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Palace n°34 (known as Lourdes Industries) -

Palace n°34 (known as Lourdes Industries) at the Exhibition Expo Liege 1939
© Daniel
Architect(s) : I. Falise

Built behind the Lido, it completed, with its imposing mass, the series of palaces on the main avenue.

Functional architecture, ordered by a rational use of the standard framework. Cladding in "dry" materials (corrugated eternit), a system generally adopted at the Exhibition to allow rapid construction and certain recovery after dismantling. Composition of powerful rectilinear volumes, well suited to the purpose of the palace.

The entrance, which was well distributed, was overhung by a very original aluminium sheet canopy. It is regrettable that its shape, a little too raised, has weighed down the proportions of the large bays. The large title, composed of very well designed metal letters, was sufficient in itself as a decorative element of the main façade.


- Hydraulic engines and machines (cl. 11)

The Belgian participation in the field of class 11 was mainly grouped in the Palais des Industries Lourdes (n° 34).

It was limited almost exclusively to hydraulic pumps and could hardly be otherwise. The hydraulic power installations are so small in Belgium that our manufacturers have not been able to extend their research and manufacture in this direction.

Perhaps the possibility of being able to satisfy future demands of the Colony could have encouraged the large companies to study the question. We know that several of them have had the opportunity to build important units there, but using studies made by specialised foreign firms.

In any case, if it is true that we did not have any transcendent achievements to present in the field of hydraulic turbines, we can say that, in this international competition, Belgian firms were in a good position as regards pumps and, in particular, turbo-pumps.

This field alone is extremely vast and varied. As a result of the growing needs of our chemical industry, the construction of piston pumps, and later turbo-pumps, was developed and oriented towards the realisation of special models with an internal coating, or made of materials resistant to corrosion and erosion by chemical agents. In this sector, efficiency is not the key factor, although high efficiency means low eddy current losses and reducing eddy current means limiting chemical activity and the resulting damage.

What matters most is robustness, ease of access, ease of disassembly, easy and inexpensive replacement of worn parts: ultimately, lower maintenance and operating costs. This is a field of activity for the methodical search for suitable solutions that can only be explored by direct experience, as scientific knowledge in this field is not sufficiently advanced to be able to discern a priori, and with sufficient certainty, the appropriate materials. The question of blockages is of great importance here, and in turbo-pumps the problem is at present satisfactorily solved, even for high pressures and high temperatures.

The special pumps which we shall discuss first, because they represent a real contribution to the progress of the chemical industry, have lead, ebonite or rubber linings of appropriate hardness. For certain applications, cast iron with a high manganese content is used, whose hardness leads to laborious machining and obliges the manufacturer to seek simplified shapes for the main body. Well-designed models were on display at the exhibition, as well as dredging pumps, which are not new, but which are now being given considerable dimensions and power.

The pumps for hydraulic works, which must be robust, are nowadays carefully constructed, - they have helical-centrifugal impeller layouts suitable for high flow rates and low heights, and with high efficiency. The only difference between them and conventional pumps is that they have inspection doors. For irrigation and dewatering, helical pumps have been developed: a real propeller is housed in a suitable casing with a device for recovering the kinetic energy at the outlet (Ateliers de Constructions électriques de Charleroi).
Similar pumps are used in the region for pumping sewage: the City of Liege station on the right bank of the Meuse has five units of 5,000 m3/hour each with a discharge height of 2 metres, driven directly at 320 rpm by a steam engine (Ateliers de Construction d'Ensival).
In contrast, the new station on the left bank incorporated in the Exhibition and using electric motors and diesel engines as motive power, has helical centrifugal pumps.

After the pumps for the chemical industry and civil engineering, the more common pumps used in coal mines and power stations should be examined: dewatering pumps, circulation pumps and power station feed pumps, which must above all ensure excellent efficiency. These devices have a long service life, and even the slightest improvement in efficiency has an impact on operating costs. They must meet the most varied operating conditions and the exhibitors highlighted the progress made in this area over the last twenty years. Efficiencies of 0.80 and even 0.85 are currently possible with flow rates of 5-6,000 m3/hour and heads of 7-8 metres, using direct drive at 585 rpm.

A rotor from a similar pump, which shows the amount of research that has gone into finding the optimum solution, was on display in one of the stands in class 11. Also on display was a complete pump adapted to this type of circulation for the supply of ship condensers.

