Adolphe Kégresse

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Adolphe Kégresse seated behind the wheel of the Imperial "Benz". At the main entrance of Catherine Palace, Tsarskoye Selo, Russia, September 9, 1911.

Adolphe Kégresse (1879, Héricourt, Haute-Saône - 1943) was a French military engineer, inventor of the half-track and dual clutch transmission.

Born at Héricourt, and educated in Montbéliard, he moved in 1905 to Saint Petersburg, Russia to work for the Russian Tsar Nicholas II. To improve the mobility of the imperial car park, he invented the Kégresse track to modify normal motor vehicles into half-tracks. He was also a personal chauffeur of Tsar Nicholas II and the Head of the Mechanical Department of the Russian Imperial Garage at Tsarskoye Selo. [1]. The Aide-de-camp to Tsar Nicholas II, Prince Orlov wrote in a letter to the Tsar on May 15.1914:

"... I consider Kegress an irreplaceable worker and I am afraid his leaving will be a great loss for the garage. Your Highness knows, of course, how much His Majesty appreciates Kegress." [2]

In 1908, the architect Lipsky VA designed a second two-storeyed Art Nouveau building for the Russian Imperial garage at Tsaskoye Selo / Pushkin, Saint Petersburg it had a total area of 367.6 sq. M. It housed the garage-residence Adolphe Kegresse. The building is noteworthy and identifiable for inclusion of a grand staircase with an external bas-relief image of one of the first car races that were held regularly in Tsarskoe Selo before the First World War.[3]

After World War I Kégresse was forced to return to his home country, where he was from 1919 employed by the Citroën company during the 1920s and 1930s to design half-track vehicles, together with engineer Jacques Hinstin.

After leaving the Citroën company he developed in 1935 the AutoServe gearbox-transmission system. In 1939 he pioneered the development of modern small guided tracked bombs. Kégresse died in 1943 at Croissy-sur-Seine.

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