7.2.1844 Paris/F - 19.4.1915 Paris/F
Florent Guillain graduated from both the Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées as a maritime engineer. In 1868 he was transferred to the Channel where he contributed during thirteen years to the deep water harbor of Boulogne and improved the entrance of Calais harbor. His great engineering work was Dunkerque Port, however. From 1840 to 1860 the commercial traffic increased by a factor of three although the insufficient harbor equipments. A large sluice gate 117 m long and 21 m wide was essential for a better management of the harbor, which was designed in 1874. Guillain also significantly contributed to the port basins and the improvement of the harbor entrance works. The new port was inaugurated in 1880, based on Guillain's project. A telegraphic submarine cable between France and England for defense purposes originated in Dunkerque and was taken into service in 1881.
Guillain was appointed director of Roads, Navigation and Mines in the Public Works Ministry in 1888, then promoted to Inspecteur Général des Travaux Publics in 1891, and in 1893 presided over the national roads of France. In parallel, Guillain was also politically active as a deputy of the Northern Department of France in 1896, and as a Minister of the French colonies in 1898. He acted as the vice-president of the parliament from 1902 to 1906. Tired of the many commitments, Guillain finally retired in 1906. He was a member of industrial societies and acted also as the administrator of the Suez Canal Company. He was decorated with the order Commander of Légion d'Honneur.
Anonymous (1915). Guillain. La Géographie 30(6): 416.
Coronio, G. (1997). Florent Guillain. 250 ans de l'Ecole des Ponts en cents portraits: 143-145.
Presses de l'Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées: Paris. P
Guillain, F., Plocq, A. (1873). Port et rade de Dunkerque. Motteroz: Paris.
Guillain, F. (1893). Navigation works executed in France from 1876 to 1891. Trans. ASCE 29: 1-96.
Guillain, F. (1901). Rapport fait au nom de la commission relative aux voies navigables, chargée d'examiner le projet de loi ayant pour objet l'extension du port de Dunkerque. Motteroz: Paris.
Guillain, F. (1903). Proposition de loi sur les usines hydrauliques. Motteroz: Paris. Jung, P. (1938). Les travaux d'extension du port de Dunkerque. Travaux 22(1): 1-10.
Meyer, C. (1989). Guillain, Antoine-Florent. Dictionnaire de biographie française 17: 125-126,
M. Prevost, R. d'Amat, H. Tribout de Morembert, eds. Letouzey: Paris.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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