Darcy and His Law
Henry Darcy Timeline
Henry Darcy Main
- June 10, 1803: Henry Philibert Gaspard
Darcy born in Dijon, Department of Côte d'Or, France. His
father was a civil servant, (Collector of the Registry) while
his mother was described as a "woman of rare merit"
who ensured he received a good education. Henry had one brother,
- 1815: The French monarchy is restored
with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.
- 1817: Henry's father dies.
- 1821: Henry entered L'Ecole Polytechnique
(Polytechnic School), Paris.
- 1823: Henry admitted to L'Ecole des Ponts
et Chaussées (School of Bridges and Roads), Paris. This
school was a part of the Imperial Corps des Ponts et Chaussées
(Corps of Bridges and Roads). Darcy worked within the Corps for
the remainder of his life.
- 1826: Darcy graduates with a degree in
Civil Engineering and is assigned by the Corps to a position
in the Department of Jura. At the specific request of the Prefect
of Côte d'Or he was transferred to Dijon, and assigned
to perform a preliminary feasibility study for a public water
supply first proposed by Hugues Sambin, 16th century architect
- 1828: Henry married Henriette Carey, an
English native whose family was living in Dijon.
- 1834: Darcy published "Rapport A
M. le Maire et au Conseil Municipal de Dijon sur les Moyens de
Fournir L'Eau Necessaire a Cette Ville" (Report to the Mayor
and the Town Council of Dijon on the Means of Providing Necessary
Water to the City).
- March 5, 1835: His plan for Dijon's water
supply was approved by the Municipal Council.
- March 31, 1837: A royal ordinance declared
the Dijon water project a public utility.
- July 1838: Contract awarded for construction
of Dijon water project.
- March 21, 1839: Work began on the Dijon
- May, 1840: Darcy was appointed Chief Engineer
for the Department of Côte d'Or.
- September 6, 1840: Water was first delivered
to Dijon 18 months after construction start. Work on water distribution
- 1842: The first report of Darcy's "nervous
disorder". He may have suffered chronic effects of meningitis.
- August 31, 1842: Henry was awarded the
Legion of Honor after recommendation by the Prefect of Côte
d'Or and the Minister of the Interior.
- 1844: The Dijon water project was substantially
- 1845: Darcy suffered a period of bad health
while supervising work at Blaisy.
- 1846: The City of Dijon Municipal Council
resolved to provide Darcy free water for life.
- June 1848: Revolution begins in Paris,
which results in the creation of the Second Republic on December
- 1848: Darcy was "unjustly compelled"
to leave Dijon during the 1848 revolution. He works briefly in
Bourges on the Berry Canal.
- 1849-50: Darcy was appointed Engineer
and Chief Director of the Service of Water and Pavements, Paris.
He consulted on the City of Brussels municipal water system,
for which he received the Order of Leopold.
- April 1850: Henry was sent to London to
inspect and report on the paving of streets with macadam, (a
crushed rock system). As a result of this work he was appointed
Divisional Inspector, Paris.
- 1852: Louis Napoleon, after four years
as constitutional President, proclaimed the Second Empire and
names himself Emperor Napoleon III.
- 1853: Darcy loses consciousness while
attending a conference in Paris.
- 1855: Henry returns to Dijon.
- October 29 and 30, 1855: Darcy carried
out the initial sand column experiments.
- December 1855: Darcy requested release
from active duty due to poor health, but continues research.
- February 17 and 18, 1856: Second set of
column experiments carried out.
- 1856: Darcy published "Les Fontaines
Publiques de la Ville de Dijon", with the famous Appendix
- 1857: Darcy published "Recherches
Expérimentales Relatives au Mouvement de l'eau Dans les
Tuyaux", (Experimental Research Relating to the Movement
of Water in Pipes). This presented his research on pipe flow
resistance and was the first work to suggest the existence of
the boundary layer in fluid flow. This publication provides the
basis for his credit in the "Darcy-Weisbach" equation,
even though Wiesbach published before him in 1845.
- January 2, 1858: Darcy died of pneumonia,
age 54 in Paris. His body was taken by rail to Dijon where he
was given a state funeral. The square Château d'Eau is
renamed Place Darcy.
- 1865: Henri Emile Bazin (1829-1917) published
"Recherches Hydrauliques", which reported the results
of open channel flow experiments originally designed with the
aid of Darcy.
- 1865: A. J. Dupuit publishes "Traité
Théorique et Pratique de la Conduite et de la Distribution
des Eaux", (Theoretical Treatise and Practical Control of
the Distribution of Water). In it Dupuit uses Darcy's Law in
the solution for the steady-flow, radial head loss around a pumped
well. This is the first known application of the Law to a traditional
ground water flow problem.
- 1875: Henriette Carey Darcy dies and is
buried beside her husband.