Between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the 1950s, the question of technical training was twice at the centre of national debate. Both these occasions followed a major historical calamity-the defeats of 1870 and the second world war-after which engineering was perceived as central to the future development of the country. In the first period (1880-1918), the development of applied sciences allowed the science faculty at Nancy to initiate the creation of schools awarding diplomas in engineering. Most institutes in Lorraine owe their existence to this historical legacy; half the current engineering diplomas awarded in the Lorraine region are from institutes created at the end of the nineteenth century.