Mémoire sur l’établissement d’une navigation à grand tirant d’eau, entre Paris et la mer par la voie fluviale. Jacques-Joseph FRIMOT.
Mémoire sur l’établissement d’une navigation à grand tirant d’eau, entre Paris et la mer par la voie fluviale
Mémoire sur l’établissement d’une navigation à grand tirant d’eau, entre Paris et la mer par la voie fluviale
Mémoire sur l’établissement d’une navigation à grand tirant d’eau, entre Paris et la mer par la voie fluviale
Making the Seine Navigable from Paris to Le Havre
New Hydraulic Concerns in the Era of Ocean-Going Steamships
With 2 Large Folding Lithographs
Paris, Ponthieu et Cie, 1827.

Mémoire sur l’établissement d’une navigation à grand tirant d’eau, entre Paris et la mer par la voie fluviale.

8vo [19.2 x 12.6], (2) ff., 128 pp., (2) large folding lithograph plates. Quarter bound in contemporary light brown calf and pink pasteboards, gold-tooled spine. Minor edge wear to spine and covers, some fading to pasteboards. The occasional minor stain, marginal tear at fore-edge of p. 63.

Rare first and only edition – illustrated with 2 large folding lithographs – of an ambitious early 19th-century project proposal for improving the navigability of the Seine between Paris and the port of Le Havre. Jacques-Joseph Frimot (1790-1866), hydraulic engineer of the Corps Royal des Ponts et Chaussées, here confronts the longstanding difficulty of connecting France’s capital to the sea, an increasingly troubling limitation on commerce and colonial ambition in new era of steam power and the building larger draft ships.

Frimot laments that the maritime infrastructure at Le Havre lags behind the ports of Cherbourg and Plymouth, but he has hope that opening up the Seine will lead to the establishment of vast warehouses in Paris which eventually will be connected to Strasbourg (by water or rail) and from there to the lucrative markets in Germany and Switzerland. Frimot outlines the state of professional hydraulic engineering in France (amply equipped for such a project), provides a survey of previous plans to improve the Paris-Le Havre river route beginning with the architect Vauban at the end of the 17th century, and discusses the infeasibility of digging of a lateral canal alongside the Seine due (poor soil, tonnage constraints).

After giving a hydrographic survey of Seine, with special emphasis on hydraulic problem spots (sandbars, seasonal changes in flow rate, etc.), Frimot proposes the construction of breakwaters at the mouth of the river and select dredging/canalization for the stretch of the Seine between Le Havre and Jumièges, illustrating these ideas in a large folding map with an inset illustration of a seawall design. Navigating to Seine further upriver, to Rouen and then to Paris, would require a series of locks to regulate water levels, and in a second folding lithograph Frimot illustrates his design for one of these concrete barrages régulateurs (in plan, elevation, and transverse section). These technical details are accompanied by a full budget for the proposal. Frimot closes with an excursus on the superiority of his river plan over the construction of a Paris-Le Havre railway, with a parallel examination of costs per tonnage of goods moved by these two modern means of transportation. Frimot proposal was not executed, but similar locks were built on the Seine beginning in the 1870s (see L. F. Vernon-Harcourt, passim). Today the Seine remains navigable to seagoing ships only as far as Rouen.

OCLC locates U.S. examples of this title at the Library of Congress, Harvard, Arizona State, Washington and Lee, and Illinois.

* E.-B. Frère, Manuel du Bibliographie Normand, p. 488; Goldsmiths’-Kress 25336.5 (incorrectly called for 3 plates); L. F. Vernon-Harcourt, “The River Seine,” Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers; With Other Selected and Abstracted Papers, vol. 84 (1886), pp. 210-53.

 

Price: $1,800.00

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