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British Industrial History

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Henri De Wendel

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Henri De Wendel (1844-1906)

of Hayange, Lorraine, France.

1906 Obituary [1]

HENRI DE WENDEL, Bessemer Gold Medallist, died at the Castle of Vaugien on October 12, 1906. He was the head of the well-known De Wendel Ironworks, situated on both sides of the Franco-German frontier in Lorraine.

He was born in 1844, and as his father died in 1870, shortly before the outbreak of the Franco-German war, he, with his younger brother Robert and his cousin Baron Theodore de Gargan, took over the onerous task of directing the great works in circumstance of exceptional difficulty. With tact and skill he was able not only to keep the works going, but even to bring them to a higher degree of efficiency.

In 1880 he built ironworks at Joeuf, on the French side of the frontier, in order to keep the French market. On the invention of the basic Bessemer process he built new steelworks at Hayingen and at Gross-Moyoeuvre. Extensive rolling-mills were also built, and much attention was devoted to the utilisation of blast-furnace gases. Appreciating the importance of a good supply of iron ore, he put down bore-holes in France and found a considerable extension of the minette bed to the west. He also developed the coal industry of Lorraine, and in 1901 began sinking new shafts in Westphalia. At the present time the number of workmen employed by the firm exceeds 20,000.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1872, and in 1900 received the Bessemer Gold Medal in recognition of his conspicuous services to metallurgy.

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