His name was originally Marcel Ferdinand Bloch. Early on, almost 100 years ago at age 24, his engineering talent was evident in the discipline of French aeronautics.
Luc Berger, Dassault Aviation historian: "Very quickly he saw that what French airplanes lacked was a good propeller, so he set about designing one. He himself guided the hand of the craftsman, who made it, giving it a gracefully curved shape, and subsequently became involved in its production - at least the prototype - to make it the best possible."
The Eclair propeller was first used on the flying ace, Georges Guynemer’s Spad VII.
"And he realized that what was also lacking in the French airforce, was a two-seater fighter."
As a result of which, in 1918, at the young age of 26, he created the first French combat aircraft, the SEA 4.
In 1936, the Marcel Bloch aircraft company was founded – just before the outbreak of the turbulent Second World War.
"Being Jewish, during the war he was imprisoned by the Vichy government. Having also been a victim of anti-Semitism before the hostilities, he was sent to Buchenwald by the Germans in 1944, where he spent eight months. Upon his return he determined to change his life completely - together with his name. Marcel Bloch became Marcel Dassault, which was his older brother Paul Bloch’s French Resistance code name, meaning "assault tank" in French, which he was given during the Occupation. In the following ten years, he became a great French industrialist. He was already known before the war but he achieved his greatest successes with jet aircraft."
From the Mystère to the Mirage, the Mercure to the Falcon, Dassault today has become an international group renowned for their business and military aviation interests. "It is thanks to him and his feeling for the market duality that we have at Dassault Aviation; these two pillars of civil and military activities, which his vision brought us to where we are today."
A vision that Dassault Aviation will be celebrating for their centenary, with what will surely be a splendid light and sound show, this coming April, at the Grand Palais in Paris.