovo Sport low-cost derailleurs are introduced. New style clamp-on bottom bracket cable guide (open cable run to front derailleur) and cable housing stop eliminated from Record front derailleur.
The Record brakeset, Superleggero pedals (silver anodized aluminum cages, later to be black anodized) and Valentino Extra low-cost rear derailleur are introduced at the Paris trade show in October.
Catalog #16. Printed for the year-end trade shows. As per Catalog #15, but with the addition of the Record brakeset (making a complete group for the first time), Record crankset with 144mm bolt circle (previously 151mm bolt circle), Sport Extra low-cost rear derailleur and elimination of Record track pedals with teeth.
The steel Gran Turismo rear derailleur is introduced. Record headset lower cup stamped with C in diamond shape; the stamped C disappears in mid-1970s.
Catalog #16 Supplement. Printed in November for the year-end trade shows. Included are the Superleggero pedals (black anodized aluminum cages), Superleggero seat post (no fluting, thinner wall, aluminum support cradle, drilled pivot, originally with engraved graduated scale), and plastic Superleggeri pumphead are introduced. Also the patented toothed washer (rondella dentata) for the Record sidepull brakes, along with the steel Gran Turismo rear derailleur, Velox low-cost derailleur, Elefante control lever, the steel three-pin Sport cotterless crankset, Sport headset (only two wrench flats) and Allen seatbinder bolt.
Record front derailleur clamp modified in area of pivot posts and circlip added to upper pivot. Special Nuovo Tipo hubs made for Motobecane with oval, kidney-shaped holes instead of the normal round holes; used as original equipment on the 1972/3 Motobecane Le Champion model.
The last year that the Record rear derailleur is available. The large chainring has a tiny post added at the crank arm location so an unshipped chain can't get jammed in the space between the crank and the chainring.
Catalog #17. Printed for the year-end trade shows. Included are the Super Record Road and Track groups with titanium axle for the bottom bracket, titanium spindles for the hubs (dropped soon after their introduction) and pedals, rear derailleur with black anodizing and titanium bolts, chainrings with inner web eliminated, alloy headset, brake levers with holes, short reach brake calipers, 144mm bolt circle for track crankset and fluted two-bolt seat post are introduced. The Rally rear derailleur, Nuovo Gran Sport group (alloy 3-pin crankset and Nuovo Gran Sport low-cost front and rear derailleurs), nutcracker and Cavaturaccioli (corkscrew) are introduced. Brake cable clips are now made of stainless steel instead of chrome plated steel. Note: the titanium tests out as 6AL-4V, a.k.a. Grade 5 or "6/4 Ti."
Special Catalog. Printed by Olympic Resources, Inc., Houston, Texas. Included are all items in Catalog #17 with the addition of the short Nuovo Record dropouts without eyelets and Special "T" wrench. Note that the illustrations for the Super Record chainrings, headset and seat post saddle cradles show the black anodized versions that were never released.
Catalog #17a. Printed for the year-end trade shows. As per Catalog #17. The word "Brev." is changed to "Patent" on the brake centerbolts.
Tullio Campagnolo is awarded the "Design and Application Award" by the International Magnesium Association.
Chain holder (Portacatena) with accompanying control lever and trigger and short Nuovo Record dropouts drilled and tapped for chain holder shown at Milan Trade Show at the end of the year.
C.P.S.C. (Consumer Product Safety Commission) mandates changes to NR/SR. Included are a front derailleur lip, 2.5 mm increase in spacing between crank spider and arm to clear the front derailleur lip with corresponding increase in bottom bracket axle length, a curved quick release lever and ball-end added to quick release conical adjuster, dome-shape added to quick release cam lever on brake calipers, plastic covering added to the wheel guides on the brake shoes, and plastic safety-shields added to rear derailleur screws. The word "Patent" is changed to "Brev." on the chainring, chainring bolts and crank dust caps.
Tullio Campagnolo is bestowed with the Stella D'Oro (Golden Star) award by the C.O.N.I. (Italian National Olympic organization) for his contributions to sport.
Catalog #17a Supplement. Printed for the year-end trade shows. Included are a revised Super Record derailleur with script logo and different cage geometry (28 tooth capacity), single bolt Nuovo Super Record seat post, Record front derailleur has straight band and four holes in cage (changed the following year to the more traditional pointed-band clamp and three hole cage), short Nuovo Record dropouts without eyelets (drilled and tapped for chain holder), chain holder (Portacatena) with accompanying control lever and trigger, and fixing shoe plate for pedals. Gran Sport front derailleur (Record-style plain cage with lip stamped with Globe logo), Gran Sport crank (flat bottom fluting, 170mm length), Gran Sport pedal (stamped steel races and engraved "Gran Sport" on barrel), Gran Sport brakeset (different adjuster and engraved "Gran Sport" on caliper; black brake hoods with Globe logo). Nuovo Valentino front derailleur (flat arms, Record-style plain cage with lip, stamped with Winged QR logo).
Tullio Campagnolo is appointed to the Cavaliere del Lavoro (Italy's highest honor to a businessman) by the President of the Italian republic.
