Eugène Schneider died suddenly at his home in Paris on November 17th, 1942, at the age of 74.

He was born at Le Creusot, and was the grandson of the Joseph Eugène Schneider who, in 1838, in conjunction with his brother Adolf, purchased the Royal Iron foundries which had been established there in 1782 by William Wilkinson to work the process of making pig iron with coke. Incidentally, Nasmyth saw the first steam hammer — his own invention — at work at Le Creusot a hundred years ago, before he had patented it. Then later Eugene Schneider was apprenticed to his father, Henri, who took him into partnership in 1887, and on his father’s death in 1898 he became sole head of the concern which exercised a dominating influence in the engineering and armament industry of France, her Colonial Empire, and a large part of Central Europe until the occupation of Northern France by the Germans. The works have since been almost demolished by the R.A.F. on October 17th, 1942.

Eugène Schneider was an outstanding personality. He was a member of the Chamber of Deputies from 1896 to 1910, and was always in close touch with the Government of his country. In 1917 he was invited to accept the presidency of the Iron and Steel Institute and occupied that position with distinction for two years, 1918-1920. This, in conjunction with the requirements of the Great War, brought him into close touch with the leading men in the iron and steel industry of this country. In 1918 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy.

In 1919 he went to America as the head of a French Government Mission, and was accorded many honours, including the Gold Medal of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America and honorary membership of the American Iron and Steel Institute. On his return to France he extended the already world-wide activities of Le Creusot by the manufacture of oil engines for motor ships and submarines, and he was also interested in the electrification schemes which were in process of development in France. His genius for organization enabled him to obtain financial and operative control over a vast number of concerns in Central Europe, including the Skoda Works in Czecho-Slovakia and mining and steel interests in Poland and Hungary, in addition to many industrial works in France itself.

In 1930, he was awarded the Bessemer Gold Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute, an honour which his father, the late Henri Schneider, had also received some years previously. With the collapse of France in June, 1940, Eugène Schneider’s control over the Le Creusot works and the many other interests which he had developed ceased, and there can be little doubt that the destruction of his life’s work must have contributed largely to his decease while still capable of much active participation in industrial developments.

Vol. 52, Trans I.M.M., 1942-43, pp.400-401

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