This group included exhibitors of materials, equipment and products for civil engineering. The exhibits included models, plans and drawings for public works, bodywork, saddlery, carpentry, motor vehicles and bicycles, railway and tramway equipment, commercial navigation and air navigation equipment.
The number of French exhibitors in this group was 156; they occupied a total area of 4,515 square metres, either inside the Industry and Machinery halls or outside, near these buildings.
In the Civil Engineering section, there were views of the major works carried out in recent years by French industry. The automobile section brought together, in a selected exhibition, the newest models of the most renowned French brands.
The major railway companies had put on a considerable exhibition of their latest rolling stock and ancillary equipment; their installations occupied no less than 2,612 square metres inside the halls and 487 square metres outside.
We will not discuss this at length here, leaving it to our eminent collaborator Mr. Georges Philippe, Engineer, Deputy Chief Inspector of the Chemins de Fer du Nord-Belge, who, with all his authority, will deal with this subject, from an international point of view, in another chapter of this volume.
Finally, the large shipping companies, notably the Messageries Maritimes, were listed in class 33, in a compartment at the end of the Palais de l'Alimentation, next to the specimens of the new industry of motorboats.
Class 28, the first of the group, included 31 exhibitors, 13 of whom were producers of building materials, plaster, cement, bricks, 9 contractors and finally 9 manufacturers of various appliances and equipment such as portable railways, dumpers, water distribution equipment, etc.
One could not have hoped that France would have the predominant place in class 28 that it occupied. On the one hand, French manufacturers export very little to Belgium and on the other hand the Belgian building materials industry is particularly flourishing. Nevertheless, class 28 was interesting because of the diversity of the exhibitors and visitors could find useful information there.
Building materials were represented by the following exhibitors in particular:
M. Morel, Montreuil-sous-Bois, exhibited the special tools used for the extraction of plaster stone as well as samples of stone and fired plaster.
Mr. Aubry-Pachot exhibited samples of plaster from his factory in Gagny (Seine-et-Oise).
MM. Labrousse and Roux, whose factories and quarries are located in Mériel, near Isle-Adam, exhibited various items related to these.
MM. E. Candlot et Cie, manufacturers of artificial Portland cement, at Dennemont, near Mantes (Seine-et-Oise), exhibited photographs of their factory and samples of raw materials, fired cement and ground cement.
Next came the installation of the Compagnie nouvelle des Ciments du Boulonnais, which exhibited specimens of what it has supplied for major works in ports, on the Metropolitan railway, for concreting forts, etc.
The Société des Ciments artificiels de l'Indo-Chine, set up in 1899 in Haïphong (Tonkin), exhibited raw materials such as Haïphong cements used by the Public Works Department on a par with the best brands.
MM. Millot et Cie, manufacturers at Isle-sur-Serein (Yonne), exhibited quick-setting cement, known as Vassy cement. This establishment showed in the reconstruction of the ruins of the temple of Castor and Pollux, at the end of the Boverie park, an interesting application of quick-setting cement.
As building materials, we found the terracotta constructions of M. Despature-Cousin, in Wez-Macquart (Nord), in which one finds ingenious combinations of interlocking; the products of M. Fouque, president of the Société de l'Art Contemporain, in Paris. Fouque, president of the Société générale des Tuileries de Marseille, whose tiles, bricks and squares are well known; the interlocking bricks of M. Masquelier, of Tourcoing; the products of the Métalline, in Paris, a company which manufactures a coloured mortar with which imitation stone renderings are made; finally, the Société E. Muller et Cie, of Ivry, represented by a table showing its various products: tiles, pottery, etc.
Some reinforced cement contractors exhibited in class 28:
MM. Lang et fils, in Paris, have made a speciality of the construction of floors for dwellings; they apply a special patented system which enables them to obtain thin floors with little noise. They exhibited photographs of various constructions carried out by them in Paris.
The Société générale de Construction en béton armé et de travaux spéciaux en ciment, in Paris, which was one of the first to make an important application of reinforced concrete in 1893, exhibited drawings and photographs of numerous constructions carried out by them, notably piers on reinforced concrete.
