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 144,326 pages of information and 230,176 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Louis Lemaitre

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Model of punching and riveting machine at the Musee des Arts et Metiers, 2019
Drawing from 'The Engineer & Machinist's Assistant', 1863
Detail, from 'The Engineer & Machinist's Assistant', 1863

Louis Lemaître owned an important ironworks at la Chapelle Saint-Denis near Paris.

Lemaître and his son-in-law François Cavé are buried in Montmartre cemetry. Photo of the imposing cast iron tomb of the Cavé & Lemaître families here.

Punching & Riveting Machine

Lemaître designed an improved steam-operated machine for punching and riveting. The first example was made for Lemaître by François Cavé in 1844[1].

A contemporary 1:5 scale model of Lemaître's punching and riveting machine is on display at the Musee des Arts et Metiers in Paris. The model was made in 1843, by Eugène Philippe. Inv. No. 3065.

The machine was illustrated and described in The Engineer & Machinist's Assistant, 1863. It was 10 ft high and 11.5 ft long. The plates to be punched or riveted were supported on a die attached to the top of the arbor projecting from the machine. For riveting, the machine had a dual action. By pulling one lever, steam was admitted to a steam cylinder which raised a lever to bring down a plunger having a central bored hole. This pressed the two plates together ready for riveting. The hot rivet was inserted in the hole, and, by pulling another lever, steam was admitted to the other cylinder, bringing down the riveting die located within the hollow plunger, thereby closing the rivet. The hollow plunger had a dual role, carring a hole punch attached to its front face, which was swung down into place for punching holes. In the photograph of the model, the punch is visible at the extreme right. The riveting head is also visible, which would not have been the case in practice.

Additional photos of the model here.

The facility for pressing the plates together, and for punching holes, and the direct application of force from steam pressure, distinguished this machine from Fairbairn and Smith's earlier belt-driven riveting machine.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'Procédés de forgeage dans l'industrie' by Clément Codron