Did you know that portfolios of Cockerill machines were published?
From 1859 to 1889, the Cockerill company publishes several editions of its ‘portfolio of the best machines’ ever manufactured by the Cockerill company since 1817.
These plates reveal all sorts of machine: steam engines, locomotives, boats, extracting machines, a gun turntable, a glass polishing machine, rolling machines etc. These demonstrate the company’s flagships, machines which helped to found the international reputation of the Group, such as the extraction pump for the Bleysberg mines (see opposite), one of the most powerful of its time.
The task of gathering together this vast range into an atlas was confided to Hubert Brialmont, the company’s first engineer. This rich array of over 300 plates in three volumes is a witness statement to technology. Through these plans and their accompanying texts, industrialists and knowledgeable members of the public were able to discover, in precise detail, how these machines were designed and how they functioned, what was at stake in creating them and the challenges encountered.
Today, it is as much the technical prowess of these machines as their aesthetic qualities which inspire us, as demonstrated by the neo-Gothic style of the machinery for the lock-gates (see opposite).
And finally, these portfolios are a fine opportunity to pay homage to the legacy handed down by John Cockerill. For even though for many his name evokes blast furnaces and steelmaking, at the beginning John Cockerill wished above all to be an equipment supplier. He displayed a real passion for the new opportunities offered by the development of mechanical engineering and the manufacture of all types of machines, provided they were used for industry.