MM. Demay frères, in Paris, exhibited a sample of a floor with reinforced cement beams from their system.
Several contractors had carried out work for the Exhibition itself and were thus exhibitors in class 28. These were: M. Bézenech, in Paris, who had executed a monumental chimney in the salons of the French Section; M. Jacquet, in Paris, a masonry contractor; the important firm of Le Cœur, Moriquand et Cie, in Paris, which had contributed to the execution of the frameworks, as well as M. Liard, in Paris.
M. Mathis et Fombaron, in Paris, exhibited models of zinc and slate roofing, etc.
Then came the Société française de l'asphalte armé, in Paris, which operates its own special system of pavement covering; it exhibited samples showing the provisions of this process; it had carried out the covering of the Mativa bridge, in reinforced cement.
Among the manufacturers of various equipment, we noted:
M. Buffet, in Paris, who exhibited tools used for cutting stones, marble, granite, etc.
Messrs. Caruelle and Chêne, in Origny-Sainte-Benoîte (Aisne), who have devised an ingenious device for drawing water from wells, while allowing the well to be kept closed at all times and thus eliminating any danger of the water falling or becoming polluted. They also exhibited an aeromotor.
M. Decourt-Lacour, in La Rochelle, exhibited a model of his well-known pile-driver; a device used in almost all large public works sites.
M. Durey-Sohy, in Paris, exhibited sweepers, watering barrels, etc., and in particular a sweeper-arrower of a new system as well as a mobile boiler for heating tar intended for tarring roads.
Then there was the stand of Messrs Garnier, Courtaud et Cie, in Paris, who specialise in the construction of water supply and heating equipment.
The Société des Fondations par compression mécanique du sol, in Paris, exhibited the special equipment it uses to build foundations; this process enables it to do away with piles and replace them with concrete monoliths which are then connected by reinforced cement beams or footings.
The Société nouvelle des Anciens Etablissements Decauville, in Petit-Bourg, had assembled various types of its waggons and portable tracks which are universally known.
Finally, we should mention M. Sanguet, in Paris, who exhibited equipment he had built: self-reducing tacheometers, long-altimeters, etc.
Class 29 included twenty-two exhibitors, French builders or contractors presenting the plans of works carried out by them, not only in France, but also abroad.
The firm of Barbier, Bénard and Turenne, known for the construction of its lighthouses, searchlights, sound signals, etc., exhibited the main equipment for which it is famous, notably old lenses and, as a point of comparison, modern lenses of the same type, electric searchlights, various types of headlight nozzles, a steam generator, etc.
Messrs Jean and Georges Hersen exhibited photographs of works undertaken by them and currently in progress: completion of the port of Lisbon, the arsenal of Sidi-Abdallah and the port of Bizerte, the port of Dakar, the port of Rosario.
The Société des Ponts et Travaux en fer had a very remarkable exhibition; this company, which has been in existence for more than forty-nine years, had chosen series of photographs of the main works it has carried out and relating to general public works, metal constructions proper and equipment for the operation of ports.
Next came the Compagnie de Fives-Lille, founded more than forty years ago, and which is one of the oldest establishments devoted to the execution of metal constructions. Its exhibition included drawings of its most remarkable works and very interesting models.
With the Société des Ateliers Moisant, Laurent, Savey, we entered the field of metal framework construction applied mainly to buildings. This company exhibited photographs of the major construction works for the palaces of the 1900 Exhibition, the Paris stations at the Quai d'Orsay and Tours for the Compagnie d'Orléans, the promenade pier in Nice, etc.
MM. Baudet, Donon et Cie, who also carry out all metal constructions such as bridges, lock gates, frameworks and reservoirs, exhibited numerous photographs of their work.
We must also mention the Pantz company, whose speciality is the construction of metal frameworks and sheds, and the E. et A. Sée company, which has devoted itself to the construction of steel structures. Sée, which was mainly involved in the construction of industrial plants.
