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Jules Carpentier

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Jules Carpentier (1851-1921)


1921 Obituary [1]

JULES CARPENTIER was born in Paris on 30th August, 1851.

In 1871 he entered the Ecole Polytechnique, on leaving which he became a member of the corps of Ingenieurs des Manufactures de l'Etat.

In 1876, after spending a year in the workshops of the Paris-Lyons-Mediterranean Railway, he was appointed chief assistant to the Mechanical Engineer of that Railway. He had intended to devote his attention to mechanical engineering, which particularly appealed to him, but on Ruhmkorff's death he purchased the latter's workshops, etc.

Electrical science was at that time making rapid progress and being applied to industry, and new methods of measurement were required. In this field, England had the advantage of Lord Kelvin's guidance. In France M. Carpentier undertook the complete reorganization of the Ruhmkorff works. As a result, the production of all classes of instruments rapidly increased and large quantities of electrical apparatus, including the well-known d'Arsonval galvanometer, were placed on the market. The firm also constructed the Baudot multiple telegraph printer. Into several of these appliances M. Carpentier introduced his own ideas. In addition, he did a great deal of work in connection with photographic reproduction and the recording of musical pieces, and the following inventions are due to him : a portable dark-room; a stereoscopic camera; and the "melograph," used in conjunction with the "melotrope," the latter of which enables pieces of music registered by the former to be replayed. He also, in conjunction with M. Charles Cros, gave a great deal of attention to three-colour photography. Most important of all, however, were the submarine periscopes which have proved of such great service in naval warfare. All these inventions testify to his great ingenuity and accuracy, combined with an excellent scientific education.

In 1897 he joined the Bureau des Longitudes and in 1907 was elected a Member of the Academie des Sciences. A skilled manufacturer, he represented on this body the mechanical arts and the manufacture of precision measuring instruments. In 1907 he received the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honour. Equally well known in both the scientific and industrial worlds, all those who came in contact with him appreciated his high qualities.

He died on 30th June, 1921, as a result of a motor-car accident.

He was elected a Foreign Member of the Institution in 1887, and a Member in 1911.


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