Select Page

The Amazing Rise of a Pioneer in Meteorological Instrumentation

By Daniel J. Lougnot

This article was originally published in the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, Volume 57, Number 2, 2016

In 1999, l’Est Républicain1 a regional newspaper covering the northeastern part of France, published an article mentioning the fact that a company specialized in meteorological instrumentation had operated in Baltimore under the name of Belfort Instruments. The author of this article wondered whether the creator of this company, Julien Friez, might be a native of the Territoire de Belfort, because Friez was a common surname in that area.

A few weeks later, a suite entitled “Yes, Julien Friez was from here” drawing on complementary information provided by a local historian, confirmed the hypothesis that he was really from Grandvillars and emigrated in 1866 at the age of 162.

Figure 14. The Lion of Belfort is a monumental sculpture (height 36 ft., length 72 ft.) by Frédéric Bartholdi, sculptor of the Statue of Liberty in New York, located in Belfort, France. It symbolizes the heroic French resistance during the siege of Belfort, a 103-day Prussian assault (from 3 November 1870 to 15 February 1871).

We are going to discover that this lad from humble origins experienced an exceptional success both at the professional and social level. Having started from nothing—he was a young apprentice at the Viellard-Migeon Company—he came into regular contact with some of the most prominent American scientists during the second part of nineteenth century. And finally, he created his own company and became the world number one in the manufacture, marketing and maintenance of meteorological instruments.


In the middle of nineteenth century, agriculture was in a state of crisis in the eastern part of France while industrial activity showed considerable expansion. Cultivation methods changed and small traditional farms were not able to provide for the needs of rural families whose children were still as numerous as in the previous century. The way of life was evolving and new generations wanted to move on with the ancient model where the management of the farms was the exclusive privilege of the patriarchs.

At the same time, small iron-works, smelting plants, and textile factories grow, reinforce, merge, enter a competition mindset and employ more and more unskilled labor. Thus working-class neighborhoods, consisting of young people that agriculture did not need any more, became established around factories. The workers gathered in new suburbs where the way of life in general had little in common with that of their villages of origin and, above all, the wages for never-ending days’ works allowed nothing but survival.

During the very first decades of the nineteenth century, a few adventurous pioneers from the southern part of Alsace emigrated in an unorganized way to try their luck “in America.” Through mail exchanges with their French families, they raised awareness among the young generations of the possibilities offered by the “New World.” The adventure of railways expanding westwards, the big fortunes made by a few lucky gold diggers, the virgin territories available for agriculture, and the economical ferment of a new nation under construction were all enticing for a youth in quest of an easier life. Consequently, between 1850 and 1860, 950,000 people from German states, 914,000 from Ireland, and 317,000 from the United Kingdom, 77,000 French citizens emigrated to the United States.3 Among them, a little more than one thousand were native to villages belonging to the Territoire de Belfort.4 Most of them made the crossing from Le Havre to New York and Boston, but a significant proportion (about 20%) arrived at New Orleans5 without anyone really knowing the reason why Louisiana was so attractive. Many of these emigrants from Upper Alsace concentrated in three counties, Stark (Ohio), Allen (Indiana), and La Salle (Illinois), and in the New York suburbs.

Figure 1. Julien P. Friez in 1911.

950,000 people from German states, 914,000 from Ireland, and 317,000 from the United Kingdom, 77,000 French citizens emigrated to the United States3. Among them, a little more than one thousand were native to villages belonging to the Territoire de Belfort4. Most of them made the crossing from Le Havre to New York and Boston, but a significant proportion (about 20%) arrived at New Orleans5 without anyone really knowing the reason why Louisiana was so attractive. Many of these emigrants from Upper Alsace concentrated in three counties, Stark (Ohio), Allen (Indiana), and La Salle (Illinois), and in the New York suburbs.

In 1860, crossing the Atlantic from Le Havre to the East Coast took some 20 days on the average. The traveling conditions were hard because of the lack of hygiene, the poor diet, and overcrowding of the steerage—the place where lower class passengers were confined. The boat fare was 100 to 200 francs, approximately 300 to 600 US dollars.


Pierre Julien Friez was born in Grandvillars, at the iron-works’ infirmary, on 15 August 1851 at 5 p.m. He was the second child of Joseph and Marguerite Roy, who married in 1848. His elder sister was born in 1848 and died at the age of ten months. Pierre Julien was followed by four sisters, Lucie, Marie, Marie-Adèle, and Céline.