In the modern power plant, the problem of feeding high-pressure boilers is solved by means of 7 or 8-impeller multistage pumps at 3,000 rpm when medium flows are involved and at a higher number of revolutions when the flows are 10 to 15 m3/hour. Below 7 to 10 m3/hour, the solution of a multistage centrifugal pump becomes questionable and piston pumps are used, which will be discussed later.

It is well known that the problem of mine drainage is at the origin of all the progress made in the field of centrifugal pumps. At present, the multistage pump is used and many examples were presented by the various manufacturers. The prevailing system is the one with separate elements in the casing, locked together by bolts housed in the casing (Ateliers de Constructions électriques de Charleroi).

The balancing of the axial thrust, an important problem in this type of application, is solved by the use of an automatic balancing piston which differs very little from one manufacturer to another. By using this device, the two jams are removed from the action of the high pressure, and it is sufficient to prevent air ingress at the suction side by means of an appropriate water circulation, in order to satisfy all practical requirements.

We have just covered a number of fields of application for turbo-pumps, but there are many others, particularly in marine applications, and the less important but equally interesting applications in domestic services.

In marine applications, the pumps must be very robust and easily accessible. They are usually of the vertical type and are designed so that they can be dismantled without touching the engine. In addition, they must be self-priming and resistant to sea water. The Ateliers de Constructions électriques de Charleroi and the Rateau Company presented types.

Automatic priming is necessary for the supply of a house or a distribution network. The problem is as follows: when the level in the regulation tank falls below a given value, the pump must automatically start up and ensure the supply. However, the centrifugal pump can only be started if the casing is completely filled with water, and the foot valve cannot be relied upon to be sufficiently and permanently sealed. In these conditions, the problem of self-priming is solved by an auxiliary pump with a liquid torus that can create a vacuum and cause the water to rise in the pump itself. For small domestic installations, the centrifugal pump can be replaced by a series of tension pumps of the liquid torus type. The efficiency of these pumps is poor, but this is not a serious defect given the short operating time.

Various firms presented very well thought-out self-priming solutions. In particular, the Ateliers de Constructions électriques de Charleroi exhibited an interesting demonstration installation of a self-priming multistage pump.

In the field of piston pumps, several exhibitors presented devices well adapted for medium and high pressures with multiple triangular section belt drive with closed casing and continuous lubrication, accessible clogging, of the horizontal type. Triplex pumps of the vertical type with three elbows for very high pressures were exhibited by several manufacturers.

The Ateliers des Pompes Dia presented several models of special diaphragm pumps for loaded liquids: emptying of slurry ponds, evacuation of decantation ponds, pumps for ore washes, etc.

Several sets of petrol-driven centrifugal pumps suitable for the fire service were also on display; they were fitted with an auxiliary priming pump, usually of the rotary type. The latter type were few in number and can only be justified for special applications, such as pulp pumps.

In all this, one could distinguish a great concern to ensure the robustness as well as the elegant presentation of the devices with their driving motor: electric motor, petrol or diesel engine, or even steam turbine.

The use of welded steel had given rise to a very good test run by the Rateau Company. The solution can be indicated in the large dimensions, in order to avoid the costs of model and to reduce the weight of the group, - in spite of the difficulties of cutting and bending of certain parts of the volute and the horizontal joint relatively very complicated of form, the manufacturer had succeeded in respecting rational tracings and to constitute a very elegant unit. This is an interesting avenue when there is an interest in reducing weight, either for long-distance transport (colonies) or for marine pumps.

By the variety of the types exhibited, the care taken in the studies and in the realization, the Belgian manufacturers showed that they could satisfy all the requirements of our industry. We would like to mention in passing that some manufacturers specialising in turbo-pumps presented important achievements in the field of turbo blowers and fans.

On the other hand, it was possible to see that the rational principles used in the study of modern piston pumps were applied to the realisation of low-power compressors and well-designed vacuum pumps: closed casing with continuous lubrication of all the components, easily accessible clogging, belt drive with a motor mounted on the casing and easy to move to ensure that the drive belt is kept under suitable tension.

