Gustave Trouvé

French Electrical Genius (1839–1902)

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About the Book

In the latter half of the 19th century, Gustave Pierre Trouvé, a modest but brilliant Parisian electrical engineer, conceived and patented some 75 inventions, including the endoscope, the electric car and the frontal headlamp. He also designed an electric boat—complete with outboard motor, headlight and horn—an electric rifle, an electric piano and luminous fountains, and developed wearable technology and ultraviolet light therapy.
Unlike his famous contemporary Nikola Tesla, who worked for Thomas Edison and was patronized by George Westinghouse, Trouvé never came to America. A confirmed bachelor disinterested in industrialization, he was gradually forgotten following his accidental death in 1902. This expanded edition of the 2012 French first-ever biography of Trouvé details the fascinating life of the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor once dubbed “the French Edison.”

About the Author(s)

Kevin Desmond, a technology historian and biographer, lives near Bordeaux in southern France. Since 1976, he has published 27 books and 300-plus articles on the men and women innovators, often forgotten, behind the progress of transport and related subjects.

Bibliographic Details

Kevin Desmond
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 89 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9709-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1968-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Foreword by John Devitt 1

Preface 3

One • A Boy from the Touraine 7

Two • Paris! 14

Three • From a Workshop in the Rue Vivienne 43

Four • A Point of Light 69

Five • Lamps Without Danger 91

Six • Luminous Fountains and Mechanical Birds 119

Seven • Healing with Light 136

Eight • An Alternative Light Source 153

Nine • Rehabilitating Trouvé 174

Appendix I: Trouvé’s 75 Inventions and Innovations 183

Appendix II: Trouvé in the ­Twenty-First Century 185

Chapter Notes 197

Bibliography 203

Index 205

Book Reviews & Awards

“highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review; “brilliant”—Classic Boat.