As head of the mechanical engineering workshops in Le Creusot from 1837 to 1852, François Bourdon was responsible for organising the production of the forges and blast furnaces, and with designing a variety of equipment (shears for cutting sheet metal, riveting machines, reamers, etc.). The Schneider brothers particularly valued the experience in steamship construction he had acquired in the United States and England. It was in this context and to forge extremely large pieces, such as ships’ propeller shafts, that Bourdon designed a steam-powered hammer capable of delivering a 2.5-tonne blow in 1841. This gigantic power hammer replaced the frontal hammer and the trip hammer, rendered obsolete by the increased scale of production, and became the symbol of the industrial power of the Schneider factories and the town of Le Creusot. It also served as the decorative emblem of the Schneider pavilion at the Universal Exposition in 1878.