View Full Version : help with my french!

09-06-2005, 04:13 PM
I am off to France in a few days , and happened upon this picture of an engine which was made in the area where i am going.

To preserve my sanity I am going to spend some time crap hunting in old barns for old engines and agricultural stuff and look for old machines machine shops foundries ect but am somewhat handicaped by my mastery of the French language.

Any idea of correct french names/terminology ect for stationrey agriculural engines ,lathes ,mills ,foundry related good stuffin which we are all interested?


09-06-2005, 05:00 PM
If I remember my French from my schooldays,"moteurs vapeur anciennes" would roughly translate to "old steam engines".
That should give the "froggies"some idea what you're looking for.Good luck on your "hunt".


09-06-2005, 05:04 PM
Actually,I see that's a petrol type engine.
forget about the "vapeur".


09-06-2005, 05:13 PM
Take a sketchbook and draw pictures. If you're talking to a machinist he'll know what you mean. Other than that I don't know - - try to find a well-illustrated textbook in French and study that?

A lot of people say the French are unfriendly but I didn't find that. I found that in the cities people are busy (like anywhere) but in the quieter places there are always people willing to take the time.

If you can manage a bit of spoken French, share a common interest and are respectful of cultural differences you should have a great time.

Norman Atkinson
09-06-2005, 05:26 PM
Ou, allez vous en la Belle France?

Les Follies Bergere- n'est pas?

En Retrait


Seriously, you have to watch things like a tour. One is a lathe, one is a tour as in La Tour Eiffel and the other is a tour as in a tour round the Eiffel Tower to look at a lathe. This is a system to confuse les Anglais- Anglaise- Anglaises

The word- une bonne mot- is Merde!

Usine - is works
Mill is basically Moulin but moule is a mussel.An engine is a machine- wow!
A Motor is a Moteur. A geyser what mends things is a mecanicien. En Panne is knackered. A salle is is a room -des machines. An ingenier is an engineer.

Don't fall for Chauffeur. It may have meant the guy who stuffed the boiler- but he now drives a car.

Ca Va? une bonne mot which will cover about a thousand- mille- eventualities.

A Euro is about a dollar.
Un Biere is not a thing fr a coffin- it is to drink. Deux bieres is more than one and trois bieres is a night in the the gutter.
Vin de table is crap, Appellation Controllee is better and un litre is enough for most of us
Petrol is Essence and gasoil is diesel fuel.

One must cultivate a shrug of the shoulders.
One must try to learn to kiss on both cheeks.
In Paris, they kiss on three. It can be fun especially if it is a somewhat hirsute grand mother- ou Grandmere.

Bonne Chance, mon ami.

Une bonne idee? C'est vrai.


Norman Atkinson
09-06-2005, 05:38 PM
J'ai perdue!

You'll get on famously.

The Grand Alliance between Scotland and France.

I'm a geordie- and whilst they built the Roman Wall, we don't count.


09-06-2005, 06:23 PM
I know some french words everyone over there uses a lot..

LANCE ARMSTRONG.... HA... I think it is a french curse over there.

David http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-06-2005, 06:23 PM
I happen to own a copy of "maquinas para utillaje en 4 idiomas"
Which translates to " Tool room machinery in 4 languages"

It is a machine shop dictionary in english/german/spanish/french.
A couple of hundred pages long, with the french words for just about anything you can imagine.

A milling machine is a "fraiseuse"
A lathe, is, as noted, a "tour", but a tool room lathe would be a "tour rapide d'outillage de grande precision"
A machine shop is a "atelier de mechanique"

I would be happy to look up any specific words or parts or tools you would like, if you just tell me which ones.

09-06-2005, 06:29 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by NORMAN ATKINSON:

Petrol is Essence and gasoil is diesel fuel.

Ok, I'm not a French expert by any means, but I do know this. If you ask for Essence near a bar, they will give you an alcoholic drink that is supposed to let loose the green fairy(?). Supposedly you will also have hallucinations.

