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Title: From the École des Ponts et Chaussées to Portuguese Railways: the transfer of Technological knowledge and practices in the second half of the 19th century
Authors: Matos, Ana Cardoso de
Diogo, Maria Paula
Editors: Pinheiro, Magda
Keywords: caminho de ferro
Écle des ponts et chaussés
Transferência de tecnologia
Issue Date: 2009
Citation: Ana Cardoso de Matos e Maria Paula Diogo, “From the École des Ponts et Chaussées to Portuguese Railways: the transfer of Technological knowledge and practices in the second half of the 19th century”. In PINHEIRO, Magda (org), Railways Modernization. An Historical Perspective (19th and 20th centuries), Lisboa AIHC/CEHCP-ISCT-IUL, 2009, pp. 77-90. [ISBN: 978-972-99333-7-0]
Abstract: In 19th century Portugal, the concept of modernization is closely related to the construction of the railway network. In this context, in 1845 the Count of Tomar charged the Companhia das Obras Públicas de Portugal (Portuguese Public Works Company) with «building a railway along the bank of the Tagus River, linking Lisbon to the frontier with Spain». However, the project was suspended because of political instability and the company was wound up in 1848. The year 1850 saw the beginning of “fontismo” which brought about a substantial change in the structure of the Portuguese economy, with the development of roads and railways becoming a clear priority. Foreign companies were invited to participate in this infrastructural project by applying both their capital and technical expertise. As these companies used their own technological know-how, management models, and engineers, Portuguese engineers were only used to suggest minor changes and to approve the plans which were presented to the Ministry of Public Works, Trade and Industry. Whit time the role of Portuguese engineers changed as a result of their involvement in the building of the railways. Contact with foreign technological communities and, above all, the opportunity to establish the importance of their specific skills and to apply them on equal terms with their European peers made it possible for Portuguese engineers to see themselves as professionals. The training of these men involved specialising in civil engineering and a consequent mastery of practical know-how on a par with their foreign counterparts. Although civil engineering was clearly perceived as the most promising working area for Portuguese engineers, most of them were hardly familiar with it. In fact, most of them had only been trained as military engineers at the Escola do Exército (Army School) and just a very small group had been sent to abroad to study theory and practice, namely to the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris. During the second half of the 19th century, 27 Portuguese, both senior engineers and promising students, enrolled in courses at the Ecole des Ponts et Chausses. When returning to the motherland, they would dedicate themselves to public works to the modernization of Portugal.
ISBN: 978-972-99333-7-0
Type: bookPart
Appears in Collections:HIS - Publicações - Capítulos de Livros
CIDEHUS - Publicações - Capítulos de Livros

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