- Jean-François Pinchon
(b Neuville Saint-Vaast, Pas de Calais, April 25, 1842; d Paris, March 7, 1921).
French engineer. Born into a peasant family, he began his career as a stone-dresser, rising rapidly to site supervisor. He formed his own company in 1867 and became interested in reinforced concrete, which he studied for 12 years, during which time he carried out systematic experiments on combining iron and concrete. Unlike most inventors of systems of reinforced concrete, Hennebique aimed at a rigorous understanding of the behaviour of iron and concrete in a load-bearing beam. He observed that, under compression, concrete is preferable to iron, that it does not impede expansion and that its use offers a means to avoid shearing. Accurate deductions based on considerable practical knowledge of and experiments with the material enabled him to devise a system to calculate the correct position for the reinforcement within the concrete, first patented in 1892 when the scientific equipment for the study of concrete was extremely rudimentary.
Hennebique made his first slabs reinforced with iron rods in ...