Saturday 28 November 2015

Men of Yore: Georges Auguste Leschot

This is another in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity. 

George Leschot

George-Auguste LESCHOT (1800 - 1884), Watchmaker mechanic and swiss inventor.
Georges-Auguste Leschot is taken on as production engineer in 1839 and proceeds to revolutionize watch-making techniques by adapting the pantograph to the requirements of his industry. He also produced complicated musical clocks, as well as making artificial limbs (prosthesis of artificial limbs). He also invented a wheel-cutting machine for watch movements and built a device to demonstrate the theory of watch movement gearing. His invention of draw in lever escape wheel contributed to the universal adoption in the watch industry worldwide. He also invented a 'diamond drill' for rock piercing and deep well drilling. This invention was patented in 1862 and facilitated the piercing of a majority of tunnels in the world, such as the 'GOTHARD' in the Swiss Alps, as well as oil deep well drilling. This method is still used today worldwide.

1800  Born.
1830  Design of the Swiss anchor escapement which his student, Antoine Léchaud, mass produced.
1839  Invention of the pantograph which allows the standardisation and interchangeability of parts on watches fitted with the same calibre.
1845  In 1845, with Vacheron & Constantin of Geneva, he received from Geneva’s Society of the Arts the official prize 'Auguste de la Rives'
1862  Création d'outils perfectionnés pour fabriquer des mouvements interchangeables et une perforatrice à couronne de diamants.
1876  Receives a gold medal from the Society for the Arts in 1876 for inventing a procedure for perforating hard rocks by means of drills with a crown fitted with black diamonds, perfected by Colladon and used to drill.
1884  Died.

Leschot made many contributions to the world, from small delicate timepieces to large heavy duty drill bits, yet searching the internet to find out more about him will yield little.  It's a shame that he is little known about.  Especially considering that his diamond drill bits allowed civilization to quarry more goods out of the ground and then transport them through otherwise inpenetrable rock.

Just think of all the mineral-based products that either you or other people use throughout their day, and then think about how these mineral goods had to be drilled out of the ground, and transported through tunnels.  Georges Leschot was one of the men that made it possible for those goods to, well, in short, for those goods to be!

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