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"Monument to Zénobe Gramme" Top 5 Page for this destination Liège Things to Do Tip by Nemorino

Liège Things to Do: 146 reviews and 360 photos

  1. Zénobe Gramme Monument
by Nemorino
  • 1. Zénobe Gramme Monument - Liège
      1. Zénobe Gramme Monument
    by Nemorino
  • 2. Gramme at age 18 - Liège
      2. Gramme at age 18
    by Nemorino
  • 3. Gramme at age 40 - Liège
      3. Gramme at age 40
    by Nemorino
  • 4. Gramme and his invention - Liège
      4. Gramme and his invention
    by Nemorino

At the east end of Fragnée Bridge, on the right bank of the Meuse River, there is an elaborate monument to the Belgian electrical engineer Zénobe Gramme (1825-1901), the inventor of the industrial dynamo.

Gramme was a practical man (and later in life a successful businessman), not a scientist or theoretician. He made his inventions through trial and error while working with machines in the factory. There is an anecdote about him (I don’t know if this is true, but here it is) saying that when a physicist explained to him how his dynamo worked he shook his head and said that if he had had to know all that he would never have been able to invent it (« s'il m'avait fallu savoir tout cela, je ne l'aurais jamais inventée »).

It is not true that the gram or gramme as a unit of measurement in the metric system was named after Zénobe Gramme. The metric system was first adopted (in France) a quarter century before Zénobe Gramme was even born, and the word gram or gramme was derived from the late Latin word grámma, meaning a small weight.

By the way, as I have explained in one of my Bacharach tips, the French writer Victor Hugo was a fierce opponent of the metric system. He preferred to weigh things in terms of gros, onces and livres, not grams and kilograms.

Second photo: This part of the monument shows Gramme at age 18, during his apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker.

Third photo: Here is Gramme at age 40, deep in thought about how to make a workable industrial dynamo.

Fourth photo: Here at the top of the monument is Gramme with his invention, being admired by a mythological lady.

>>Next: Palais des Congrès (Convention Center)<<

Address: Square Gramme
Directions: GPS 50°37'16.71" North; 5°34'50.44" East

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 21, 2014
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Comments (1)

  • JaneinBelgium's Profile Photo
    Jul 28, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    I live in Belgium and drive from near Boncelles through Liege every week day to Maastricht and beyond to Brunssum, etc. You have finally cured my curiousity about those wonderful statues that I drive under every day! Thank you for the information!!


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