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Jean-Baptiste Gustave Adolphe Canet

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Jean-Baptiste Gustave Adolphe Canet (1846-1908)

1909 Obituary [1]

JEAN-BAPTISTE GUSTAVE ADOLPHE CANET, the eminent French artillerist and inventor of the gun which bears his name, died at St. Aubin-sur-mer, France, on the 7th October, 1908.

Born at Belfort in 1846, he passed as a young man through the Franco-Prussian war, and subsequently turning his attention to artillery, he joined the late Mr. Josiah Vavasseur at the London Ordnance Works, where he obtained his practical training.

He then established the well-known works at Havre, which, after undergoing considerable development, were amalgamated with the Schneider company’s undertaking at Creusot, Mr. Canet becoming a director of the latter firm.

Mr. Canet was President of the Societe des Ingenieurs Civils de France, and was an honorary member or member of many scientific and technical societies in Europe and America. Besides being a Commander of the Legion of Honour and an Officer of the French Academy, many distinguished foreign decorations had been conferred upon him.

Mr. Canet was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 5th February, 1878, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 11th February, 1908.

1908 Obituary [2]

GUSTAVE CANET, honorary member of the Iron and Steel Institute, died at La Tourelle, St. Aubin-sur-Mer, France, on October 7, 1908.

He was born at Belfort in 1846, and was educated at the Strasburg College up to August 1866. He then entered the Paris Engineering School, Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, where he followed the full course of engineering studies until the autumn of 1869. He first gave his attention to railway construction, and in 1870 he was attached to the railway works at Reichshoffen, Alsace.

Later in the year, the Franco-German War having broken out, he was gazetted Lieutenant of Artillery in the " Gardes Mobiles du Haut-Rhin." He was present at the siege of Brisach, and took an active part in the construction of its lines of defence, being afterwards made prisoner of war and sent to Leipsic. On the close of the war he resumed railway engineering work, and found active 'employment in the construction of the Delle-Porrentruy Railway, Switzerland.

He took the keenest interest in all matters relating to artillery and fortifications, and in August 1872 he accepted an appointment with the London Ordnance Works Company, which at that time was established at Southwark. As early as 1876 he propounded the theory of hydraulic brakes for checking the recoil of guns, and put forward new principles for the construction of gun-carriages and mountings, thus originating a new era in the manufacture of ordnance. The deceased gentleman left Southwark in 1881, and put down an ordnance department at the works of the Societe Anonyme des Forges et Chantiers de la, Mediterranee at Havre, where he remained until 1897. During that period the ordnance department of the French company in question built the armament for the foreign men-of-war designed and constructed at the important shipyards of the firm located on the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic. There were also built the central loading barbettes worked hydraulically, electrically, and by hand, besides other portions of the armament, such, for instance, as torpedo-launching tubes, for a large number of foreign men-of-war.

At the commencement of 1897, Mr. Schneider decided to purchase the artillery works at Havre, as they then stood, from the Forges et Chantiers. He amalgamated those works with the artillery works at Creusot, and placed the whole department thus formed under the directorship of Mr. Canet, who retired at the beginning of 1907, but remained technical adviser to the firm in matters concerning armament.

It will be remembered that after the disastrous explosion on board the French battleship Jena, the expert knowledge of Mr. Canet was again called into requisition by the French Government, when they appointed him a member of the committee formed to investigate the whole question of explosives. He was Past-President of the Societe des Ingenieurs Civils de France, of the Association Amicale des Anciens Eleven de l'Ecole Centrale, and of the Association Francaise pour la Protection de la Propriete Industrielle, having later been elected Honorary President of that association. He was, further, Honorary President of the Chambre Syndicale des Fabricants et Constructeurs de Materiel de Guerre, Honorary Member of the Imperial Technical Society of Russia, President of the Junior Institution of Engineers, Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Naval Architects; Life Member of the Imperial Institute, England; of the Naval Institute of the United States of America, and of the French Societe d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale. He was also a Commander. of the Legion of Honour, an Officer of the French Academy, and held besides many high distinctions from foreign countries for the services he had rendered. In 1900, when the Iron and Steel Institute visited Paris, he acted as a member of the Local Reception Committee, and was subsequently elected an Honorary Member.

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