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Marc Berrier-Fontaine

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Marc Berrier-Fontaine (1838-1908)

Chief constructor of the French Navy. [1]


1909 Obituary [2]

MARC BERRIER-FONTAINE was born at Tours on 4th August 1838, and completed his studies first at the Ecole Polytechnique from 1858 to 1860; then for two years at the Ecole d'Application du Genie Maritime, with periods of practical training in England and at Toulon Arsenal.

From November 1863 to the end of 1865 he was assistant naval constructor and engineer at Saigon Dockyard, in French Indo-China.

During 1867 he acted as chief constructor on board "La Guerriere," flagship of the French-China Station, and then returned to Toulon. For his services he was created a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

For nine years — from March 1868 to May 1877 — he was at Toulon Dockyard, and from June 1877 he had under his charge the whole of the shipbuilding department at Le Mourillon, Toulon, which lee completely reorganized.

In this connection, one of the first and most extensive applications of the Tweddell hydraulic-power system to the driving of machine-tools was carried out in the new plate-working shops at Le Mourillon Dockyard. The manufacturers of the larger portion of the equipment were the Chester Hydraulic Engineering Co.; the construction was carried out under the supervision of the late Mr. R . H. Tweddell, and the late Mr. Henry Chapman was instrumental in advocating the system, and in drawing up the plans for the installation. A Paper descriptive of this plant was read by M. Berrier-Fontaine at the Paris Meeting of this Institution in 1878.

He also contributed another Paper in 1887 on "A Portable Hydraulic Drilling Machine."

In the course of his career, which was passed at Toulon, except for the appointment in Indo-China already referred to, later and brief ones at other French dockyards and arsenals, and an appointment he filled for a short period at the Ministry of Marine in Paris, M. Berrier-Fontaine, besides reorganizing the Toulon naval yard, built a number of dry docks, quays, and workshops for the French foreign naval stations, and designed at different times various classes of French warships.

In 1901, when he was assistant director of the Genie Maritime, in Paris, he was rewarded with the distinction of Commandership of the Legion of Honour.

Owing to reaching the age limit, he retired from the Government service in 1903.

His death took place at Toulon on 23rd November 1908, at the age of seventy.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1878; he was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Naval Architects.



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