The Montparnasse Derailment

On the afternoon of October 22, 1895, Guillaume-Marie Pellerin, the engineer of the Granville–Paris Express train, was irritable. He was behind schedule, though it was anyone’s guess why, since the train left Granville at 8:45 a.m., its usual time. Pellerin hated to be late. The speed of steam locomotive No. 721 may have been slowed by its cargo.…

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The First Tour de France

The very first Tour de France took place in July 1903. The bicycle race is world-famous today but in 1903, it initially did not excite much interest. The six-stage race was scheduled to occur in June, but the registration was far below expectations. Disappointed organizers decided to make a few changes. They delayed the race for…

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Clément Ader Gave Man Wings

In 1890, Clément Ader, aviation pioneer, unveiled his new invention to the world, the steam-powered Éole. It was followed by other flying contraptions, like the Avion III. Ader was a brilliant man with a vision – or a nightmare – of what flying humans would look like. And his inspiration came from the bat.

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