A History of French Technological Inventions

Hello and welcome to The History of French Inventions Timeline. Here you are sure to learn of some of the most revolutionizing technological advancements in human history from Europe's country of France. We will touch on technologies invented as early as 1799 and as late as the beginning of the 2014 calendar year. Enjoy!

1799-01-18 00:00:00

Paper Machine

In 1799, Frenchman Nicholas-Louis Robert (1761-1828) received a patent for his work and development of a model paper machine. Nicholas-Louis Robert developed the idea of the paper machine whilst an accountant at St. Leger Didot's mill in Essones, France. The entirety of the idea was to provide a means for a continuous stream of paper, and at that time, writing was becoming increasingly more popular and standard around the world. Interestingly, though, the paper machine didn't make its way over to the US until 1827. Nicholas-Louis Robert. Born: December 2, 1761. Saint-Eustache, Paris, France. Died: August 8, 1828, Vernouillet, Eure-et-Loir, France.

1827-08-01 00:00:00

Braille Writing System

Believe it or not, things began to become "digital' as early as 1827 when Louis Braille invented the now universal writing system of the blind. Braille was considered the first digital writing system of its time period. Louis Braille was himself blind by the age of three, and later developed his universal language of the blind at the age of 24 while studying at the Institution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles (National Institute for Blind Children). Simply enough, Braille uses a six-dot cell system that can be arranged in 63 different ways to make for 63 different characters within the system. What makes it "digital" for its time period is the idea that Braille is interpreted on embossed paper. Louis Braille. Born: January 4, 1809. Coupvray, France. Died: January 6, 1852, Paris, France.

1870-08-01 00:00:00

The Baudot Code

We begin to see more of a push toward the computing-side of technology in the late 19th century. Emile Baudot developed a character set in 1870 that later became known to be the Baudot Code. Its purpose was to provide a means of sending character sets electronically via communication channels like the telegraph or radio. In computer terms, each character in the alphabet of the Baudot Code is stored as a series of bits and strings that are transmitted via telegraph or radio signals. Not surprisingly, the Baudot Code is no longer used today as it is entirely outdated. Émile Baudot. Born: September 11, 1845, Magneux, Haute-Marne, France. Died: March 28, 1903, Sceaux, France.

1913-08-01 00:00:00

Wirephoto (Belinograph)

The Belinographe was developed to provide a wireless means for sending and receiving photographic images. Belin's device worked by measuring light intensity via an electric eye after intensity levels of an image were transmitted to a receiver. This electric eye would reproduce the light intensities it gathered from the receiver and hard press them onto photographic paper. Belin's device became more efficient in 1921 when images could be sent and received via radio waves. Even later, this process would be adapted and further developed in the age of the photocopier saga. Edouard Belin. Born: 1876, France. Died: 1963.

1960-08-01 00:00:00

Computer-Aided Design

Pierre Bezier, one of the most notable French engineers of his age, is noted for pioneering the development and implementation of computer-aided design. Also realized for the mathematical expert that he was, Bezier developed the Bezier curves which served as the mathematical basis for his research and work on developing computer software to visualize design ideas. He is equally noted for his work on the UNISURF system while researching at Renault in the 1960s when he devoted his time to creating and implemented software to aid other engineers in their design methodologies. What's interesting to draw from here is that computer-aided design is everywhere we look today, and is becoming even more realistic and virtual than it ever once was. We rely on computer-aided design in not only engineering, but in the architectures an auto industry amongst many others. Pierre Bezier. Born: September 1, 1910, Paris, France. Died: November 25, 1999.

1974-08-01 00:00:00

Smart Cards

Smart cards were introduced into the French markets in 1974 upon the development of the technology by Roland Moreno. Smart cards, not to be confused with the American magnetic stripe credit cards, are "integrated circuit cards with memory capable of making decisions." Out of this invention came a new and more efficient means of payment transactions, and later to the Carte bleue, the French national debit card system. Now look where we are today with over 1000's of credit card companies around the globe today. Interesting how quickly we adapted to Moreno's idea of card transactions despite early and brief hesitation from initial consumers. Roland Moreno. Born: June 11, 1945, Cairo, Egypt. Died: April 29, 2012, Paris, France. Although not a French-born native, Moreno moved to France when he was very young (age not clear, but likely as a young child) and spent the remainder of his life in France. He is considered a French inventor.

1997-06-11 00:00:00

Camera Phone

We now live in a world of nearly instantaneous gratification. Especially in the ways we are able to communicate with one another nowadays. But what about Phillipe Kahn's invention of the camera phone in 1997? Well, that might have something to do with how quickly we expect to receive things these days. Kahn essentially pioneered a technology that revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Being the visual creatures that we are, and after all, seeing is believing, Kahn devised a software that would send and receive images instantaneously. He programmed this software into what was his cell phone at the time and manually added a camera lens and programmed it to work simultaneously with his phone and software development before sending pictures of his newborn daughter to friends, family, and colleagues all over the world shortly after the baby had arrived. And now look where we are today: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, vimeo, YouTube, and the list goes on. We instantly tell the world what is going on in our lives through media, images and videos alike. Mind you that all of these technologies are all compatible with our cell phones now as well. Philippe Kahn. Born: March 16, 1952 (age 62), Paris, France. Philippe is still alive and well as CEO of Fullpower Technologies.

A History of French Technological Inventions

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