World Exhibition Paris 1878

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May 1, 1878 - October 31, 1878


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Le Creusot Exhibition

Le Creusot Exhibition at the Exhibition Paris 1878

This magnificent pavilion, - behind which was, incidentally, a gigantic transport wagon for the large pieces of ramparts, built for the Italian Government, - this magnificent pavilion was much visited.

At the threshold of the entrance door stood the wooden specimen of the famous sledge-hammer, and everybody looked with admiration at this specimen of the greatest force yet achieved by man.

Let us enter the pavilion; opposite the entrance door, the first object that strikes our eyes is the statue of M. Eugène Schneider; it is a magnificent bronze by Chapu, cast by M. Thiébaut.

At the bottom of the statue, a child in working clothes, with a tool in his hand, follows, with a serious and tender look, the gesture of his mother who shows him the statue; the woman's face radiates with a deep feeling of love and gratitude; her half-open mouth seems to murmur words of gratitude.

Mr Eugène Schneider was the true founder of Le Creusot; Mr Henri Schneider, his son, continues his father's great work today.

In front of this statue, we first see the plan in relief of the factories of Le Creusot; it gives a very exact idea of their layout; the furnaces, the blast furnaces, the steelworks, the construction workshops, the big hammer, nothing is missing.

Statistical tables, attached to the walls, inform the public about the industrial and commercial situation of the Creusot establishment; the establishment occupies an area of 423 hectares.

Here are the most interesting figures:

Personnel :
15,252 Employees, foremen and workmen.

Production :
Houilles.............................. 549,000 tonnes
Cast iron.................................. 155.000 -
Irons and steels........................ 126.000 -
Construction workshops. ............... 25.000 -
Consumption :
Houilles................................ 572,000 tonnes.
Coke.................................... 155.000 -
Ores................................ 400.000 -
Water................................... 3,500,000 M.cub.
Gas................................... 2.200.000 -
Mr. Turgan estimates that if all the equipment were in operation, the production capacity would be as follows:
Houilles.............................. 700,000 tonnes.
Fontes.................................. 155.000 -
Irons and steels.................... . 160.000 -
Production workshops.................. 30.000 -

The administration of the Creusot factory is concerned about the fate of its employees and workers and provides them with the means to ensure a stable and happy existence.
In the pavilion on the Champ de Mars, there were models of workers' houses with gardens; comfortable and well-equipped houses.

Does the worker want to become an owner? He pays a small sum of money to the Creusot administration and chooses the type of house he wants.

The administration builds the house for him at the lowest possible price; he takes possession of it and the debt is repaid by means of small deductions from his pay.

In this way, there are more than 3,000 worker-owners at the factory.

Le Creusot has become a real population centre, with its own choral societies and brass bands.

M. Schneider has created schools: education is free and compulsory; the children receive a professional education in accordance with the aptitudes that are revealed in them.

The medical service is free; it is paid for by the factory owners.

Let us continue our visit through the exhibition of this magnificent factory which constantly employs 281 machines, that is to say 13,334 horsepower, 1,030 machine tools, and 38 steam hammers, including the one of 80,000 kilograms of which we have already spoken, but to which we will return later.

First of all, here is the 2,640 horsepower machine, intended for the ship Mytho.

Le Creusot built one for the Redoutable which is three times stronger, as it has 6,000 horsepower; you can see the drawing of it next to the Mytho's engine.

Admire this magnificent forge-finished propeller support, which is 18 metres long and weighs 21,000 kilograms.

Look at this magnificent steel ingot of 120,000 kilograms; of course it is a wooden imitation, because the specimen that exists in the factory could not have been transported.

On this side we see a fragment of a ship's breastplate. The armour is 80 centimetres thick. What projectile could penetrate it.

We can only note the complete and interesting collection of all the tools, the samples of coals, ores and cast iron.

The rotary puddler furnace, a special invention at the factory, works as follows:
This furnace is characterised by a set of mechanical provisions ensuring its continuous operation, despite the high temperature developed in the rotating part. The drum is double-walled with water circulation. The inner wall has a transverse rib in the middle of its length, which divides the charge into two parts at each revolution.

When the operation is complete, two balls weighing 400 to 500 kilograms each are obtained per charge.

Two furnaces of this system are in operation at the Creusot works and have already produced more than 10,000 tons of iron. Their production per day is 20,000 kilograms per twenty-four hours, by charging the iron in a liquid state.

We were about to forget to mention the Foudroyant's 8,000 horsepower twin screw machine.

Before we finish, let's talk one last time about the famous drop hammer, in order to make the mechanism and the game clear:
This gigantic machine consists of two posts supporting a steam cylinder at the top. The distribution of the steam is regulated by means of an elbowed lever which is moved by an assistant placed on a platform fixed to one of the uprights: a child can be sufficient for this task. The hammer, raised when the steam arrives under the piston, falls back not only by the effect of its own weight, but by the addition to this weight of the force produced by the steam acting on the piston. A huge mass of cast iron in which a bit is fixed, such is the hammer itself; this bit is mobile and can be replaced without much difficulty by another in the event of an accident, or by any other machine, according to the work to be carried out, As for the anvil, it is fixed in a chabotte by means of iron wedges, or in foundations of considerable solidity and resistance. It is understood that the drop hammer is mainly used for forging and welding large pieces that could not be worked without its help; but it is also used for stretching and trimming, and it can be entrusted with the work of the most delicate pieces if necessary; for, if it is thanks to it that we are fortunate enough to possess the Krupp, Palliser and other cannons, it is very capable of stopping its fall on contact with a walnut shell without breaking it.

©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878