Camel 13 of 17

Before my Aunt Virginia died, I tried to get some clarification about where Andreas got his education. Immediately she clarified that Andreas was not an engineer, but a mechanic. She credited him with being one of the first to bring Ford automobiles to Egypt. His father, Haralambos (Harry), actually, was a civil engineer, and built bridges in Germany.

Either one of them could have gone to France to study either mechanics or engineering. But where? A clue exists “engraved” on the Eiffel Tower, just below the first deck of that structure. Seventy-two names of “scientists” appear on the tower as a tribute to Eiffel’s French countrymen. He omitted women scientists, incidentally. Among the 72, Eiffel named 19 engineers, mechanics and an industrialist. The biographies of these people might provide additional clues to where either Andreas or his father, Haralambos might travelled to study these fields in France.

The names of just the engineers and mechanics eliminating astronomers, chemists and physicists follow:

On the side facing the Trocadero:
Marc Sequin (mechanic), Henri Tresca (engineer and mechanic), Eugene Flachat (engineer).

Facing the Military Academy:
Eugene Belgrand (engineer), Gospardy de Prony, Louis Vicat (engineer), Charles Combas (engineering and metallurgy).

Facing Grenelle:
Louis le Chatelier (engineer), Henri di Dion, (engineer), Earnest Gonin (industrialist),
Lois Didier Jousselin (engineer), Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis (engineer), Jacques Triger (engineer), Henri Giffard (engineer).

Facing Paris:
Jules Petiet (engineer), Albert August Perdonnet (engineer), Camille Polonceau (engineer), Emile Clapeyron (engineer), Francois Clement Sauvage (mechanic).

Notice Henri di Dion on the side facing Grenelle, who must be the designer of the di Dion Bouton, in which Thomas Cook gave my grandfather a tour. I wonder if there is any significance placed on which side of the Eiffel Tower these names are placed.

Obviously the possible places of study are numerous. One cannot even assume that it would have been in France? An old Greek bias toward Western European assures us of the uncertainty of the tale that one of them studied in France. The bias comes from the Hellenic Greek Orthodox heritage, which centers itself in Constantinople (Istanbul), one of the reasons for Greece coveting Anatolian territory. The opposing Holy Roman Empire based itself at the Vatican in Rome with the Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church. For 1000 years there has been various levels of antagonism between the two churches, each claiming to be based on truer doctrine. This has given Greeks a Middle Eastern identity, especially when one remembers that Alexander had once conquered the Middle East and named it part of his Hellenic empire.

The Greeks, I understand, have expressed their antipathy toward the West with the term “Fragos” that is sometimes taken to mean France, but can also mean generally “Western”, usually in a derogatory sense. It is conceivable that neither my grandfather, nor his father, ever went to France to study mechanics or civil engineering, despite family lore to the opposite.. It is possible that Andreas could have gone to Liege, Belgium to a known school of technology in the 19th century, where people did speak several languages, including French and German. Switzerland and Germany also had excellent mechanics and engineers. This might account for my great-grandfather’s connection to Germany.

Another possible choice of education for my grandfather has recently surfaced. There was a French school of mechanics in Izmir (Smyrna), another connection to Izmir on the cigarette pack. The fact that it was French, that he was said to be educated by the French, might have been distorted by family lore to mean he went to study in France. That would imply, possibly, some connection to Eustice Halkiopoulos, the doctor in Smyrna, and even to another Halkiopoulos family living in Smyrna, recently discovered in the Anatolian Times found at the Estia library north of Athens:

1. In 1887-88, a new system was established in Smyrna School System. Several new teachers were added to teach music and drawing lessons, one of them being Ms. Halkiopoulou. (“Asia Minor Chronicle”, Vol 1, Athens 1938, pg 456, paragraph 2)

2. Under the supervision of Ms. Haralambia Halkiopoulou and Ms. Dimitroupoulou, the translation of the play “The Mauritanis” (or the Nuns of More) from French to Greek was completed for the publication of “The Phoenix” pages 54 – ??, Issue no. 8. (“Asia Minor Chronicle”, Vol. 2, Athens 1939, pg 44, paragraph #21)

3. From a description of two main roads in central Smyrni, Papaphilippa and Avenue Meimaroglou, “was the large corner house of the rich banker Haralambos Halkiopoulos with his eleven children. This house, which before had lived the Mourati family, which later changed its name to Murat, had the main entrance on the Avenue Meimaroglou, with a second door on our road. This construction made a small road that opens ascending into the road Papaphilippa, and gave the house a face on three roads. On that small road, exactly after the garden wall of the Halkiopoulos family, resided the family Lombard…” (Asia Minor Chronicle, Vol. 13, Athens, 1967, page 245)

(Note: the above articles were paraphrased or quoted from Ms. Elaine Vallianoy’s February , 2009 translation of the “Asia Minor Chronicle”.)

It is not clear whether the Haralambia is a given name or a reference to her father, as still is the custom in Greece with a feminized version of her father’s name Haralambos. Andreas’ father was Haralambos, but family said that he was an engineer. Could he have changed careers? It also is not clear whether Haralambia is the same person as in item 1, or whether she relates to the Haralambos Halkiopoulos family described in item 3.

(Next: Working with the Turks…)


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