At the time of Pierre Julien’s birth, his father was a day laborer at the Viellards, a screw and bolt manufacturer operating at Grandvillars. In 1858, he obtained a permanent position as a machinist. He was born in Boron, a small agricultural village two miles from Grandvillars, in 1818; he was the fourth of ten siblings. His parents, Jean-Jacques Friez and Marie Moine, gave up farming and settled in Grandvillars about 1833. Jean-Jacques died prematurely in 1836 and left a widow with a string of children surviving as day laborers at the forge.6

The Friezes formed a sort of dynasty in Boron; some 40 citizens of this village were listed under this surname in the 1836 census and more than one tenth of the baptismal records of the pre-Revolution period in the registers of the Grosne parish—Boron was part of the Grosne parish before 1858—are concerned with the Friezes. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there were so many that the branches of this family were identified with aliases: Près-le-Pont, Haute-Vie, Bocat, Maurice, Rosselat, Jobin, Marchal or Fauchely. The line of Jean-Jacques, Joseph, and Pierre-Julien belonged to the latter. Sometimes, to avoid confusion between homonyms of a given branch, nicknames were used: le Roulier (the carter), le Menuisier (the joiner), Tonthié (uncle in local patois), Jedit (I say, in reference to a verbal tic of a person scattering his speech with “I say”).

The surname Friez was spelled Ferrier or Ferriez during the seventeenth century and Ferriel at earlier times. From the Friezes living today, the genealogy of the family can be traced back over 15 generations. The very first ancestor of this dynasty identified as such is Quelane7 Ferriel who had lived in the middle of the sixteenth century in Recouvrance, in Upper Alsace, some ten miles from Belfort.

Figure 2

Marguerite, Joseph Friez’s spouse, was a Roy from Morvillars, another small industrial town located two miles from Grandvillars. Orphaned on her mother’s side at the age of eight, she was also the daughter of small farmers. Among her ancestry, one finds the Roy, Bougeot, and Rosé surnames and also the Stauffers who were Anabaptist refugees chased from Switzerland.8

Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about Pierre Julien’s childhood and teenage years. According to the family’s memory,9 he attended the boys’ first classes at the school owned by the Viellards, located at the entrance of the factory and reserved for the families of their laborers and employees. Pierre Julien would have also received an initiation to Latin by the priest of Grandvillars, but nothing indicates he was an especially gifted boy.


In April 1865, Pierre Julien’s mother, Marguerite, died from complications following her seventh pregnancy. He was almost 14 and the eldest sibling with four younger sisters, the last one being only 18 months old. Joseph, his father, did not take a long time to find a new partner in the person of Marie-Jeanne Banwarth, a widow living in the neighborhood. Thus, one can wonder whether the prospect of a remarriage had initiated Pierre-Julien’s plans to take his luck in America or maybe it simply accelerated things.

Quite certainly, another element should have decisively inspired this project during his adolescence. His aunt Marianne, a younger sister of his father, married Auguste Duplain in Grandvillars in 1850. In April 1852, the whole Duplain family emigrated to the US, this young couple, seven bride’s siblings, her parents and her grandmother! They passed through Chicago and then into La Salle County. Auguste started a carpentry business in Ottawa (Illinois) where they finally settled. Thus, when his mother died, Pierre-Julien was acquainted with the success and good assimilation of the Duplains who left Grandvillars a few months after his birth.

The passport application introduced by his father for him at Belfort received a favorable opinion and the document was issued on 7 November 1866. Losing no time, he travelled the 500 miles to Le Havre where he had the good luck to find the steamer La Cella which was to weigh anchor with some 500 passengers two days later, on November 20. With this modern ship put in service a few months before, the journey was scheduled not to take more than two weeks. Thus, Pierre-Julien Friez set foot in America on 4 December 1866. While he was sailing to the New World, his father remarried to Marie-Jeanne Banwarth, on 29 November 1866. Strange coincidence!

Figure 3. Enlargement of the eastern part of France showing the places where Julien Friez and his ancestors lived.

And as a sort of sign of heaven to sound the beginning of a new life, when passing through the immigration office, the young emigrant was recorded under the only name of Julien. It is not clear whether it was a mistake of the clerk or if he deliberately omitted his first name, Pierre. The fact remains that from this moment, his official identity will be Julien P. Friez.

