Jacques-Constantin Perier, French engineer

Jacques-Constantin Perier, French engineer

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Credit: COLLECTION ABECASIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Jacques-Constantin Perier (1742-1818). 1867 illustration of the French self-taught engineer and businessman Jacques-Constantin Perier. In 1777 he and his brother Charles-Augustus obtained the concession to supply water to the city of Paris and set up a private water company, La Compagnie des Eaux. They followed the example of London by installing at Chaillot in 1782, the first of two steam pumps, designed by James Watt and built in Birmingham. In 1786, following the success of the first pumps, Perier built two copies of Watt's engine in France without any payment to Boulton and Watt following a dispute with Matthew Boulton over the terms of the licence. In 1788, after a financial crisis, La Compagnie des Eaux went bankrupt but its technical success was proven.

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