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Suez Canal Company -

Missing picture
Architect(s) : Maurice Gras

Everyone knows that the Suez Canal is a great French achievement created by Ferdinand de Lesseps. But not everyone knows that the entire management of the canal remained French. On the other hand, the importance of the canal is not lost on anyone. In 1870, 486 ships transited with 436,000 tonnes; in 1929, 6,274 ships with 34,511,000 tonnes, i.e. 80 times more.

The draught has increased from 7.5 metres in 1870 to 10.6 metres today and will increase to 13 metres. The width, in the same time, has increased from 22 to 60 metres. So much so that the cube of excavated material has now reached 366 million metres. This represents the volume of a trench similar to that of our boulevards, but which would continue to Lyon. Thanks to this work, the transit time has fallen from 48 to 15 hours. As for the tariffs, still paid in gold francs, they were lowered from 10 francs per tonne of capacity to 6.65 francs.

These are the results and the main lines of the Suez Canal, which you must see in its pavilion. Relief plans, models of equipment, dioramic views (one of which represents the inauguration of the canal), all illustrate for you this first-rate work and its operation. As you may not be able to go there yourself, a moving diorama gives you the illusion of being on the deck of a transiting ship between the Asian shore - a real desert - and the Egyptian shore with its fresh water canal, its fast train, its maritime stations and the enchanted gardens of Ismailia.

Finally, a permanent film shows the Company's workshops and the social institutions that contribute, on a friendly shore, to the excellent reputation of this eminently French work.

©Guide officiel - Exposition Coloniale Internationale - Paris 1931