Very little is known about the first period of his life in America. It is a known fact that some young emigrants were entitled to intensive English courses. Did he attend such courses? Where and how did he make his living? The very limited funds he might have received from his father did not allow overindulgence.

Obviously, some American biographical sketches give an embroidered overview of this period.10 Thus, he would have taught French and have been registered at the New York University in 1868, in preparation for a bachelor’s degree. Others mention he would have obtained a position in this university the very next day after his arrival in the US.11 Such statements make simply no sense. In fact, it must be kept in mind that when he landed in America at the end of 1866, Julien was only 15 and a half, with a level corresponding to the end of primary school; moreover, we are going to see that in 1867, he had already left the New York area.

This period of Julien Friez’s life remains a gray area.

FROM PROVIDENCE (Rhode Island) TO OTTAWA (Illinois) (1868–1870)

Julien reappeared during 1867 in Providence, 150 miles northeast of New York. He could now speak a few words of English, and he showed up at the door of the small company headed by the great Samuel Morse12 to offer his services. Telegraphy was a fast-growing technological field that needed unskilled labor. Unexpectedly, he was offered a one-dollar-a-day job. He had to supply spare parts to the 30 work stations of the assembly line of telegraph emission keys and reception devices and to keep the stock up-to-date. In his spare time, he was observing the precision machining tools and lending a hand here and there. His motivation, curiosity, and cleverness were appreciated so that Morse included him on a team developing new emission keys.13

It was the first lucky star of his professional career. He was only 16!

However, in this booming business sector, a new reorganization was set up at the end of 1871; Western Union restructured its means of production and parts in Ottawa. At the same time, Elisha Gray, one of the most prominent American physicists, who created a small company producing advanced electric equipment in Cleveland, was willing to develop its activities. For this purpose, he entrusted Robert Hennig who was the supervisor of the Western Union branch in Ottawa and whom he had “poached” with the mission of picking up the best elements in order to constitute the base of the new company he was planning to create.

Figure 4. An emission key of the Morse telegraph.

It turns out that Julien Friez made substantial progress and appeared gifted for precision mechanics and electrotechnique; therefore, Henning offered him a position of production supervisor in the Gray & Barton14 Company to be established in Chicago in 1872. Frank Duplain, who was also in the group of the Western Union defectors, was hired as recruitment manager.

It was the second lucky star of his professional career. He was only 21!


The time Julien Friez worked in Chicago with the Gray & Barton Co. was a particularly fruitful episode in his scientific and professional career. First of all because he spent a lot of time with Elisha Gray, a physicist who made his mark on the history of electrotechniques, and with Enos Barton, a famous manager who became the president of the Western Electric holding; but also because he was involved in several pioneering projects such as the disc phonograph or the musical telegraph, which was at the root of the invention of the synthesizer.15

Julien became a member of a research and development group involved in the design of a new device allowing several electric signals with different frequencies to propagate in a single conductor and to be separated at the end of the line, in one word, the telephone. This invention, which profoundly changed the world of communications, was at the heart of a controversy between Bell and Gray, who registered their original patents on 14 February 1876, one hour apart.16

Sometime later, Barton, who had detected in this young and talented associate a really promising potential, encouraged him to start his own business. And to give a boost, he offered to transfer to him the contract for the installation of the fire alarms network in Philadelphia17 in the frame of a subcontracting agreement. Thus, the J.P. FRIEZ & Co. was founded by fall 1876; it was located at 512 Vine Street in Philadelphia.18

At the personal level, Philadelphia was an important step for Julien; in fact, he met his wife-to-be, Cordelia Schimpf, who was living in the building opposite to the J.P. FRIEZ & Co. She was the daughter of a shoemaker originating from Württemberg. They married the following year.

Figure 5. The founders of the Gray & Barton Co.
First row, in the middle, Elisha Gray ; 3rd row, 2nd left, Enos Barton; 4th row, 3rd left, Julien Friez with the top hat crooked.


A few months later, the installation of the telegraphic fire alarm networking the public buildings of Philadelphia was completed; yet, Julien Friez had trouble finding his way. He came to the conclusion that he still had to learn, over and over again.

Taking advantage of the social network of the German community in which his family-in-law was very active, he came in touch with the Hohl & Co., the American number one in the fabrication of precision timepieces, operating in Baltimore. Soon, he was offered a foreman position to supervise a workshop concerned with innovative products. Julien and Cordelia moved to Baltimore in the fall of 187719 he was 26 and his wife, just 20. Julien applied for naturalization before the Baltimore Court and received American citizenship on 8 October 1879.

