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          Chenevier's memento

    A hundred years ago there was a man in Verdun called P. Chenevier. I bet you didn't know that... but now you do, and so do I, because he left us a little memento.
   Of course, he never meant "Memento" in quite that sense;  it was simply a memory aid, what today we'd call a pocket reference; and he evidently manufactured and sold it himself, because the cover gives the address as "Verdun, Meuse -- Chez l'auteur" (can you imagine the Windows CD-ROM stating "Seattle, WA -- Chez Bill"? :-)
Chenevier's memento - closed
Click a photo to enlarge
Chenevier's memento - open Chenevier's memento - disassembled
    The "Memento Graphique du Constructeur" is an unusual cardboard device about 20x7x1 cm in size, formed like a 4-page booklet with two flaps (the "covers") opening from a central compartment that contains a removable cardboard plate with two more pages on its two faces. Despite one's first impression, this is not a slide rule; the central sheet is merely stored inside and has to be pulled out to be consulted.
    The six pages are crammed with numerous graphs and tables, all related to the design of construction elements: strength of various wood and metal beams, weights of roofing plates, and so forth... all very handy for the the target population noted on the cover: "A l'usage des ingenieurs, architectes, directeurs de travaux, chefs d'usines et entrepreneurs".

Three pages of Chenevier's memento  Three pages of Chenevier's memento
Click a photo to enlarge

    There is no mention of this device in any source I have access to; but I did uncover a reference to the enterprising Monsieur Chenevier. He was, it turns out, Paul-Nicolas Chenevier (1848-1923), an architect born in Paris and active in Verdun and its vicinity.
Exhibit provenance:
    I found this, marked noncommittally as an "old French calculator", in an antique mall in California.

More info:
    As I said, I have absolutely no documentation related to this artifact. If you saw one like it, or know anything else that can shed light on this, please drop me a line!

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