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Christophe-Eugène Flachat (1802-1873)
See French Wikipedia entry for an extensive summary of his life and work.
1873 Obituary 
IT is with much regret that we have to record the loss which France has just sustained by the death, on the 16th ult., of M. Eugene Flachat. M. Flachat, after having several times occupied the presidential chair of the Societe des Ingenieurs Civils, was elected an honorary president of that Society, of which he had been one of the founders.
During a long and most active career M. Flachat's spirit of inquiry led him to investigate the most varied branches of our profession, and there are but few such branches to the development of which he was not a contributor.
But it was to the introduction of railways into France, and the subsequent development of the French railway system - a work on which he was engaged since the year 1832 - that he devoted his chief energy. After having directed for several years the railways of Saint Germain and Versailles, he constructed that of Auteuil, and contributed to the establishment of the Southern and Western Railways of France, while he also rendered special services in connexion with the carrying out of the Northern Rail way of Spain, a line of which he was engineer-in-chief at the time of his death. It is to M. Flachat that is due the first application in France of the electric telegraph....[more]