His collaboration with Hohl & Co. will be marked by the development of a new process to fabricate brass watchcases. Up to now, they were shaped by a stamping process; Julien, who was an expert in brass processing, suggested shaping them by mechanical processing (turning and milling). This new approach allowed heating associated to press-forming that downgrades the mechanical properties of brass to be reduced and to generate magnificently delicate flutes and ribs.

Within this company, he made friends with Ottmar Mergenthaler,20 August Hohl’s nephew, who was supervising the production lines. In 1883, Mergenthaler set out to create his own company to develop a patent dealing with a new printing technique for newspapers, which he licensed. He asked Julien to join him in this adventure.

It was the third lucky star of his professional career. He was 32!

He spent five years with this new company. During the first two years, Mergenthaler, Friez, and a few others tried in vain to get something from this famous patent. Finally, they decided to give up and tackle the problem from another angle. Within a few months, they developed a new machine with an alphanumeric keyboard, capable of generating letters or words in relief on a support, which could be used in a subsequent step, as a printing plate.21 After some improvements, this composition and printing process will be known as the linotype; and in 1886, the company was renamed The Mergenthaler Linotype Company. The linotype dominated the sector of printing for almost one century, up to the advent of photocomposition.

Figure 6. A German stamp showing Ottmar Mergenthaler and a stock certificate of the Mergenthaler Linotype Co.

After this episode that ensured him recognition and material comfort, Julien Friez wondered again about his future. He was 35, married with two children. Regarding his position at Mergenthaler’s, he wrote in a letter to a cousin: What I can do for him, I can do for myself. In 1888, he decided to visit France and his family in Grandvillars, 22 years after he emigrated. His father was 70, widowed for the second time; two sisters were married, one had died. According the family history, after Julien told his father about his feelings and opinions, he asked him for advice. The answer would have been clear and concise: Mets-toi à ton compte.22

After he returned home, he met Charles Marvin, a distinguished scientist who was heading the Instrumentation Department at the United State Army Signal Corps. During their meeting, Marvin mentioned the creation of a Weather Bureau being considered by Congress, and this new agency would be an important consumer of normalized metrological instrumentation.

Julien borrowed 3,000 dollars and in 1890 he founded the Company, Julien P. Friez, manufacturer of mechanical, electrical and meteorological instruments established at 107 East German Street,23 near the University of Maryland, in the center of Baltimore.
It was the fourth lucky star of his professional career. He was then 38!

During the five ensuing years, he built new devices for meteorology designed by Marvin and ordered by the Weather Bureau, relays and multiplex transmitters for the telephone sector and a variety of chirurgical and odontological instruments. Around 20 experts and associates were working for the company; 24 interestingly, the great majority of them were members of the German community of Baltimore of which Julien Friez was an active member. However, he was not satisfied with the turn of events. His dispositions for inventing or improving could not blossom in this context of sub-contracting. In 1896, he decided to refocus exclusively on meteorology and to develop his own range of instruments. The company simplified its corporate name to Julien P. Friez – Manufacturer of meteorological instruments.

Figure 7. Ad insert of Julien Friez in the R.L. Polk & Co’s Baltimore City Directory of 1892.

It was the fifth lucky star of his professional career. He was 45!


Refocusing on meteorology was a chance because the company could rely on a pool of collaborators trained on the job to launch its own range of products: highly sophisticated equipment for federal weather stations but also simple and general use products for the general public who were discovering this new science. Thus, a great variety of barometers, wind gauges, vanes, altimeters, rain gauges, hygrometers or psychometers and also mechanical and electrical recording devices such as barographs, thermographs, or heliographs were figuring prominently in the catalogues.

The company had achieved a great development so that it was cramped into its premises. In parallel, the Friez family had grown larger. Julien and Cordelia had six children, three sons and three daughters. To get out from this constrained context, the Friezes bought an ancient house with character, in a park with gardens and with large annexes and outbuildings that could be converted into laboratories and workshops. It was located at the corner of North Central Avenue and East Baltimore Street.

Figure 8. The Belfort Observatory after a steel engraving of the beginning of twentieth century (1905).

