Science Hunters: Mark Seguin, Conquer the Railroad

For this episode of Science Hunters, Sit aboard the Seguin and set out to explore the French Railways. On our side, one of the pioneers of the French railways and the nephew of the inventor of the balloon: Marc Seguin

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Marc Seguin is one of the inventors who marked the history of French engineering. The famous nephew of Joseph de Montgolfier, who co-invented the hot air balloon, grew up surrounded by machines that fascinate and inspire him. In 1822, when he was 36 years old, he embarked on a period of innovation that made him one of the 72 scholars whose name was recorded on the Eiffel Tower.

Among his inventions was the Seguin tug. Watch the expansion path Act In France, it was six times more powerful than the steam locomotives of the time, and it made its way to the Speed An impressive (for that time) 30 km / h. Get on the plane, we’ll take you.

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you welcome in Science Hunters, A podcast produced by Futura. My name is Frank, and I’ll be your time guide on this trip. Today, we take the train to meet Mark Seguin, the pioneer of the great railroad history. Listen Science HuntersIf you like this podcast, feel free to support us by sharing it on social networks And by leaving us a note on the distribution platforms.

October 1, 1829, Lyon Central Station. Marc Seguin rests in front of his mechanism controls, hands resting on his control levers. metal Glove Wood. Feel it pulse Trembling at his fingertips, he enters into a silent conversation with the craft. In a few moments, he will set off on his train in the direction of Saint-Etienne. On the catwalk, the excitement has reached its peak. Journalists and curious have gathered about this very strange machine: the Seguin locomotive that will make its first turn. The passengers took their places on the train, and the whistle blew. Mark Seguin, cheered with pride, pushes a few levers and the locomotive goes, blowing out and spitting smoke and steam. She accelerates and drags the driver’s heart with it. The machine reaches a top speed of 12 km / h. It might sound silly today, but at the time it was an achievement, a new record set in history. Mark Seguin was the first to drive a tubular kettle locomotive.

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Mark Seguin was born on April 20, 1786, in Anonnay. He is the eldest son of Marc Francois Seguin and Augustine Therese de Montgolfier. If this name means anything to you, it is because Mark’s elder uncle is none other than the famous Joseph de Montgolfier, who invented the hot air balloon with his brother Jacques Etienne. This infamous parent guides the little boy in his science learning and regularly invites him to his music lab where he discovers a whole world of instruments that fascinate him. He entered his business life, and joined the family paper factory, where his mission was to attract clients. Then he established with his brother a stationery factory Felt.

On a cold morning at the end of 1822, Mark stood on the sidewalk in Brest. Then 36 years old, him brain Full of ideas just waiting to be fulfilled. There is another thing exploding right in front of it: the steamer’s boiler crossing the harbor underneath eyes. It does not need more. This simple vision gave him the idea of ​​setting up the steam carriage company at a fixed point on the Rhone River in 1825 with Pierre François de Montgolfier and Louis Henri Daniel Dayem. This curious name requires some explanation. When the boats descend from the Rhone, all they have to do is allow the stream to carry. On the other hand, to go up to the Rhone River, boats must be pulled from the shore by horses by cables. Marc Seguin’s idea is to replace the horses with cranes that are driven by a steam engine on the beach. Cables attached to the boats wrap around the crane, pulling the crane. Unfortunately, the boilers that power the steam engine are not powerful enough. Two years after the establishment of the company, a boat hit a bridge pile in Lyon. The kettle exploded and the boat sank, killing 28 people. Liquidation of the company.

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This unfortunate experience is not without learning, because that is what prompted Mark Siegwen to imagine a tubular cauldron. The heating body is crossed there by multiple tubes in which it rotates Gas, Which ensures a better distribution of the heat. A revolutionary operation that makes it possible to multiply the power of the locomotive by six!

In 1825, Mark went to England and became friends with engineer George Stephenson. There, help her build the “missile,” “No. Rocket In French, one of the first steam locomotives of tube boilers based on his invention. Convinced of the possibilities of rail transport, he proposed that the French government build a railway line 56 km long between Saint-Etienne and Lyon. The line was awarded to the Seguin brothers and two other entities on March 7, 1827. Mark faced many difficulties for Seguin. Construction From his streak. The law of expropriation was not in place at the time, and he had to use a lot of tricks to be successful in purchasing the land. One day, the inventor goes to a private individual to conduct cadastral surveys. Nobody responds when knocked on Door. As he usually does in this situation, Seguin does not disassemble himself, enter possessions and initiate his scans. If the owner comes to scold him, he will have arguments ready to placate him. But this time things are not going as planned. Upon discovering an intruder on his land, the farmer who owns the place picks up his rifle and fires a bullet in his direction. Fortunately, he hardly misses him, but he leaves a bitter memory in Mark Seguin.

In the summer of 1830, a first division of the line between Givors and Rive-de-Gier opened. It was initially used in cargo service and for several months, horses were used for traction. Then the Seguin tug made its first turns, a few days before George Stephenson’s “La fusée”. The second and third sections were opened in 1832 between Lyon and Givor and between Rive-de-Gere and Saint-Etienne, and is still transporting goods.

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In the same year, travelers are gradually accepted. And if you thought the RER was uncomfortable, imagine that at the time, they only had straw strewn on the floor to ensure their comfort. However, other modes of transportation, including horse stations, see this new competition very poorly, regularly sabotaging the line by derailing trains, blowing up boilers, or setting wagons on fire – a task greatly facilitated by Dry straw lining the panels. When vandals aren’t the ones who hurt Seguin, it is the travelers themselves who do. They cut the sheets on the seats to make jackets, and used the leather straps on the seats Windows Like suspenders.

Despite these setbacks, the company has operated the line for 26 years. In 1853, the Seguin Company disappeared with two neighboring railway companies. The three companies merged to give birth to a new one: Compagnie des chemin de fer de junction du Rhône à la Loire.

Affected by a chest infection, Mark Seguin died on February 24, 1875 at the age of 88. In addition to river navigation, steam locomotives, and railroads, he was also an originator of cable-stayed bridges, participated in the aviation business by building flying machines and wrote various books. Considered the father of French railways, he revolutionized the world of transportation and is one of 72 scientists whose name was recorded on the Eiffel Tower.

Thank you for listening Science Hunters. The music for this episode was composed by Patricia Chailda. To text and narration: Frank Minant. If you appreciate our work, feel free to subscribe and leave us a comment and five stars On distribution platforms to support us and improve our visibility. You can find us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Deezer, Castbox and many more so you never miss an episode. As for me, I’ll meet you soon for a future time expedition, in Science Hunters.

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