Anybody living along the Seine where France’s great river winds its way around Boulogne-Billancourt would tell you the same thing: there was no need to keep an alarm clock at home, nor even a wristwatch; ‘La Grande Renault’ kept time for everyone. From its eight great horns, standing on supports seven metres high, this magnificent device signalled the end of each working day, sending the toiling masses home to rest and despatching crowds into the ‘Metro’. Sounded also, of course, at the start of each working day, it heralded important historic events such as the Front Populaire’s general strike in 1936 and was used to warn the local population of Allied air raids during the winter of 1942, saving numerous lives. Renault’s great siren sounded the death knell for Company Chairmen, Pierre Lefaucheux in 1955 and Georges Besse in 1986. People heard it too during the spring riots of 1968. It sounded for the last time on 31st March 1992 when the factory closed after constructing the very last Renault Supercinq Thanks to its saviour, the hooter has had its dented metalwork restored. Needing not less than 1200 watts to blow air through the eight horns, the big 15CV electric motor has been overhauled and is now in working order. (excerpt from Bonhams Auctions description)

(photos from Le Parisien issued from Jean-Marc Navarro’s article)