Then came Mr. L. Chagnaud, who specialised mainly in the construction of underground passages and was the first to apply the shield method with a masonry lining. Mr. Chagnaud exhibited numerous drawings.
Reinforced concrete constructions, whose resources were revealed at the 1900 Exhibition, were to have an important place in Liege. Mr. Hennebique's exhibition showed the prodigious development of this construction process, which was barely known ten years ago. A list of the main works executed according to the Hennebique system would take us too far. Hennebique reinforced concrete is used in all countries; it has been used in all types of construction and has made it possible to find economical solutions in the most difficult cases.
The exhibition of Mr. Considère, former inspector general of the Ponts et Chaussées, also represented works in reinforced concrete. Seduced by the advantages of reinforced concrete construction, the learned inspector general studied it thoroughly; his communications to the Academy of Sciences are known to all builders and it is to him that we owe a large part of the reliable methods of reinforced concrete calculation. His work also led him to the discovery of shrink-wrapped concrete, which has remarkable properties. In Liège, he presented the results of a test on a bridge made of reinforced concrete with an opening of 25 metres.
Next came the Port of Bizerte Company, which presented all the work undertaken since 1883. The creation of this port is a remarkable example of what private industry can achieve.
Only two architects were in class 29: Mr. Renaud, François, exhibited the drawings of the hospital built under his direction for the City of Paris at the Porte d'Aubervilliers.
Mr. Arnaud, Edouard, exhibited photographs of numerous constructions executed according to his plans, notably: a building entirely in reinforced concrete, the Kriéger garage, in Paris, and power plants for tramways, in Amiens, Nice, and Saint-Mandé.
Mr. A. Bécard exhibited photographs of the metal bridges for which he had been responsible for drawing up the preliminary designs and checking the calculations and execution drawings for the Compagnie de l'Ouest Algérien, of which he was the engineer.
Mr Berges and his sons exhibited a relief model of the installations created to achieve maximum use of the Lancey basin (Isère). This work made it possible to obtain a constant hydraulic force from an unevenly flowing stream by using a lake as an annual regulator and artificial basins as daily regulators.
The exhibition of the Ecole spéciale de Travaux publics, directed by M. Eyrolles, included collections of the courses taught, works and projects done by the students, as well as the views of the Ecole de Paris and the Ecole d'application d'Arcueil.
The Société des Ingénieurs civils de France exhibited the memoirs and reports of its work from 1848 to 1904.
Let us also mention Messrs. Leloup and Landry who have devised an interesting process for coating metal beams and thus protecting them from destruction by rust or smoke.
The City of Paris and the Department of the Seine had made a very beautiful exhibition occupying three large rooms; the visitors could thus have a very clear idea of the services which make up the organization of the City of Paris; having moreover devoted to the exhibition of the City of Paris a special chapter of our work, we will not speak about it here more at length.
The Ministry of Public Works presented the main works carried out by the Ponts et Chaussées and the Phares et Balises departments in recent years. It would be necessary to mention everything in these remarkable works of ports, piers, bridges, etc.
The rapid review we have just made of the exhibitors in classes 28 and 29 will give an idea of the importance of French participation in the Civil Engineering class. The exhibits held the attention of all the specialists.
Class 30, comprising bodywork, carpentry, automobiles and cycles, but especially specialising in the large automobile industry, occupied a vast compartment, situated towards the end of the fourth bay.
In the centre of the compartment stood a symbolic monument, giving the whole exhibition a less "garage" appearance.
In recent years, the automobile industry in France has made immense progress, so much so that some of its representatives have gained an enviable reputation throughout the world. Among those who took part in the Liège World's Fair were the Brillié, the Clément, the Darracq, the Renault, the Mors, the Delaunay establishments and others, grouping together, in luxurious stands, various specimens of their manufacture.
Some large associations, the Automobile Club de France, the Chambre syndicale du Cycle et de l'Automobile, the Chambre syndicale de l'automobile, the Association générale automobile were represented in class 30. The General Automobile Association exhibited, among other things, tables, maps and models of signposts.
