Paul Vieille was born in France in 1854. Vieille became an engineer and in the 1880s began working on the development of a smokeless gunpowder. Military commanders had been complaining for sometime about the problems of giving orders on a battlefield that was swathed in thick smoke from the gunpowder used by the guns.
In 1886 Vieille invented a smokeless gunpowder called Poudre B. Made from gelatinized nitrocellulose mixed with ether and alcohol, it was passed through rollers to form thin sheets, which were cut with a guillotine to flakes of the desired size.
The French Army was the first to use Poudre B but it was not long before other European countries followed their example. It revolutionized the effectiveness of small guns and rifles. Firstly because practically no smoke was formed when the gun was fired and secondly because it was much more powerful than gun powder, giving an accurate rifle range of up to 1000 yards. Paul Vieille died in 1934.