We should mention here the importance of the hydraulic installations of the Exhibition for the supply of the water sets. All these installations were equipped with centrifugal pump groups, some of which were very large. Here again, the results achieved proved that Belgian industry is capable of achieving in this type of mechanical application everything that the most advanced technology can achieve in terms of the power and beauty of its creations. In the following paragraph, we will give some details about these remarkable achievements, most of them unpublished, which contributed greatly to the success of the Exhibition.
If, moving on to the field of water supply and control, one was led to visit the stands of some of the large firms specialising in this field, an equally comforting impression was gained. Not only was it easy to see the power of the manufacturing facilities, but also the concern to establish a permanent control of the value of the product and to maintain a constant activity in the field of technical research likely to lead to progress.

The question of the choice of materials to resist erosion and corrosion was addressed by several exhibitors who presented remarkable samples of the most diverse parts for the construction of pumps, valves and fittings, capable of resisting acid or alkaline water and superheated steam.
Great strides have been made in the remote water level recording devices that are needed in power station operations or on waterways.

The measurement of total flows, instantaneous flows with recorders, and the measurement of pressures, have led to the creation of handy and durable precision instruments which are now sufficiently advanced for the industrialist to use them to detect even small deficiencies in the performance of installations. Some of the stands clearly demonstrated the value of our industry in this respect.

Along the way, we mentioned most of the Belgian exhibitors of pumps of various models. It should be remembered that the Belgian measuring and control equipment industry was represented by Automatique électrique de Belgique, the Compagnie des Compteurs et Manomètres, the Société E. G. E. A. and the Intégra Company. A few other participants were also enrolled in this class for ancillary items.

- Water Technology and Electricity (cl. 13)

Electricity, which plays an increasingly important role in domestic life and without which industrial exploitation is hardly conceivable, had to occupy a prominent place at the Exhibition. It did not fail to do so. More than forty Belgian companies were represented. In particular, the Association of Belgian Electrical Equipment Manufacturers (A. C. M. E. B.), which had brought most of its members to exhibit, and the collective participation of two other important groups: the Union of Electrical Operations in Belgium (U. E. E. B.), with forty-seven members, should be mentioned. ), with forty-seven members among the companies producing and distributing electrical energy, and the Association des Centrales électriques industrielles de Belgique (A. C. E. I. B.), whose one hundred and three affiliated producers or users of electricity belong to almost all types of industry. It can therefore be said, without risk of contradiction, that everything in Belgium related to electricity was represented.

The programme for class 13 included six sections where, in a simple and concrete manner, the most immediate roles of water were to be highlighted. Most of the Belgian exhibitors were gathered at the Palais des Industries Lourdes (n° 34). A few were located elsewhere, notably in the Civil Engineering Palace and in the so-called "Sea Palace".


a) Water and the production of electrical energy

Water acts in the production of electrical energy:
1° As a direct driving agent, either in its natural liquid state in hydroelectric power stations, or in the state of steam in thermal power stations
2° As an auxiliary agent for steam condensation and engine cooling.

This dual role was clearly illustrated in Palace No. 34 by a synthetic panel showing water flowing from the spring to the river and drawn by industry to power hydraulic turbines, boilers, steam condensers and to cool internal combustion engines.

The visitor could get an idea of the importance of the production of electrical energy in Belgium by reading maps and synoptic tables showing him that in 1938 a total installed power of 2,462,000 KW. had produced 5,278 million KWH.
Belgium is not rich in "white coal". However, some sources have been rationally used, as can be seen from the various models and photographs of the hydroelectric installations at Butgenbach and Heid-de-Goreux (Centrales de l'Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse and Région de Malmédy).

On the other hand, the country is rich in coal and has concentrated most of its electrical energy production in thermal power stations with a high average power output and strong economic generating units. In addition, all waste energy, including blast furnace gas, is fully recovered. The latest scientific advances in thermodynamics and fluid flow, as well as in the knowledge of materials, including the behaviour of metals at high temperatures, have been put into practice by the constructors, who are always keen to bring science and technology together.

Numerous relief or photographic representations, descriptive panels and demonstration devices showed the most modern achievements in the construction of steam turbines with taps, internal combustion engines with compartmented cylinders and cooling jackets, and important refrigeration and condensation systems.

