Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe


Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe
Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe.jpg
Alfred Leblanc in airplane, being congratulated by Deutsch de la Meurthe, in Nancy, France after the Circuit de l'Est d'Aviation

Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe (1846 - 1919) was a successful French petroleum businessman (known as the "Oil King of Europe"[1]) and an avid supporter of early aviation. He sponsored a number of prizes to encourage the development of aviation technologies, including the Grand Prix d'Aviation and the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize.

Contents

Biography

The Deutsch de la Meurthe was a French family known for its wealth and patronage in technology and philanthropy, having helped develop the industrial oils industry in France. Venu Lorraine Alexander Deutsch founded a company in 1845 for the processing and marketing of vegetable oils in La Villette, then independent commune of Paris. With the discovery of petroleum oil in Pennsylvania in 1859, Deutsch began to study and develop the use of petroleum oils in France. In 1877, Deutsch brought his two sons, Henri and Emile into the family business, which bought a refinery in Rouen in 1881 and the refinery in St. Loubès in Gironde in 1883. In 1889, in association with the Rothschild brothers, refining oil began in Spain. At this point, Alexander added "the Meurthe" to the family name.

Ecquevilly - Buste d'Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe.jpg

Henri recognized that the future of petroleum sales depended on the development of small internal-combustion engines, and so he promoted automobile development (he presented French President Marie François Sadi Carnot with an automobile) and developed a passion for aviation.[2] Along with Ernest Archdeacon and industrialist Gustave Eiffel, he founded the Aéro-Club de France to promote the new technologies. In order to do this, he used some of his wealth to create a number of monetary prizes as incentives for aviators to achieve certain aviation milestones.

In 1906, Deutsch partnered with Wilbur Wright and Hart Berg to establish a company in France to supply a Wright aircraft to the French government. Deutsch financed the venture by buying the only block of shares to be sold in France, and used his influence with the French government. The effort fell through, however.[1]

He supported the establishment at the initiative of Lazare Weiller, who bought the patents of the Wright brothers and organized demonstration flights piloted by Wilbur Wright in Le Mans beginning on August 8, 1908. Deutsch de la Meurthe also invested in aircraft builders Société Astra (1909) and Nieuport (1911).

At the end of May 1909, Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe offered at the University of Paris[3] a sum of 500,000 francs and an annual pension of 15,000 francs for the creation and maintenance of the Institute Aérotechnique at Saint-Cyr-l'École, which would continue the theoretical research and development of air transport aircraft. It was later integrated into the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.

On May 21, 1911, Deutsch was injured and French Minister of War Maurice Berteaux was killed when a Train monoplane crashed at the beginning of a Paris to Madrid air race.[4]

Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe was made Commander of the Legion of Honor on November 20, 1912.

Prizes

Deutsch de la Meurthe prize

In April 1900, Henri offered the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize, also simply known as the Deutsch prize, of 100,000 francs to the first machine capable of flying a round trip from the Parc Saint Cloud to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and back in less than thirty minutes. The winner of the prize needed to maintain an average ground speed of at least 22 km/h (14 mph) to cover the round trip distance of 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) in the allotted time. The prize was to be available from May 1, 1900 to October 1, 1903.[5]

To win the prize, Alberto Santos-Dumont decided to build a balloon bigger than his earlier craft, the dirigible Number 5. On August 8, 1901 during one of his attempts, his dirigible lost hydrogen gas. It started to descend and was unable to clear the roof of the Trocadero Hotel. A large explosion was then heard. Santos-Dumont survived the explosion and was left hanging in a basket from the side of the hotel. With the help of the crowd he climbed to the roof without injury.

On October 19, 1901, after several attempts and trials, Santos-Dumont launched his Number 6 airship at 2:30 pm. After only nine minutes of flight, Santos-Dumont had rounded the Eiffel Tower, but then suffered an engine failure. To restart the engine, he had to climb back over the gondola rail without a safety harness. The attempt was successful, and he crossed the finish line in 29 minutes 30 seconds. Deutsch de La Meurthe immediately congratulated Santos-Dumont, but quickly a controversy broke out around a last minute rule change regarding the precise timing of the flight, and the timekeeper announced that the flight had failed the time limits by 40 seconds.[5]

There was much public outcry from the crowds watching the flight, as well as comment in the press, but initially the prize was not awarded. Finally, after two weeks of vacillating by the committee of officials, Santos-Dumont was awarded the prize as well as the prize money of 100,000 francs. In a charitable gesture, he gave half the prize to his crew and then donated the other half to the poor of Paris.[5]

Grand Prix d'Aviation

In 1904, Deutsch de la Meurthe in collaboration with Ernest Archdeacon created the Grand Prix d'Aviation (also known as the "Deutsch-Archdeacon Prize"), a prize of 50,000 francs for the first person to fly a circular 1-kilometer course in a heavier-than-air craft.[6] It was won on January 13 1908 by Henry Farman flying a Voisin biplane at Issy-les-Moulineaux in a time of 1 minute 28 seconds, then a distance and speed record.[7][8]

See also

Place des États-Unis

References


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  • DEUTSCH DE LA MEURTHE, HENRI — (1846–1919), French industrialist and philanthropist. Henri was born in Paris, and began his career as an industrialist with the Société des Pétroles, which his father, Alexander Deutsch (d. 1889), had founded. In 1866 Henri and his brother,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Henri Deutsch — de la Meurthe (* 1846; † 1919), eigentlich Henri Deutsch, war ein französischer Industrieller und einer der Gründer des Automobile Club de France. Sein besonderes Interesse galt Luftschiffen und Motorflugzeugen. Er war Stifter des Deutsch Preises …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Deutsch (Familienname) — Deutsch ist ein Familienname. Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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