Gautier, Paul Ferdinand
Paul Ferdinand Gautier (1842-1909)
Gautier began his career at 13, as apprentice. At 18, he worked at Secrétan and in 1866 at Wilhem Eichens (former Secrétan's partner) and in 1876 he establsihed his own affair at 24 rue d’Enfer, near the Observatoire de Paris. When, in 1880, Eichens cannot continue working due to illnes, he became his partner and finaly bought the firm in 1881.
He made most of the astrographers for the “Carte du Ciel” international astronomical programme and most of the big instruments of French Observatories. He constructed important refracting equatorial telescopes, “coudés” and Foucault telescopes, meridian telescopes for the Observatories of France, Austria, Greece, Holland, Vatican, Spain, Argentina and Brazil. His instruments were famous for the quality and precision.
Unfortunately, his career ended with a failure: he constructed the biggest refractor ever made (lens diameter 132 cm) for the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. This refractor never functioned and the enterprise was a financial disaster and ruined Gautier.