On the other hand, all the accessories used in power plant installations, especially water, gas and electricity control devices, as well as electrical remote control devices, were presented in a very interesting way by their manufacturers.


b) Water and the distribution of electrical energy

From a short visit to Palace No. 34, the visitor, by reading a map and a few tables, gained a clear impression of the work accomplished by private initiative in the field of electricity in Belgium.

If, wishing to learn more about it, he took a seat in the cinema provided at the U. E. E. B. stand, he would not fail to be fully initiated into the organisation of the production, transport and distribution of electricity in the country, and into its industrial and domestic applications.

Tightly woven networks of high and low voltage conductors cover the territory and transport energy in optimal conditions of safety and economy to almost all Belgian municipalities. With an annual consumption of 650 KWH. per inhabitant, Belgium is currently at the top of the list of countries with a low waterfall rate, as well as being one of the leading nations in terms of the rational and economical coordination of its means of production.

If the visitor were to seek the role of water in the distribution of electrical energy, he would have reason to satisfy his curiosity and perhaps to be surprised that the liquid element, instead of being a beneficial auxiliary here, fulfils a role which, although not always harmful strictly speaking, nevertheless creates difficulties which it was not easy to overcome in certain cases.

The crossing of deep valleys and the climbing of steep hillsides by overhead lines, the crossing of rivers by submerged cables were illustrated by photographs often showing great boldness of construction. Similarly, the effects of frost on conductors and the action of rain on insulators were well illustrated. It is worth mentioning in particular a remarkable model showing how, by drainage and electrical sectioning, it is possible to protect underground pipes against stray currents resulting from the return of the electric current through the earth (participation of the Distrigaz and Traction et Electricité companies, in Palais n° 19).

Let us also point out how much manufacturers are striving to combat the harmful action of water in the distribution of electrical energy by creating shielded or specially insulated equipment. A number of such devices were available to the visitor.


c) Water and the use of electrical energy

It was probably in the field of electrolysis that electricity and water first came together industrially.

However, applications were slow to develop considerably and were limited to electroplating. But the Exhibition showed how important electrolytic phenomena have become in recent times in the field of metallurgy and chemistry.

The treatment of ores, the refining of metals, thick electrolytic deposits, electrolytic zincing, electrolytic pickling, the manufacture of chemical salts, aluminite deposits, accumulators, etc., of which numerous samples were exhibited, gave an idea of the rapid development of these new consumers of electrical energy.

It is worth mentioning here, because water plays its role as a coolant, the applications of electrothermics whose importance is not at all inferior to the previous ones. The growing concern to obtain pure or refined products of high quality has brought this method of heating to the fore. The possibility of reaching extremely high temperatures exceeding 3,000 degrees, the ease of temperature adjustment and the creation of a chemically neutral medium make it an ideal heating system.

In 1937, the electrometallurgy industry alone consumed 41 billion KWH, or almost 10% of the world's electrical energy production.

Although in fuel-rich and waterfall-poor countries like Belgium the use of electricity to bring about thermal and chemical reactions has so far appeared to be an uneconomic diversions, a careful examination often argues in favour of such use.

Electrochemical and electrothermal production are not the exclusive preserve of white coal-rich countries, and it is certain that electrometallurgy can play a considerable role in our country. The objection that the price of the KWH is too high falls away in view of the fact that the rational recovery of all waste products and the general organisation of the production and transport of electrical energy as it exists in Belgium make energy available to users at prices that are in no way prohibitive.

The novelty and importance of the above subjects do not allow us to forget that, in the more familiar field of the use of electrical energy as a motive force, manufacturers of pumps of all kinds had important participations of great interest at the Exhibition. The world record 100-metre high water jet, built by the Ateliers de Constructions électriques de Charleroi, was a fine example.

Electric welding also had its representatives specialising in arc welding, spot welding, continuous welding, roller welding, pressure welding, water welding, etc. with all the accessory equipment. In Hall No. 34, there was a Belgian-made device for checking welds by radiography (Balteau factories).

Finally, it is not possible to end this presentation without mentioning the luminous fountains, the water gardens and the rose garden of the Exhibition, where electricity and water were combined in streams of pearls and colours to the amazement of thousands of visitors.


d) Electricity and water hygiene. - e) Electricity
and major waterworks

The installations required for public hygiene and those related to major hydraulic works were exhibited, in main order, in the Civil Engineering and Public Health departments. The visitor could see the importance of the achievements made to date in our country and abroad. The visitor's attention was drawn to the fact that in all these installations, electricity is used as a necessary auxiliary.

