Georges Leschot would have been proud

The Gotthard Base Tunnel officially opened in the Swiss Alps today; it's 57km length and ultimate 2300m depth mark it as the longest and deepest tunnel in the world.  And, at 17 years in the making, it was also dubbed Switzerland's "project of the century".  It will eventually enable high-speeed rail traffic between Zurich and Milan.

So why would Georges-August Leschot, father of the V&C Leschot Calibre, be proud of this awesome achievement more than 130 years after his death?  Because in 1862 he and his son Rodolphe patented the diamond-core drill which permitted the construction of railway tunnels throughout the world.  This obituary appeared in 1884 Scientific American:

Georges Leschot would have been proud

It's a very interesting article
06/02/2016 - 06:24

I'm amazed to know Georges-August Leschot,

who conceived and built Pantograph, patented diamond-core drill.

He contributed the development not only of watches but also of railway civil engineering.



Thanks--that is very interesting
06/02/2016 - 11:58

I've been wading through Switzerland's history (the poor Swiss kids must have the roughtest Civics class in the world), and the tunnel has come up again and again as a symbol of Swiss unity and fractiousness. Until now, it's been prefaced with "...when it is completed..." and now it's done! What a feat, and it's not a surprise that the man who fathered the V&C Leschot Calibre would have patented the diamond-core drill permitting the construction of the 57K marvel. (We can't even get a high speed rail line between NY and Boston or Dallas and Houston, and the Swiss have a combined highway/railway tunnel drilled though the Alps!)

Light at the end of the tunnel
06/02/2016 - 20:50

You haven't lost your touch, Dean  wink...

An interesting piece of copy.

'A wonderful feat of engineering'

Thanks again


now that is quite a find!
06/03/2016 - 09:18

good to have you back Dean

06/03/2016 - 10:04

Thanks Dean - a very interesting read. It's a shame that the polymath is pretty much extinct nowadays - perhaps we live in a world that is too specialised. A few who I have come to admire (entirely anglo-centric): W H Hudson, CB Fry, D'Israeli. Perhaps George Daniels, in the sense that he mastered many aspects of the watchmaking craft. Of course Da Vinci, Jefferson and so on. 

You might be interested in this Economist article
06/04/2016 - 00:23
Re: You might be interested in this Economist article
06/04/2016 - 21:09

Thanks - it was interesting. The bit about the sheer mass of knowledge one has to learn before adding anything new is inevitable, but it's a shame that academic structures nowadays militate against the polymath as well.

a provocative thesis
06/05/2016 - 18:24

I also wonder if humanity/societies/civiliations tend to retreat into specializaiton as a means of simplification.  We focus on legality instead of justice, medicine instead of health, knowledge instead of wisdom.  I am always amazed when very intelligent people cannot see the difference enlightened.

Re: Georges Leschot would have been proud
06/04/2016 - 23:19

A well-deserved honour for a great man!

You might want to have a look at my article on this man from 2013.

There is a very nice photo of the drill used in boring through mountains based on LeScot's designs.


an excellent article Joseph
06/05/2016 - 18:14

Leschot was the subject of a few stories here on the Lounge, worth a search for those interested.

Nice photo!
06/06/2016 - 05:09

Hello Joseph.

The article is very useful information for me.

Thank you.