Marcel Depréz

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Marcel Deprez

Marcel Deprez [maʀsɛl dɘpʀe] (born December 19, 1843 in Aillant-sur-Milleron , Loiret department , † October 16, 1918 in Vincennes ) was a French physicist and electrical engineer . He is considered a pioneer in the transmission of electrical energy through overhead lines.


Marcel Deprez (1st row, 4th from right) and other celebrities visited the first three-phase power plant in Lauffen am Neckar on September 12, 1891 , which was installed for the electrical engineering exhibition in Frankfurt .

In the 1870s and 1880s he had a decisive influence on his opinion that alternating current is not suitable for power transmission over long distances. Because the technicians had not yet succeeded in developing functioning AC motors, he relied on direct current . Experiments that he carried out here to prove his theory were successful.

At the International Electricity Exhibition in Paris in 1881 , Deprez first demonstrated a device for distributing electrical energy. Two direct current dynamos supplied the devices posted in the Palace of Industry via a 1.8 km long line 27, including a band saw, machines for sewing and folding, as well as incandescent and arc lamps that worked independently of one another. At a conference on June 15, 1882 at the National Conservatory of Arts and Professions, he performed a demonstration to increase the useful power transmitted by line to 3 kW.

Together with Oskar von Miller , in 1882 he carried out the first direct current transmission from Miesbach to Munich . Direct voltage of a maximum of 2 kV was generated in Miesbach , 57 km away , and fed into the Munich Glass Palace via a telegraph line. For this purpose, a steam engine in the Miesbacher Bergwerk drove a generator that set a Gramme motor in motion in Munich, which powered a pump for an artificial waterfall.

Other direct current transmissions are known from Deprez between Vizille and Grenoble (14 km distance) and in 1885 between Creil and Paris (50 km distance) with improved efficiency.

With Jacques-Arsène d'Arsonval , Deprez developed the galvanometer further in 1881 . In addition to his work in the field of electrical engineering, he was also interested in questions of ballistics . His work on pressure measurement in powder gases in 1871 should be mentioned in particular. In 1886 he became professor of electrical engineering at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers and a member of the Academy of Sciences in Paris .


  • Kurt Jäger, Friedrich Heilbronner: Lexicon of electrical engineers . 2nd Edition. VDE Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-8007-2903-6 , p. 99 .

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