Between 1899 and 1904, Julien Friez registered several patents dealing with ingenious improvements to wind and rain gauges and also to multichannel electric recorders.25 However, his most remarkable invention is concerned with a portable heliograph of which the US Army made extensive use.26


In 1911, Julien Friez was 60. During the summer, he decided to visit France; he wanted to see his country of origin one more time. Julien, Jr., Lucien, and Adele, three of his children, travelled with him. Of course, they visited Grandvillars and the surrounding area. Of Julien’s family, there was only one niece left, Marguerite Lachiche, his sister Céline’s daughter, who married a hairdresser in Belfort. He paid his respects to his parents whose tombstone was close to the Montrobert chapel in Grandvillars. But the most thrilling moment of this visit was undoubtedly the reception organized by the city council when the mayor, Albert Viellard, and his deputy, Georges Frelechoux, a classmate of Julien’s, handed him a bronze replica of the famous Lion of Belfort (16 inches long and ca 45 lb).

Very much impressed by this reception and touched by this symbolic present, Julien announced to his French hosts that this lion would become the emblem and the trademark of the Baltimore manufacturing plant renamed for the occasion Belfort Meteorological Observatory. When they returned home, he had a copy of the lion carved at the pediment of the main entrance of the new building on Central Avenue.27

Figure 9. Julien paying his respects near the tombstone of his parents in 1911.

In 1913, Julien Friez was hit by a car while riding a bike; seriously injured with a concussion, he spent a few months at the hospital. After recovering, he decided that Julien Jr., his second son, who had just reached majority and married, would be associated to the management of the company. The following year, it was Lucien’s turn to enter the board of directors. This change in the governance of the Friez Company went with an updating of the corporate name that became J.P. Friez & Sons – Belfort Instruments. This period coincides with a great development of air navigation equipment accentuated by World War I. Up to the end of the twenties, they enjoyed a monopoly for the fabrication of altimeters and wind gauges in North America. The company had more than a hundred employees.

In 1915, Julien Friez, who was an inveterate cigar smoker, was diagnosed with a tumor of the larynx. He died a few months later at his home on 9 March 1916, from lung complications after an operation. He was 65.


The estate left by Julien Friez was substantial, and the company assets kept on progressing dramatically during World War I. However, Julien Jr. and Lucien were reluctant to relinquish the model inherited from their father and take the plunge for entering the economic logic of twentieth century. Perhaps they were not as talented as their father. Moreover, the technological shift made during the war to refocus on air navigation equipment had subjected the company to a commercial competition much fiercer than that prevailing in the sector of meteorology.

In August 1919, Julien Jr., widowed a first time and who had remarried one month before, died suddenly from pulmonary embolism at the age of 27. From then on, and under the supervision of Lucien only, the Friez Company declined. In 1929, he entered into negotiations with a young rival company, the Consolidated Instrument Company of America, but ultimately Bendix bought the company. The only concession made by the giant was to associate the memory of Julien Friez to the new corporate name of the company, which became Friez Instrument Division of Bendix Aviation – Meteorological Instruments.

Figure 10. The main gateway of the production building of the J.P. Friez & Sons.

But a few years later, Lucien who had been offered a directorship at Bendix’s New York, found himself in an impasse because he was at a variance with the strategy of the group. Finally, he resigned in 1944.

After the end of World War II, he founded a new company that he sold in 1949. It is active under the name of Belfort Instrument Company.


At the end of the professional biography of this great figure, the question arises as to know what to retain of the man, Julien Friez?

Above all, he was an autodidact. While having started from scratch, a few decades later he was regarded as an expert in precision mechanics, electrotechnique, and meteorology. His knowledge was not only concerned with technology; he had a good command of theoretical basis. As a manager, he was especially skilled for instilling enthusiasm and stimulating the creativity of his coworkers. He liked challenges, more than anything else.


He was a man with an acute sense of the functionality of an instrument, an ability to identify a need and to put forward a solution. A developer rather than an inventor. But also a perfectionist who could not imagine that a highly sophisticated instrument would not be beautiful, with a perfect finishing, a sort of objet d’art. Furthermore, a Havana lover, a grand crus connoisseur, a hedonist who enjoyed relaxing while taking care of his 500 rose bushes.

Figure 13. A recent identity tag of the Belfort Instrument Company.

Finally, a lad of France who became a famous American name. Thanks to him, people living in the Baltimore urban area know the Lion de Belfort.


The author is deeply indebted to K. Barker for searching at the National Museum of American History in Washington (NMAH) and for her help in clarifying the kinship between Friezes and Duplains. Thanks are also due to E. Obrick for sharing pictures and documents.


