Biography of Zénobe Théophile Gramme (1826-1901)

Belgian inventor born April 4, 1826 in Jehay-Bodegnee and died on January 20, 1901 in Bois-Colombes, constructor of a type of Dynamo whose operation meant the beginning of electrical appliances on an industrial scale.

Devoid of all kinds of education, at the age of twenty-five knew just reading and writing. However, it was a skilled worker who got a job as a Modeller in an industrial workshop of Paris in 1856, where he/she showed curiosity by the use of parts which produced components for emerging electrical machines of the time. This led him to reading works of engineering, occupation that became obsession and made him leave his job and locked in a small laboratory that built in the kitchen of his home. His wife and daughter were responsible during this time of their support with the scarce money that provided them the employment of domestic. In 1867 he/she managed his first patent, an imperfect performance AC motor, and two years later was able to modify the Dynamo designed by Siemens, whose unexpected spikes were caused by inadequate design of cylindrical rotor and its switch. Gramme introduced Pacinottidesign modified, annular armature, and thus its Dynamo produced constant electrical voltage and overheating is avoided.

In 1870 he/she founded the Societe General des Machines Magnetoelectriques Gramme, together with count Ivernois, which made necessary capitalist partner. A year later showed before the Academie des Sciences a new model of higher power that caused admiration for its potential industrial employment, which actually is still used in some electrical equipment, although almost all industrial machinery currently works with current AC. Counting on the collaboration of Hippolyte Fontaine, began to successfully manufacture these devices, and to study the transmission of electricity over long distances. In 1873, it was discovered that the Gramme Dynamo could work backwards, as electric motor.

The many awards he/she received include the granting of a bag of 20,000 francs (1888) and the appointment of Knight of the Legion of Honor (1989) by the French Government, as well as the Volta prize.