To renounce this form of energy, whose flexibility is unequalled by any other, would be to expose any project to additional difficulties and dangers, as well as to longer completion times. Water distribution, spring catchments, and waste water evacuation, use it mainly as a driving force and secondarily as a means of automatic remote control of equipment.

A particularly interesting application was made to the sewage demining installations in Liege, which provide incalculable services in times of river flooding and of which a substation was built at the Exhibition. It should also be noted that most of the locks, dams, bridges, lifts and ferries are electrically controlled, as shown by various plans and models from the Palais du Génie Civil. It was also shown that the very delicate operation of lowering the water table can be carried out electrically with maximum ease and safety.

In Hall 19, electrolytic processes for conditioning water and reducing its water content were demonstrated (see section C of this chapter).

Finally, domestic hygiene consumes an ever-increasing amount of electrical energy in water sterilisers, water heaters, boilers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc., the use of which is growing considerably. Most of the above applications involve the use of shielded, hermetically sealed, naturally cooled or forced cooled equipment, which the visitors could examine.


f) Electricity and navigation

Initially electricity was only used on board ships for auxiliary services, such as lighting.

However, since the introduction of internal combustion engines in the navy, and in particular diesel engines for ship propulsion, electricity has replaced steam in most applications. All shipboard services (lighting, pumping, signalling, handling, etc.) are electrified and in some modern ships electric motors drive the stern shafts. A special mention must be made of a steering apparatus, controlled by a continuous motor, of which a specimen appeared at the Exhibition (Ateliers de Constructions électriques de Charleroi).

In ports and on the coasts, the use of electrical energy has also become widespread, both for ordinary lighting, beaconing, lighthouses and buoys, and for the most diverse machines used for handling. Finally, for the safety of ships, let us mention the increasingly numerous and sophisticated applications of radiogonioscopy and radioelectricity, to which thousands of sailors owe their lives. These will be discussed at greater length in the next chapter (sections B and C).
This overview would have required considerable development in order to give a detailed account of the participation of each of the exhibitors: there is no room for this.

From the foregoing, it is clear that electricity occupied a place at the Exhibition worthy of its importance, while at the same time meeting the requirements of the imposed programme, i.e. by not going beyond the field of its relationship with water.
The excellence of the products exhibited was a credit to the Belgian electrical industry. The high quality of the products was recognised by the International Awards Jury, which awarded the Belgian exhibitors in class 13 many superior awards.

- Class 16

Class 16 of the Exhibition concerned "equipment and processes for research, execution and realization of works included in the previous classes". It was divided into four sections:
1° Scientific conceptions, research and tests,
2° Materials and equipment,
3° Equipment and tools
4° The creators and the methods of realization of the works related to the water technique.

It crowned the vast panorama of civil engineering works constituted by all the entries in classes 4 to 15.

This was a very broad programme of vital interest to Belgian industry. This class also included by far the most numerous and most important participations. The related stands were located in all the halls of the Belgian Section.

The first section devoted to SCIENTIFIC DESIGN, RESEARCH AND TESTING was mainly represented in the Civil Engineering Palace. It was only natural that the design offices and the inspection and insurance bodies should have been close to the contractors, for whom they are the most valuable collaborators. The participation of the Chamber of Consulting Engineers of Belgium and that of a group of insurance companies and inspection offices was noteworthy. The theme was the safety of civil constructions, their control and the insurance covering the responsibility of contractors. In addition, some exhibitors, mainly at the Palais des Industries Lourdes (No. 34), presented items such as: the control of welds and materials by X-rays (Usines Balteau), hydraulic testing and laboratory equipment (Compagnie des Conduites d'eau), studies and industrial applications of vibration (Vibrogir). In a purely scientific spirit, the Distrigaz and Traction & Electricity companies had set up a very suggestive demonstration of the protection of underground pipes against stray currents in Hall 19, in the centre of the corrosion section which will be discussed later.

It is necessary to recall here the activity of the study and research departments of the Ministry of Public Works. These are the Special Geotechnical Service, the Hydraulic Research Laboratory and the Special Test and Radiography Service, whose contributions to the Civil Engineering Palace were commented on in section A of the same chapter.

