Leschot, Georges Auguste

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b. 24 March 1800 Geneva, Switzerland
d. 4 February 1884 Geneva, Switzerland
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Swiss clockmaker, inventor of diamond drilling.
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By about 1843, Leschot, who was renowned for designing machines to produce parts of clocks on an industrialized scale, had gathered that the fine, deep lines he found on an Egyptian red porphyry plate must have been cut by diamonds. He thus resurrected a technology that had been largely forgotten over the centuries, when in 1862 his son, who was engaged in constructing a railway line in Italy, was confronted with the problems of tunnelling through hard rock. In Paris he developed a drilling machine consisting of a casing that rotated in a similar way to the American rope drilling method. The crown of the machine was mounted with eight black diamonds, and inside the casing a stream of water circulated continuously to flush out the mud.
He took out his first patent in France in 1862, and followed it with further ones in many European countries and in America. He continued to concentrate on his watchmaker's profession and left the rights to his patents to his son. It was Leschot's ingenious idea of utilizing diamonds for drilling hard rock that was later applied in different mining processes. It influenced a series of further developments in many countries, including those of Alfred Brandt and Major Beaumont in England. In particular, the fact that the hollow casing produced a complete core was of importance for the increasing amount of petroleum prospecting in Pennsylvania after Edwin Laurentine Drake's find of 1859, where M.C.Bullock sunk the first deep well (200 m) in the world by diamond drilling in 1870. The efforts of Per Anton Crælius in Sweden made diamond drilling a success worldwide.
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Further Reading
D.Colladon, 1884, "Notice sur les inventions mécaniques de M.G.Leschot, horloger", Archives des Sciences Physiques et Naturelles 3, XI (1):297–313 (discusses the influences of Leschot's invention on other engineers in Europe).
D.Hoffmann, 1962, "Die Erfindung der Diamantbohrmaschine vor 100 Jahren", Der Anschnitt 14(1):15–19 (contains detailed biographical outlines).
WK

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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