Paul Marie Eugène Vieille

Paul Marie Eugène Vieille (2 September 1854 14 January 1934), a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, was a French chemist and the inventor of modern nitrocellulose-based smokeless gunpowder in 1884.

Paul Marie Eugène Vieille
Born(1854-09-02)2 September 1854
Died14 January 1934(1934-01-14) (aged 79)
Known forsmokeless gunpowder
AwardsLeconte Prize (1889)
Scientific career


The new smokeless powder was three times as powerful as black powder for the same weight and left virtually no residues of combustion. Paul Vieille soon became director of the "Laboratoire Central des Poudres et Salpetres" in Paris where his research had taken place. His invention was applied not only to small arms but also to the full range of artillery ammunition. His invention was widely followed within a short time by all the major military powers. Vieille received the Prix Leconte (₣50,000) in 1889 in recognition of his discovery. Veille was a member of the French Academy of Sciences.[1]


  1. Médard, Louis (1994). "L'œuvre scientifique de Paul Vieille (1854-1934) (The scientific work of Paul Vieille (1854-1934) )". Revue d'histoire des sciences (in French). 47 (3–4): 381–404.
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