The second section, MATERIALS, was divided into several sub-sections according to the nature of the products.

For ferrous and non-ferrous metals, there were many entries. The Groupement des Hauts Fourneaux et Aciéries Belges (Belgian Blast Furnaces and Steelworks Group), for example, had set up a perfectly successful stand in Hall 34 to the glory of the Belgian metallurgy industry. Then there was a more modest stand of the Union des Lamineurs belges de Zinc in the same hall. Finally, we should mention all the steelworks, all the rolling mills, all the foundries which, in their sometimes impressive private stands, held the visitor's attention, notwithstanding for many of them their contribution to the collective participation of the Groupement des Hauts Fourneaux already mentioned.

The use of metals inevitably has as a corollary the fight against their corrosion, a phenomenon in which water plays a harmful role. This inevitably called for the appearance at the Exhibition of all the firms concerned with combating this universal evil. In this second sub-section, grouped entirely in Hall 19, we found specialists in varnish, enamel and paint coatings, workshops dealing with metallization, chromium plating, nickel plating and cadmium plating, producers of asphalt, bitumen, water repellent, greasy coatings, etc. Some of the displays, such as that of the Fabrique nationale d'Armes de guerre, allowed the visitor to compare the various phases of treatment of the same piece of iron, particularly with a view to protecting it against aggressive agents.

This exhibition, which included three important series of groups (colours and varnishes, asphalts and bitumens, and various metal protection processes), was remarkable for the size of its participation. The exhibitors had worked together to ensure maximum success in the presentation. We cannot fail to mention the amusing decorative frieze that adorned the entire pediment of the stands of the manufacturers of colours and varnishes. From the scientific point of view, we have already mentioned the participation of the Distrigaz and Traction & Electricity companies. Let's compare it with the Belgian Commission for the Study of Protection against Corrosion (ABEM IV) whose contribution to the problem in question is becoming more and more effective. Finally, some manufacturers of water repellents had contributed to the "Water and Health" community (Palais 20) in a practical demonstration of the fight against humidity in the home.

It is no longer necessary to insist on the fact that our quarries, brickworks and sandpits provide top quality products in marble, small granite, sandstone, limestone, porphyry, bricks, tiles, sand, gravel, grit and other stone materials. And our country has large cement factories supplying the whole range of Portland, metallurgical or special cements with high resistance and resistance to water attack.

These companies took an important part in the Exhibition. They were scattered, however, for the simple reason that each branch sought the best presentation formula.

In its magnificent pavilion, the Belgian cement industry's participation was complete. The large panel at the back, facing the entrance, recalled the importance of the Belgian cement industry, whose production capacity currently reaches 5 million tonnes per year and whose products are universally renowned for their quality. Moreover, Belgium is the largest exporter in the world (1/5 of world trade); a planisphere showed the countries that import Belgian cement.

The participation also included models, showcases and several schematic panels. The aim was to show the important role of water in all uses of cement.

A large tabletop model of a modern factory was placed in front of the back panel. A diagram made it easy to follow the manufacturing process of the different types of cement.

A large panel to the left of the entrance highlighted the role of water in the setting of cement. Samples and laboratory studies illustrated this. In a similar form, on the right, the influence of the amount of mixing water on the plasticity and strength of the concrete was diagrammed. It was also shown how the plasticity is adjusted depending on how the concrete is transported to the place of use and how it is placed.
A third panel was devoted to the influence of external moisture during curing. Here too, samples and laboratory tests completed the interesting demonstration of the variations in shrinkage and strength of concrete in wet and dry conditions.

The resistance to aggressive water was also the subject of a special exhibition proving that concretes made with the right care and the appropriate cements are perfectly resistant.

Finally, two large panels were devoted, one to major concrete works where water plays a role, the other to the standardisation of cements and their control in the laboratory. A display unit provided information on the standards and specifications of the cements manufactured by the Group: setting speed, stability, fineness of grind, tensile and compressive strength.

The participation of the Belgian Cement Association was one of the finest private contributions to the Exhibition.

No less remarkable was that of the sandstone, small granite and limestone quarries, which together created a truly impressive decorative ensemble in the gardens opposite the main entrance to Bressoux. Such a collaboration deserves to be continued and should serve as an example for future exhibitions. This is the best way to ensure the professional defence of a group of industries whose products are bound to complement each other in their actual use.

