Jean-François Cail

Jean-François Cail (8 February 1804 – 22 May 1871) was a French entrepreneur and industrialist who was a key figure in French industrialization.

Jean-François Cail (1804-1871).
The tomb of Jean-Francois Cail, Pere La Chaise Cemetery, Paris
Paris townhouse of Jean-François Cail, today Mairie du 8ieme arrondissement.



Jean-François Cail was born the third of eight children on 8 February 1804. He was the son of Charles Cail (1777-1854), a wheelwright, and his wife, Marie Pinpin (1777-1839). The family had a small cottage in the Deux Sevres district, west of Paris.

Partnership with Charles DerosneEdit

Jean-François Cail left home in 1816 to start an apprenticeship as a boilermaker. He ended up in the company of Charles Derosne, a manufacturing chemist involved in creating distillation equipment. Getting on well they founded the company Derosne & Cail in 1832. The company specialised in making alcohol and confectionery from sugar beet, and creating machines to sell for others to follow the process. This included one of the world's first machines to make candy. In 1848 Cail obtained licence to copy the patents of Thomas Russell Crampton and began manufacturing Crampton locomotives as well. He was one of the first railway creators in France.

Derosne died in 1848 and the company got into great trouble because of the 1848 revolution.

Société J. F. Cail & CieEdit

On 6 June 1850 Cail founded the new company Société J. F. Cail & Cie. It continued to be successful in locomotives and expanded to become an international company, branching especially into engineered structures.

Private lifeEdit

Having become a wealthy man, Mr. Cail built a luxurious townhouse in Paris that is used today by the city government as town hall of the 8th arrondissement.

He is buried in an elaborate and huge tomb in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. The tomb lies towards the north-east at the intersection of two paths.


A street in Paris is also named after him: Rue Cail.

Additionally, his name is among in the 72 names engraved on the Eiffel Tower by Gustave Eiffel, in recognition of his contributions to the project.