Born in Paris in a modest
Paul Gautier, started to work
as an apprentice at the age of 13. Five years later, he was
a worker in the
then, in 1866, he moved to the workshop of Wilhem
Eichens to whom he succeeded later on.
His instruments are closely related to the
tendencies of the
astronomy of the end of the XIXth century, and are
remarkable for the realization of its screws,
graduated dials and mountings of telescopes. He
provided most of the astrographs dedicated to the "Carte du
Ciel" (Sky Chart). The first sample was made to
his own expense, in 1885.
expertise had no equivalent in France in this field. Most of the
large instruments that equipped the French observatories
came out of his workshop. His most important
devices included equatorial and coude
refractors, telescopes. They were built for French,
Austrian, Greek, Dutch, Vatican, Spanish, Algerian, Argentine,
and Brazilian observatories.
His career of honest, generous and
disinterested man, ended by a
regrettable failure. He built the largest refractor ever made, for
the Paris Great Exhibition of 1900. The
lenses of 49 inches (132 cm) of diameter were assembled at the end
of a horizontal, long tube of more than 195 feet (62m) connected to a
siderostat. However, this realization turned out to be a financial
disaster that ruined the
manufacturer, because it failed to run. After several
instrument could have played an important role in research, but it
unfortunately dismounted and its components were sold.
Member of the Bureau des Longitudes (1897).
- B. BAILLAUD, La Grande Lunette de 1900, Revue CIEL
et TERRE, 19 (1900).
- H. POINCARE, Annuaire du Bureau des Longitudes,(1911)
- J.R. LEVY, Paul Gautier, Dictionary of Scientific
Biography, 14 vol. Ed. Charles Scribner’s sons, New York, 1970-76.
- R. BARTHALOT, L'aventure de la Carte du
Ciel, Ciel et Espace,275, Paris 1992.