Development starts on the Campagnolo freewheel, a combination of aluminum, titanium, and steel with a three-pawl ratchet system; the last project that Tullio personally oversaw. The 980 low-cost rear derailleur (26 tooth capacity) is introduced (9 80 = September 1980), and bronze colored belt buckle (made for Campagnolo USA by True Distance Inc. of Houston, Texas).
The winged wheel logo is updated by stylizing the rim, the wings and quick-release (shield added the next year).
Olympic Catalog. Printed for the year-end trade shows. Included are the Campagnolo freewheel and wood boxed freewheel tool set along with the Super Record front derailleur with black anodized arms, three holes and braze on fitting option, Super Record brake set with recessed brake bolt allen nuts, the HiLo Record rear hub (originally custom-made for the West German Olympic Team in 1972), toe clips in both steel and alloy versions, the revised version of the Super Record titanium bottom bracket axle (solid instead of hollow, with nuts rather than bolts), the low-cost 980 rear derailleur (26 tooth capacity), Gran Sport Rally rear derailleur (32 tooth capacity), Gran Sport touring crankset (flat bottom fluting, 116mm bolt pattern, double or triple, 35 to 43 teeth, and 50 to 53 teeth) and BMX crankset (gold, blue, or silver anodized 170mm arms and 42 to 46 teeth chainrings; silver 175mm arms), BMX pedals (gold, blue or black; double sided saw tooth aluminum quill), and BMX large or small flanged nutted hubs (gold, blue or silver). Also a series of promotional items are offered: corkscrew, nutcracker, a limited edition belt buckle set, an Olympic lapel pin set, a folding disposable razor, a travel bag, and various Campagnolo window and frame stickers. Also shown is the "Super Record Road Steel group" also called "Super Record Reduced group" (SL pedals replacing the SR pedals and the NR bottom bracket replacing the SR bottom bracket).
Shield added to winged wheel logo to celebrate the company's fifty years in business
February 3rd, Tullio Campagnolo dies in Vicenza.
50th Anniversary group is released. Gruppo Number 0002 is presented to the Pope, John Paul II in a private audience for a delegation of Italian cycling enthusiasts on June 15. Introduction of Super Record brake calipers with triangular cross section (as per Anniversary caliper), Campagnolo script logo, and conical-shaped nuts for center bolt lock nut and cam lock nut. Shield logo replaces Globe logo on brake hoods.
Catalog #18. Printed for the year-end trade shows. As per Olympic Catalog, but the Super Record titanium bottom bracket axle has been dropped. A seven-speed standard spaced freewheel is introduced (requires 130mm rear dropout spacing).
Introduction of Record Corsa and Record Pista groups at the end of the year trade shows. Usually referred to as "C-Record" (C = Corsa) and not available for sale till around 1986.
Super Record cranks without milled flutes (first produced with engraved logo and later with laser-etched logo) derived from the 1983 Anniversary group cranks. Also Super Record seat post without milled flutes to match new Super Record cranks.
A seven-speed "compact" spaced freewheel is introduced.
The last year of production of Super Record components.
Typically the development of Campagnolo parts was carried out with the help of professional road and track riders on teams sponsored by Campagnolo. Consequently, Campagnolo parts were in use one or more years before they were ever offered for sale to the public. Campagnolo parts could appear in stores or on bikes before ever appearing in a catalog or, on the other hand, were not necessarily available at the time a catalog was issued. The catalogs were typically printed for the trade shows which occurred late in the year (the Milan bicycle trade show was held biannually, odd numbered years). For these reasons, all dates in the Timeline are approximate.
Some Campagnolo parts can be dated by codes or patent dates. For example, the Nuovo Record rear derailleur has a patent date that corresponds to its manufacturing date starting in 1970 (example "PAT. 70"); marked "PATENT" without a date before 1970. The lock nut on the hub axle typically is stamped with "CAM. 60" or some other number denoting the last two digits of the year of manufacture. The word "RECORD" was added to the hub barrels around 1963. The original "Open C" style Campagnolo logotype (imagine a U turned on its side) on the Q.R. levers was changed to a "closed C" in 1958 with the introduction of the one-piece alloy Record hubs and a little later to the shift levers. Starting in 1973 the crank arms have a code consisting of a diamond (1970's) or circle (1980's) with a number in the center denoting the last digit of the year of manufacture, and then in 1985-9 with square and number in the center: 11 = 1985, 21 = 1986, 31 = 1987, 41 = 1988, 51 = 1989 plus some other examples.
The original Campagnolo Timeline first appeared in a 1995 series of articles in the AEoleus Butterfly 'zine printed by Gabe Konrad. The original contributors were Gabe Konrad, Frank Berto, Ron Sheperd, Dale Brown, and Chuck Schmidt. In 1998 it was taken over by Chuck Schmidt and added to the Velo-Retro website. Since then, many people have made contributions to the Timeline: Hilary Stone, Peter Johnson, Richard Sachs, Dave Walker, John Barron, Dan Ulwelling, Tom Dalton, Hiroshi Ichikawa, Satoru Masada, Dr. Akihiko Amaki, Steven Maasland, Jan Heine, and Marc Borel among others.
I would greatly appreciate any assistance you the reader can offer in updating this timeline as this is the only way the accuracy of this timeline can be improved. Chuck Schmidt