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British Industrial History

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Maurice Leblanc

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Maurice Leblanc (1857-1923).

1924 Obituary [1]

MAURICE LEBLANC was born in 1857 and received his technical education at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.

At the conclusion of his studies in 1878 he joined the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Est and in 1886 was associated for a short period with an industrial company.

In 1888 he commenced a series of researches on electrical apparatus, which included compound alternators, transformers, rotary converters, frequency changers and phase advancers, the last-named of which he claimed to be the first to produce. In conjunction with Hutin he introduced the damping device known as the amortisseur.

In 1897 the General Electric Company of America offered him the post of Engineer-in-Chief, but he did not accept it.

In 1901 a number of his electrical patents were purchased by Mr. George Westinghouse for the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co. and the General Electric Co. of America. From this time, at Mr. Westinghouse's suggestion, he directed his attention to mechanical engineering problems, particularly in connection with steam condensers, rotary compressors, etc. While engaged in this work he evolved his well-known rotary air pump by which very high vacua are produced.

On the outbreak of the European War he took part in the invention of a trench mortar and was instrumental in developing a new aeroplane engine.

In later years he put forward a proposal to utilize high-frequency currents for the propulsion of electric railway trains. He was a director of the Hewittic-Electric Co. and consulting engineer to the Societe Anonyme Westinghouse.

During the years 1912-14 he was President of the International Electrotechnical Commission, and in 1918 was elected the first member of the Industrial Section of the Acad6mie des Sciences. He died on the 27th October, 1923, at the age of 66.

He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution in 1915.

1923 Obituary[2]

"The death of Monsieur Maurice Leblanc, at the age of sixty-six years, is reported as having taken place in Paris on October 27th. Monsieur Leblanc received his early technical education at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, and for the first ten years after leaving that institution, in 1878, he served as an engineer, first with the Compagnie des Chemins de fer de l'Est, and then with an industrial firm. During that perios he had not much leisure to pursue the natural bent of his mind, which was in the direction of scientific research..." [more].

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