Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Charles Dietz

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Model of 1834 steam tractor and its passenger coaches at the Musée des Arts et Métiers

Charles Dietz was an engineer and steam vehicle manufacturer. Born in Darmstadt, Germany in 1801 and died in 1888.

His father, Jean Chrétien Dietz ( 1778 - 1849 ), was an engineer, living in Emmerich am Rhein. At the request of by Napoleon in 1812 he was engaged in the construction of the Canal du Midi . In 1819 he moved to Brussels to build steam and hydraulic machines.

Charles Dietz followed his father in inventing musical instruments, and constructing steam engines and vehicles.

In 1830 he produced a steam tractor, weighing 10 tons, with a tubed boiler, and capable of hauling two passenger coaches, but the French Revolution of 1830 delayed progress. Charles Dietz tried his machine in Britain , but his efforts were thrwarted by the red flag law. Dietz then settled in Paris and opened several regular routes. To improve the comfort of the passengers, he introduced a layer of tarred felt or cork and rubber between the wooden wheel rim and the steel tyre

In 1834 he started the bus route "Rond Point des Champs-Elysees, Parc de Saint-Germain" .

See Wikipedia entry.

A model of a steam tractor and its two coaches are on display at the Musée des Arts et Métiers. See photo.

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