Around the big names of the automobile and cycle industry, many manufacturers of accessory equipment were grouped. These included acetylene and petroleum lanterns and headlights, bicycle and motorbike parts, motorist glasses, tyres, pumps, springs, engines, etc.
In this genre, there were a number of important companies, Baas, Rodiguès et Cie, Brosse et Cie, both from Paris, the Compagnie des Forges et Aciéries de la Marine et d'Homécourt, Alfred Dinin from Puteaux (Seine), Falk from Menton, Hallam de Nillis of Puteaux (Seine), Petit et Cie of Paris, Rothschild et fils of Paris, the Société anonyme des Pneumatiques Cuir Samson of Paris, the Société anonyme des Etablissements Malicet et Blin of Aubervilliers, the Société Janus of Paris, MM. Emile Vauzelle et Cie of Paris, Vedeine of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Vermot of Paris and others.
This fairly complete representation of the French automobile industry was followed by class 31, whose programme, saddlery and upholstery, was filled by a single exhibitor, with saddle trees.
Finally, there was class 33, which included the equipment of the commercial shipping industry. The equipment was exhibited in a compartment located at the end of the Palais de l'Alimentation. It contained an interesting collection of models and documents sent by the major maritime and river navigation companies; next to it were specimens of the very recent motorboat industry. Life-saving equipment, an indispensable accessory for navigation, also found its place.
The Compagnie Générale des Messageries Maritimes, which exhibited a magnificent model of the 6,054-ton liner La Tourane with 7,200 horsepower, a model of one of its machines and a model of its double-propeller shaft line, was also noteworthy.
The exhibition was completed by numerous drawings and photographs of the liners El Kantara, Tonkin, Magellan, Amazone and Atlantique.
The Compagnie de l'Est Algérien presented a very neat half-model of the Laos, a 130-metre long cargo ship.
The Compagnie générale de navigation Havre - Paris - Lyon - Marseille, the most important of the French inland navigation companies, had also made an important shipment comprising two beautiful models, one of a wheeled tug, the other of a cable towboat. Above these models were their working drawings, followed by drawings of the Missouri, a very long flat-bottomed carrier boat, and then those of a boat and a floating crane.
These different types, used on the Rhône, represented very interesting solutions to the difficult problem of navigation on the Rhône, a river with a very shallow draught and very fast currents.
Alongside these large shipping companies, water sports took their place.
The Delahaye establishments, which, thanks to the qualities of power, regularity and endurance of their vertical "Titan" engines, enjoy a great reputation, exhibited, in a well-decorated stand, two groups of engines, one of 8 HP, the other of 16 HP, and numerous photographs of racers and cruisers, such as the Dubonnet, the Vas-y and others, winners of the races in which they had taken part.
Mr. Arman de Caillaret, a well-known yachtsman, showed a block of his cutter Eva, of an undeniably beautiful and slender cut.
Further on, the builder Decourt-Lacour exhibited a reduction of the lifeboat, Henry system, unsinkable and unchavable, with instantaneous water evacuation. This boat, built in the workshops of La Palice and adopted by many French and foreign rescue societies, can be sailed, rowed or motorised.
In the stand of Mr. Charles Petit, of Paris, manufacturer of diving apparatus, one noticed a diving dummy, covered with a helmet without bolts, allowing, by means of a simple lever, to fix it instantaneously on the head at the time of the dive and in the same way, at the exit of the water, to return the diver to the open air without delay and without it being necessary to unscrew the front glass.
In the stand of the same exhibitor, one also noticed a three-body pump, operated by a simple handwheel, allowing air to be given at a depth of 40 to 50 metres, without great fatigue; this pump constitutes an important improvement on the pendulum pump, with which the effort to be made was considerable.
Finally, a showcase of the Compagnie des Usines de Grenelle contained numerous samples of its products, powders, varnishes, etc., the application of which could be seen on two ship reductions.
All these various objects, exhibited in a cheerfully decorated setting, formed a whole of real attraction for the visitor.
©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle de Liège 1905