But, if you drink the gas (petrol), you will probably have the same effect. So maybe it doesnt matter.

Ca Va? - I think is only between friends, formal is "Comment allez vous". Upon a reply of Ca Va, you can be concidered slightly informal and give the shorter a try.

But then again, I can't ever get the gender of the rivers. It makes ZERO sence to me, or anyone that I asked. Just something that you have to memorize I guess.

Just try a bit of the language, and many will help you out. And dont speak the language fast or you will get it back faster.

Ok, enough school stuff, now for the goodies.

Do go to the Eiffel tower and check out the old hydraulic pump that they have on display. As I recall it is on the 2nd level. You can walk up to that one without much effort.

And if you have the time, go to the maginot line. It is an intresting trip from what I hear. We didnt get there on the last trip, but there is some old machinery there you can check out.

There was an old watchmaker near the Luxembourg gardens (near Rue de Feluers and Rue de Madam) last time we were there. He had a lathe that I had never seen before. He was so nice, putting up with my Americanized French, which is horrid and an embarrisment.

Honestly, my wife did most of the talking. She got along with him well. I think I heard her tell the guy I was an engineer and I had some machines. She described them and he couldn't comprehend that they were in my garage and that they were bigger than his little lathe.

I'm sorry, I have rambled on. Have fun and show us some photos of your finds.

Ries - Where did you find such a great resource?

[This message has been edited by rockrat (edited 09-06-2005).]

09-06-2005, 06:42 PM
i'm with BillJ, just bring a few photos of what you're looking for. then again, even in the US you might be better off showing a photo instead of trying to get some folks to understand what you're talking about.

andy b.

09-06-2005, 08:36 PM
Thanks for the help.
i am taking the digital and lots of batteries ,cards ect,and a few pics of my machines ect.

Got the impression that there should be
lots of good stuff to find - im only going to take pictures though dont think SWMBO
would be impresssed if i slipped thatengine in the bag
The engine is made by Forgues Freres of Mirande Gers,which is only a short distance from where i am going .
I am not staying in Paris though,this time.

Ries that sounds like a very useful book just whatI need.!

Norman Atkinson
09-07-2005, 05:10 AM
Mirande Gers is the wrong side of the garlic patch. Mine is in the Savoie on the Italian Border.

The Ca Va, with C Cedille and all that was deliberate- and with a sense of Gallic fun.

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday contained the wonderful Jacques Tatti- avec la pipe, a folding canoe, an ancient car with canvas sides and a tennis service to amaze all only uttered Ca Va throughout the whole film.
I will leave you to hold hands with your loved one from each side of le Pissoir, play with Turkish starting blocks et al.

You have my E-mail address! Send me a photograph of some evening tent scene with shadows and those immoral words " Ne Pousait pas, c'est permanent"

On reflection, Rockrat may be wrong in Essence. Absinthe, yes! You could run a car on it. Sort of Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

I notice that you are going near to a series of nudist beaches. I suppose one has still to show one's testimonials to get in.

Have fun and drink lots of the Bordeaux Blanc.


09-07-2005, 07:44 AM
Ahh yes, I remember more clear now. Must have been the Absinthe. Where did I get Essance???? Again must have been the Absinthe. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Thanks Norman.

[This message has been edited by rockrat (edited 09-07-2005).]

09-07-2005, 08:09 AM

Norman Atkinson
09-07-2005, 05:15 PM
Et vous, mon brave!

and crottes and bougies to one and all!

and a quick rousing chorus of "ou est le papier"


09-10-2005, 01:29 PM
thanks for the help - im off to France now - hope to find some good stuff.

now how does that song go?
sing it a bit like that "Flower of Scotland " song they only know the first few lines of

hmmmmmhmmmm and the ferench man went to the bathroom hmmmmm

and he had a great hmmmmmmmm hmmmmmmmm

hmmmmmmmhmmmmmmmm ou est le papier

repeat ad infinitum