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[en] The authors propose an overview of the history and development of atomic piles. They first describe the process of evolution from the discovery of radioactivity to the creation of the first atomic pile (emergence of nuclear physics, to draw usable energy from matter, to achieve a chain reaction from uranium fission, creation of atomic piles). They describe various aspects of a typical atomic pile, such as the Chicago's one, by describing operating conditions, practical achievements, the pile control, implemented safeties, power measurement, high power piles, pile lifetime, and personnel protection. Then, they address the use of experimental piles, notably for plutonium production (brief description of some piles, description of the Chatillon pile and of Bepo). They propose an overview of the current status of pile technology (consequences of first acquisitions, trends of evolution), and present some new piles (Lopo-Hypo piles, Los Alamos fast reactor). They give an overview of the main innovations published and implemented in 1952. Reprint of a paper published in 'Electricite' journal, March 1953, p. 3-11.