Edouard Benedictus

All the muses bent over the cradle of Édouard Benedictus at his birth from a Dutch-born Jewish family: he remained both as the inventor of the laminated glass and as one of the masters of the Art Deco style.

Édouard Benedictus presented himself as a descendant of Spinoza and as a witness of Celine's marriage, who lends some of his features to the character of Sosthène de Rodiencourt in Guignol's Band. His aunt Judith Gauthier, daughter of the famous writer, Théophile Gauthier, diverted him from an artistic career that she considered too inauspicious.

After studying chemistry in Germany, he conducted research in his own laboratory in Paris. There, according to his own legend, he discovered Triplex glass in 1903 by dropping a bottle that had contained a celluloid (plastic) solution: the glass had starred under the impact without producing sharp chips. The laminated glass, safety glass for the automobile, was born. The patent was filed in 1909.

After the Great War, he left the sciences to devote himself to the arts: he designed stage sets and costumes, art deco style furnishing fabrics, and even wrote a symphony.

One day in 1903, he was pursuing one of his many projects when a momentous accident happened. He broke a glass container; instead of having the glass swept away and continuing what he was doing, Benedictus' inquiring mind spotted that something unexpected had happened. And on closer inquiry he realized that the flask that previously contained cellulose nitrate-- liquid plastic.

Some time later, immersed in more of his many activities while keeping up with current affairs, he still hadn't forgotten about his accident with the glass. When he saw in the newspaper just how dangerous glass could be, our multi-talented hero worked through the night to see if he could perfect a glass that wouldn't break. And he came up with the idea of a sandwich-- a plastic sandwich-- putting together two layers of glass with a thin film of plastic in between, creating the world's first shatterproof windscreen. And all because of an accident and a bit of scientific thinking, saving thousands of lives across the world every day.

The Triplex Glass Company, which he founded in 1912, was taken over by Saint-Gobain, a car windshield and window manufacturer, in 1927 and moved to the industrial stage.

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