Iron, potato masher, “Mille Bornes” … The ten inventions that marked the Lépine competition

Health, transport, household appliances, environment, digital … Some five hundred inventors in many fields enter into competition every year for the Lépine competition, which rewards the best inventions in France. The 2021 edition is exceptionally housed within the Paris Autumn Fair, which opens Saturday, October 23 Porte de Versailles, in Paris.

→ GAME. Lépine, inventors … Our quiz on the heroes of invention

Created in 1901 by Louis Lépine, then prefect of the Seine, the competition revealed many objects which subsequently imposed themselves (or not) in the daily life of the French, even in their homes or their workplaces. Back to ten symbolic inventions.

► The dishwasher (1912)

Among the rare women to be among the laureates, Ms. Labrousse won the Lépine competition in 1912 with a prototype dishwasher, which will constitute a revolution in French households and become more democratic in the 1980s.

► The iron (1921)

Invented and awarded in 1921, the first steam iron was invented by Constantin Caroni. The prototype is already equipped with a thermostat. Unlike previous models, it is no longer necessary to wet the laundry and use charcoal to heat the appliance.

► The Moulinex potato masher (1931)

The Lépine competition is also at the origin of one of the greatest French industrial successes. It was in 1931 that Jean Mantelet invented the potato masher, which would become the flagship product of his company, called Moulinex in 1937. Its marketing very quickly met with resounding success.

► The artificial heart (1937)

Seventy-two years ago Carmat, Doctor Henry developed an artificial heart which won him the first prize in 1937. A sort of ancestor of the pacemaker, the device was placed outside the body.

Iron, potato masher,

► The “Thousand Terminals” (1956)

The famous board game with boots and thickets won the Lépine in 1956. Designed by Edmond Dujardin, a designer of tests for driving schools, its name is inspired by the number of kilometers of the national road 7. It is still today. hui sold nearly 400,000 copies each year in France.

► The Riviera Bacs (1957)

The object seems common to us today but, when it was successful in the competition in 1957, it did not yet equip living rooms and balconies. Over the years, Riviera plant containers, fitted with a water reserve at the bottom of the pot, have established themselves in households and nearly 5,000 are still manufactured every day.

Iron, potato masher,

► A pocket refrigerator (2005)

Designed in 2005 by the company Microlife France, the “TravelMate”,no larger than a cigar case, can hold three insulin doses for five days. Uwe Diegel, designer of the object, was inspired by his diabetic brother and wanted to allow him to travel without worrying about his health.

Iron, potato masher,

► An antipollution process for pumping oil (2011)

One year after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform which caused a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, André Boniface won the competition for the second time in 2011 thanks to the invention of an innovative process for pumping hydrocarbons. on the high seas and limit pollution.

► The “Pani Vending” bread distributor (2014)

A nightmare for artisan bakers, this distributor was nevertheless imagined in 2014 by one of them, Jean-Louis Hecht, who wanted to spend his evenings with his family and no longer serve late customers. The “Pani Vending” allows you to store 120 frozen bread baguettes, bake them and serve them at any time of the day or night.

Iron, potato masher,

► A machine to compact and recycle bottles (2015)

The Lépine competition adapts its rewards to the age of time. In recent years, several inventions have thus stood out for their ecological character. Developed by the Canibal company, the “Machine Digitale à Recycler” (in French) “eats” cups, bottles and cans; sorts and compacts them for recycling. She was the winner of the 2015 edition of the competition.

Iron, potato masher,


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