Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,478 pages of information and 233,901 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Henri Fabre

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Henri Fabre (November 29, 1882 – June 30, 1984) was a French aviator and the inventor of Le Canard, the first seaplane in history.

Henri Fabre was born into a prominent family of shipowners in the city of Marseilles. He was educated in the Jesuit College of Marseilles, where he undertook advanced studies in sciences. He then studied intensively aeroplane and propeller designs. He patented a system of flotation devices, which he used when he succeeded in taking off from the surface of the Etang de Berre on March 28, 1910. On that day, he completed four consecutive perfect flights, the longest about 600 meters. Henri Fabre was soon contacted by Glenn Curtiss and Gabriel Voisin who used his invention to develop their own seaplanes.

During the First World War, he established a company with 200 employees, which was specialized in the manufacture of seaplanes.

He died at the age of 101, as one of the last living pioneers of human flight.

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