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Evence Coppee

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Baron Evence Narcisse Joseph Coppee (1851-1925), of Coppee Co


1926 Obituary [1]

EVENCE NARCISSE JOSEPH, Baron COPPEE, Chevalier de l'Ordre de Leopold, was born in 1851, and studied at the Ecole des Mines, Louvain, taking degrees in Arts, Mining Engineering, and Civil Engineering, in the University of that city in 1872.

He was the son of Mr. Evence Dieudonne Coppee, the inventor of the closed retort coke oven, which in and about 1850 inaugurated a revolution in the coke industry.

On succeeding to his father's business when quite a young man, Baron Coppee was responsible for the numerous developments which have in the course of time sprung from the first Coppee oven. At the end of last century, Baron Coppee took vigorous participation in the by-product industry, and became interested both technically and financially in many coking installations, to such an extent indeed that at his death he was the principal producer of coke and by-products in Belgium.

He was also responsible for the establishment of Coppee by-product ovens in many other countries. Realizing the great saving to be effected by the proper treatment of coals, lie was successful in the development of coal-washing, and became one of the most important constructors of coal washeries on the Continent.

He was the owner of large engineering works in which practically all the material for his Continental plants was manufactured, and between the years 1886 and 1910 he acquired successively the collieries of Ressaix, Leval, Peronnes, Mont St. Aldegonde, and Houssu (Belgium), with an aggregate production of about 1,400,000 tons of coal, 300,000 tons of coke, and 50,000 tons of patent fuel per annum.

In later life he became the pioneer of what is today one of the commercial hopes of Belgium — the new coal-field of Limbourg en Campine. In this field, with the co-operation of the important French metallurgical interests at Le Creusot, an exploitation company was formed under the name of the Charbonnages de Winterslag, and the result of its operations has been the establishment of what is undoubtedly one of the finest collieries on the Continent.

Baron Coppee had wide interests in steel production, in banking matters, and in the shipping industry, and it may truly be said that he contributed seriously to the economic development of Belgium. For the important part he played in this direction he was made a Baron by King Leopold in 1912.

His interests too extended to England both in mining affairs and in the development of the by-product industry. Baron Coppee died at the Chateau de Roumont on 24th June 1925.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1885.


1925 Obituary [2]

Baron EVENCE COPPEE was born in 1851, and after a brilliant scholastic career he took his degrees in Arts, Mining Engineering, and Civil Engineering in 1872 at the University of Louvain. He was the son of M. Evence Dieudonne Coppee, the inventor of the closed retort coke-oven, which about 1850 created a revolution in the coking industry. These ovens rapidly took the place of the old beehive ovens, and all the modern types of coke-ovens have evolved from this closed-retort oven.

On succeeding to his father's business when quite a young man, Baron Coppee devoted himself to the coke-oven industry, and was responsible for the many developments which have sprung from the first Coppee oven, and which are still being built in countries where the recovery of by-products is of no advantage. It is interesting to note that Baron Coppee's father started a plant of Coppee retort ovens in 1850 at Haine St. Pierre, Belgium, which is still the property of the Coppee family. The original battery has been replaced by more modern ones as one improvement succeeded another, and it is expected that the latest type of high temperature, large output ovens built of silica brick will shortly he started there.

At the end of the last century Baron Coppee participated very vigorously in the by-product industry, and became not only interested financially in many plants, but was the actual owner of numerous by- product coking installations. At the time of his death he was, in fact, the principal producer of coke and by-products in Belgium. Realising the great saving to be effected by the proper treatment 'of coals, he devoted much time to the development of the coal-washing industry which his father had begun to study about 1858, and in this connection. again Baron Coppee became known as one of the most important constructors of coal-washeries on the Continent.

During the years 1886 to 1910 he acquired successively the collieries of Ressaix, Leval, Peronnes, Mont St. Aldegonde, and Houssu (Belgium), which he amalgamated into one company under his control, and of which the production at present is about 1,400,000 tons of coal, 300,000 tons of coke, and 50,000 tons of patent fuel per annum.

In later life he became the pioneer of what is to-day one of the commercial hopes of Belgium, namely, the development of the new coalfield of Limbourg en Campine. His Colliery Company at Ressaix and Messrs. Schneider's Company at Le Creusot (France) formed a new company known as the Charbonnages de Winterslag for the exploitation of the coal concessions in Campine. The output of the new colliery, which is undoubtedly one of the best equipped on the Continent at present, is about 700,000 tons per annum.

Besides promoting other colliery undertakings, he was interested in steel production, banking business, and the shipping industry, so that it may be said of him that he played an important part in the economic development of Belgium. He had some interest likewise in mining affairs in Great Britain, and in the development of the by- product industry in that country. For the great part which he played in the industrial world of Belgium, he was created a Baron by Bing Albert in 1912.

As President of one of the sectional Associations of Colliery Owners in Belgium, he became during the war the President of the Federation of Coal Owners' Associations in Belgium. In this position it fell to him to take certain measures in accord with the Belgian Government, then at Havre, who decided the course of economic policy during the occupation of the country by the Germans. It was this policy which involved Baron Coppee in the famous case known as the "Affaire Coppee" on the Continent, which case terminated entirely in his favour. He is succeeded by his son, the present Baron Coppee, who is forty-two years of age, and has for the last twenty years taken an active part in the business.

Baron Evence Poppee was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1887.



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