Jean-Jacques Keller

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Jean-Balthazar Keller (1638-1702), "Commissaire des fontes de l'Artillerie Royale".
Signature of Jean-Jacques Keller on 1683 cannon Le Protecteur: "Kelleri Tiguro" (i.e. "Keller the Tigurini", of the Tigurini people of the Zürich region).
Keller cannons, Les Invalides.
Emblem on Le Protecteur.
Dragon handle on Le Protecteur.

Jean-Jacques Keller (1635–1700) and his brother Jean-Balthazar Keller (1638–1702) were Swiss gunfounders from Zürich, in the service of France.

Jean-Jacques was considered as one of the most skillful founders of France.[1] In 1669, he became "Master of the foundries" (Commissaire des Fontes) at Douai. He also established other foundries in Besançon, Breisach and Pinerolo.[2] His work was integral part of the plan established by Louvois in 1666 to have the army and artillery reorganized.

Jean-Jacques Keller Canon de 24 (24-pounder cannon), Le Protecteur, founded in 1683. Caliber: 151 mm. Length: 320 cm. Weight: 2,271 kg.

His brother Jean-Balthasar was rather involved with the founding of statues.[2] He famously founded the statue of Louis XIV then located in the Place Vendôme, in December 1692,[3] in a single piece, something never achieved before.[2] The statue was destroyed during the French Revolution on 10 August 1792.[4]

Jean-Jacques met with trouble when some of his guns burst in 1694. He was then replaced by his brother Jean-Balthasar as Commissaire des Fontes at Douai.[2]

The two brothers had a great influence on cannon founding techniques in France, and made thousands of artillery pieces.

The technology they employed, involving the founding of cannons around a plaster core, was superseded by the De Vallière system in 1732.

See also[edit]

Media related to Keller cannon at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ "Jean- Jacques Keller, his older brother, the most skillful cannon founder in the service of France" in One Hundred Years at V.M.I. - Page 263 by William Couper - [1]
  2. ^ a b c d Gunfounding and Gunfounders by Arthur Norris Kennard, p.96-97
  3. ^ The History of Paris, from the Earliest Period to the Present p.27
  4. ^ Galignani's New Paris Guide By A. and W. Galignani p.193