In addition, some exhibitors presented themselves in special stands. In Hall 18, the Comptoir tuilier de Courtrai, a large organisation selling products from the brick and tile factories of Flanders, had set up a beautiful stand with a perfect architectural and decorative design. The cladding panels recently created by this firm were used in the construction of the Exhibition's Festival Hall. Also in Hall 18 was the aforementioned participation in class 15 of the Groupement des Carrières et Fours à Chaux de la Vallée de la Meuse. In the "Water and Health" section, some material producers participated as exhibitors in certain demonstrations. We should also mention the attractive pavilion built in the gardens by the Union belge des Marbritiers and, finally, some individual participations concerning metallurgical cements, slag bricks and concretes.

A final subdivision of this important section of class 16 was reserved for wood and glass.

The trade in construction wood, special wood for hydraulic works, impregnated wood resistant to the action of humidity, had found a place in the International Section (Hall 22). Belgian industries were represented along with a number of foreign exhibitors. In the field of glass, we should mention the participation of Glaceries réunies, which, in Hall 18, demonstrated the advantages of the application of Securit glass in all its forms.

The third section of the class dealt with MATERIALS AND TOOLS. From time immemorial, general equipment and processes have determined and limited the possibilities of execution of constructions and more particularly of hydraulic works, because of the considerable difficulties and painful hardships resulting from water and its effects. Great progress has been made in recent years as a result of the development of the metallurgical, mechanical and electrical industries. Developers have been quick to appreciate the advantages that can be gained. The result has been such a change in the possibilities of execution, that the engineers of public administrations and planning offices have had to take it into account in the design of their projects. These projects were profoundly influenced in their general forms, in their scope, their boldness and their efficiency, while the execution itself gained in safety and security, in economy and in speed. The major works carried out in Belgium in recent years have shown this in a striking manner, particularly those of the Albert Canal, the Meuse, the tunnels under the Scheldt, and the North-South Junction.

The Liège Exhibition could not separate this subject from that of hydraulic works considered in themselves. From the national point of view, the interest of this section of class 16 lay in a sort of review of the power of the material and tools of our contractors and in a confrontation of the production of Belgian special industries with its foreign competitors. It would be futile to deny that Belgium uses a lot of imported equipment and tools and that national manufacturers are not yet masters of the domestic market. However, great progress has been made in recent years not only in small, general-purpose mechanical equipment, but also in some very special and modern processes. The overall impression produced by the Belgian participation was very favourable and it is to be hoped that our industry, encouraged by sound administrative measures, will soon be able not only to challenge foreign competition on the domestic market, but will even be able, by the proven quality of its products as well as by its advantageous prices, to gain a foothold on the export markets.

Because of the diversity of the branches concerned and the very extensive subdivision of the Classification, Belgian participation in this section was scattered over many palaces. This dispersion, which is obviously unfavourable in general to a synthetic impression, showed the absence of a special industrial grouping which would nevertheless be amply justified.

Floating dredging equipment was represented mainly in the Civil Engineering and Inland Navigation Palaces, by beautiful collections of model dredgers of various kinds, jib-pontoons, floating cranes, pile drivers, etc., exhibited by dredging companies. The power of our contractors' equipment was thus proven, and it is well known, but it was noted that a large number of these machines were of foreign origin. However, Belgian industries produce all the parts of this equipment, be it dredge buckets in special steels, bucket chain links, suction tubes, flexible joints, winches and capstans, chains, cables and anchors, engines, pumps and transmissions, hulls and frames, etc. In fairness it must be recognised that the national industry is technically and industrially capable of building floating equipment of high practical quality: the Exhibition gave more than one proof of this. Perhaps the conditions for specialisation are not yet favourable?

As far as excavation equipment and construction engines and accessories are concerned, the same remarks can be made, but to a lesser degree and only with regard to high-powered equipment. Felling equipment, especially pneumatic and electric, medium-sized mechanical excavation equipment which is most widely used, handling and lifting equipment, bulldozers and tractors, explosives, various engines and winches, pipes, valves and accessories, transmissions, thermal insulation, ramming and digging equipment, crushers, pulverizers, classifiers and screens, conveyors and conveyor belts, oscillating hoppers, presses, electrical equipment, pumps and fans, transport and railway equipment in general, were generously represented in a way that did credit to the quality and finish of national production.