1 L’Est Républicain, Belfort, 22 April 1999.
2 L’Est Républicain, Belfort, 1 July 1999.
3 L. Dinnerstein, Ethnic Americans, a history of immigration, New York, 4th ed. (1999).
4 Haut-Rhin archives, Passport applications, 4 M 131-135. 478 passports were delivered between 1850 and 1860 to 1038 emigrants (recipients with their families). This number does not take into account the emigrants entering the USA without passport. It is therefore a low estimate.
5 Transcriptions of LISA 90 visited online on 12 November 2015.
6 He died on 9 December 1836 at the age of 46. Seven out of their ten children were still at home.
7 Regional diminutive of Jacquelain, variant of Jacques.
8 This branch contains almost all the names of the Anabaptist families living in this area at the beginning of eighteenth century (Stauffer, Naftzer, Hochstetler, Eicher, Graber, Klopfenstein, Lügenbühl).
9 These pieces of information are mentioned in a short memo written by his daughter Adele. This document is kept in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
10 Richard A. Spencer, Genealogical and Memorial Encyclopedia of the State of Maryland, New York (1919) pp. 332-337.
11 The pride of Belfort, Treknews, June 1990.
12 Samuel Morse was a physicist born in 1791. He was known as the inventor of the electric telegraph and of a binary language to which he gave his name. His genius was to conceive a simple, convenient, practical, efficient, rustic and above all, inexpensive device inspired by the concepts introduced by the most famous physicists of this time – the Gauss, Weber, Ampère or Wheatstone – to transmit information through an electric conductor. From 1840, he initiated the development of long distance telegraphic links. He died in 1872.
13 Left a poor youth, returns rich man in Ottawa Free Trader, 15 November 1912.
14 Born in 1842, after short studies at Rochester University, Barton served as a telegraph operator during the Civil War. In 1869, he joined a company manufacturing electric material and then he associated with Elisha Gray. In 1887, he was appointed president of the Western Union Co. He died in 1916.
15 Electric telegraph for transmitting musical tones, US Patents 166095 and 166096 of 27 Jul 1875 and 173618 of 15 February 1876.
16 A. Edward Evenson, The Telephone Patent Conspiracy of 1876, McFarland & Co. Pub. Jefferson NC (2000).
17 The whole of America had been traumatized by the gigantic fire that devastated Chicago in October 1871, causing more than 300 deaths and leaving 100,000 people homeless.
18 The complete corporate name of the company was: “Manufacturers of and dealers in telegraph instruments and supplies, models and experimental machinery, a specialty”.
19 Wood’s Baltimore City Directory (1877).
20 Born in Württemberg (Germany) in 1854, Ottmar Mergenthaler had been doing an apprenticeship with a clockmaker. He emigrated at the age of 18 and worked at Hahl & Co in Washington. In 1876, he launched his own business and developed a revolutionary machine allowing much faster typesetting than original hand letter-by-letter composition, which he named linotype (line o’ type). He died prematurely in 1899 while he was at the height of his success.
21 Linotype matrix-making machine, US Patent 304,272 – 26 Aug 1884 and Type matrix and mechanism for distributing the same, US Patent 347,630 – 17 Aug 1886.
22 Start your own business.
23 German Street was renamed Redwood Street. Corner Grant.
24 Meteorological Instruments, Baltimore Sunday Herald, 15 April 1894.
25 E. Rudd, Julien P. Friez : An Important American Meteorological Instrument Maker, Rittenhouse 8, 114-123 (1994)
26 A heliograph is a wireless solar telegraph that signals by flashes of sunlight (generally using Morse code) reflected by a mirror. The flashes are produced by momentarily pivoting the mirror, or by interrupting the beam with a shutter. It was a simple but effective instrument for instantaneous optical communication over long distances during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
27 As a continuation of this attachment, his elder son, Frederick, and daughter-in-law, who were proprietors of a hotel in Atlantic City (NJ) named it The Belfort.

©Daniel J. Lougnot (Contact the Author). After an academic career during which he headed research departments working in the field of photochemistry and nanotechnologies, Daniel J. Lougnot retired in 2009 as vice-president of the University of Mulhouse, France. He now lives in a small village near Belfort. He is particularly interested in the history of migrations over times, in this region at the crossroads between France, Switzerland, and Germany. He belongs to several associations involved in heritage preservation and enhancement.