Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Semaphore Man


Claude Chappe (1763-1805) was the inventor of semaphore communication and honoured with a statue at the junction of rue du Bac and boulevard Saint-Germain in 1893, a century after his device had first been employed to relay messages from Paris to Lille and almost 90 years after his death by suicide at the age of 41. Sadly, his sculptural likeness would last only a few years longer than he did, being destroyed in the Second World War in 1942. His invention would endure for half a century before giving way to the electric telegraph in the 1850s. A special feature of this memorial was the replica semaphore apparatus in front of which the figure of Claude struck a suitably heroic pose. An empty traffic island makes a poor memorial for such an eminent pioneer of modern telecommunications. To read an elegantly drafted account of a road accident at this intersection in 1916, please follow this link. Google Streetview tells us that the café on the left is no more but the bank on the right is still operated by Crédit Lyonnais.


1 comment:

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