Concrete and masonry equipment was fairly scarce, no doubt due to the specialisation of the Exhibition. The abstention of specialized firms was certainly regrettable, because the role of concrete in hydraulic works and the special qualities that modern equipment is likely to confer on it in its applications, justified, it seems to us, an important participation. The compact concretes exhibited at the Palais des Universités (civil engineering stand) and at the Palais du Génie Civil (Vesdre dam - Belgian Railway Company and Enterprises) were novelties capable, in the judgement of foreign specialists of the highest value, of opening up new avenues to the technique of solid concrete and are only possible thanks to vibration and pervibration. A Belgian company (Vibrogir) was exhibiting vibrators at Palais 34. As far as tools are concerned, let us mention the tubular metal scaffolding (Usines à Tubes de la Meuse) in the same hall.

But we cannot leave the impression that Belgian industry, both because of its particular conditions and the specialisation of the theme of the Exhibition, did not present a prominent participation in the third section of class 16. On the contrary, we have reserved for the end that which gives water technology a predominant place: the equipment and processes of hydraulic foundations. This relates precisely to the essential and most difficult part of hydraulic engineering. In this field, the Belgian industry has an international rank and was able to showcase its remarkable achievements at home and abroad at the Exhibition.

In the Palais des Universités, a shipyard exhibited a model of a large compressed air caisson. However, this method of foundation is only used when necessary because of the advantages of other, more recent methods.
The long metal sheet piles, together with the modern dewatering processes, make it possible to establish open-air or dewatered underground foundation excavations at great depths below the water table and to remove them from the upward pressure of the underlying captive water tables. The Belgian industry has allowed remarkable applications of this method, which is so advantageous and safe, in recent major works (Albert Canal, tunnels under the Scheldt, etc.). Very beautiful models of a construction site of the North-South Junction in Brussels showed an impressive example.

A metallurgical company specialising in sheet piling (Société d'Ougrée-Marihaye) exhibited its large collection of profiles at the Palais 34, and had made good use of this material in the layout of its stand. On the other hand, Belgian pump manufacturers had extensive participation, as described in the first paragraph above. Filtering wells for lowering the water table were also exhibited and the Civil Engineering Building contained many examples of their application.

Deep foundations in water-bearing or non-water-bearing ground by means of piles, especially by means of piles cast in the ground, were also exhibited in the same building by Belgian firms of international reputation, both as regards the material itself and its applications. It is interesting to note that the foundations of the cable car pylons at the Swiss National Exhibition of 1939, which was held at the same time as the one in Liège, were built according to the process of one of these companies (Compagnie des Pieux Franki). The foundations were laid in the difficult terrain on the shores of Lake Zurich, which the cable car was to cross.

Also in the Palais du Génie Civil, a model showed the application of the soil freezing process to the digging of the deep ventilation shafts of the vehicle tunnel under the Scheldt in Antwerp. The company Foraky, which carried out this work, is also a specialist in the consolidation and waterproofing of water-bearing soils by means of cementing and chemical methods. The Franki Company also exhibited the bitumen injection process for underground waterproofing.

All these carefully developed special processes, of which Belgian companies have made numerous successful applications, gave the national participation an exceptional value, particularly suited to the theme of the Exhibition and which it was important to highlight.

In a field less directly related to water, it is also important to mention the remarkable participation of the welding, igneous cutting and welded construction industries. These techniques, which are very widespread in France, have sometimes even taken on an avant-garde character, and their application to the metal elements of hydraulic works has become quite common and almost indispensable. They have been widely used in the works of the Albert Canal, the Meuse and other waterways, for dams, locks and bridges.

Finally, the FOURTH SECTION of class 16 was to honour those public works companies that can rightly pride themselves on recent achievements remarkable for their unusual scale and their execution with such mastery and rhythm that it would be profoundly unjust to denigrate them because of a few accidents to which public opinion has given an exaggerated echo. It is now or never to be said that if criticism is easy, art is difficult.

By the nature of things, the account of the Belgian participation in this section has been detailed in connection with the previous classes.

© General Report - International Water Technology Exhibition - Liege 1939