François-Philippe Charpentier was born in France back in 1734. His father was a bookbinder who made sacrifices so that François could attend a Jesuit college at Blois. After a few years he left so he could support himself. He started working as an engraver of copperplate in Paris. As they say the rest is history.
He invented a way of engraving the copper plate resembling a watercolor (aquatint). A few years later he sold the secret. King Louis XVI appointed him the “Royal Mechanician” providing him a studio. He used a burning-mirror for melting metals without using fire. He also invented a fire-engine adopted in 1771, a machine for drilling metals. He also invented a mechanical engraving machine which enabled lace-manufactures to engrave in a few hours elaborate patterns which would have required several months before his invention. However, it was his invention for lighthouse-illumination that so pleased Louis XVI, that he offered him a pension which François refused.
He invented a machine which bored six gun-barrels at once and a machine that sawed six boards simultaneously. He died as he lived, in poverty in 1817.
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