Carl Wilhelm Siemens

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Wilhelm Siemens (1880), photograph illuminated by electric light
Chronometric controller from the Siemens brothers, improved version

Carl Wilhelm Siemens (born April 4, 1823 in Lenthe , Kingdom of Hanover , today Gehrden , Lower Saxony , † November 19, 1883 in London ) was a German-born inventor, engineer, natural scientist and industrialist from the Siemens family , who received British citizenship in 1859 accepted (from then on Charles William Siemens or after his accolade in 1883 Sir William Siemens ).

He was one of the Werner von Siemens brothers and built up the English branch of Siemens & Halske .


Wilhelm Siemens was a son of the landlord Christian Ferdinand Siemens from the old Goslar city ​​family Siemens . His academic training began - like that of his brother Werner - at the Katharineum in Lübeck , continued at the Magdeburg Industrial and Commercial School , where he lived with his brother, who was an artillery officer there and taught him mathematics, and graduated in a year of study at the University of Göttingen with his brother-in-law, the physics professor Carl Himly .

He then entered the Gräflich Stolbergische Maschinenbauanstalt in Magdeburg as an apprentice . There, under the guidance of his brother Werner, who is now working at the Berlin Artillery Workshop , he developed the differential controller , an exact regulation for steam engines (later also referred to as a chronometric controller ). Shortly before (1841) Werner had already developed a new method of electro-coating , in particular for silver and gold plating. In order to exploit this invention economically, Wilhelm Siemens temporarily went to London in 1843, where he sold the electroplating process to cousins ​​Henry and George Richards Elkington . In 1844 he returned to England with the differential regulator developed by him and Werner. This controller enabled better control of changes in speed of the driven axle caused by load fluctuations than the centrifugal governor from Watt . In 1845 Michael Faraday introduced him to the scientifically interested public in England in a lecture with his further development of the anastatic printing process (which was related to the later electrophotography ). The well-developed possibilities of protection offered by the English patent system to inventors meant that he stayed in England and finally, with his marriage in 1859, was naturalized.

In 1850 he took over the London sales agency for the telegraph construction company Siemens & Halske founded by Werner in Berlin in 1847 . From 1858 the London branch operated independently as Siemens, Halske & Co , and from 1865 as Siemens Brothers & Co. Wilhelm was involved in her - alongside the brothers Werner and Carl  - as a partner.

In 1859 he married Anne Gordon (1821-1901), the niece of his business friend Lewis Gordon, professor of engineering at the University of Glasgow. He was a partner in the wire rope factory RS Newall & Co , which manufactured submarine cables and ordered telegraph equipment from Siemens & Halske from 1853 and issued test orders for submarine cables from 1857, thereby enabling Siemens to enter the deep-sea cable business. The couple had no children. William put his employee Alexander Siemens , a son of his cousin 3rd degree Gustav Siemens , in place at Siemens Brothers & Co. a.

The cable ship Faraday (1874)

In 1863 he opened his own cable factory in Charlton near Woolwich in order to be independent of the quality and prices of the suppliers for the submarine cable laying of the international telegraph lines. In 1874 he had the Faraday cable layer built, with which he laid the first permanently functional transatlantic telegraph cable . In 1879, William Siemens developed an electric arc furnace with horizontal carbon electrodes for steel production.

In 1847 he invented a regenerative furnace for steel production, which his brother Friedrich developed into the Siemens-Martin furnace in 1856 . In 1869, William Siemens founded the Landore Siemens Steel Company .

In 1862 he was elected to the Royal Society and later President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (1872–1873), the Society of Telegraph Engineers (1872, 1878), the Iron and Steel Institute (1877) and the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1882). He received honorary doctorates from the universities of Oxford , Glasgow , Dublin and Würzburg . In 1883 he was a Knight Bachelor for defeated Knight , and called since Sir William Siemens . In Westminster Abbey a stained glass window reminds him.

See also


Web links

Commons : Carl Wilhelm Siemens  - Collection of Pictures

Individual evidence

  1. ^ James Alfred Ewing: Siemens, Sir William . In: Encyclopedia Britannica . 9th edition. tape 22 . Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1875, p. 37-38 .
  2. ^ William Siemens - founder. Siemens Historical Institute, accessed June 6, 2019 .
  3. a b Werner von Siemens: Memoirs. Julius Springer, Berlin 1892, pp. 45-55. ( Werner von Siemens: Memoirs at .)
  4. ^ Alexander Siemens (1847–1928), German-British engineer and entrepreneur. See Wilfried Feldenkirchen : Werner von Siemens. Inventor and international entrepreneur. Munich / Zurich 1996, ISBN 3-8009-4156-2 , p. 100 ff., 192.
  5. Adventure on the High Seas - The Transatlantic Cable. Siemens Historical Institute, accessed June 6, 2019 .
  6. Chronicle of electrical engineering - year_1879. Retrieved June 6, 2019 .
  7. ^ Siemens (family), Wilhelm . In: Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon 1894-1896, Volume 14, pp. 958-959.
  8. ^ Siemens, Karl Wilhelm . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. tape  14 , 1889, p. 956 ( online ).
  9. ^ Places and Times of Meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science . In: Report of the Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science . tape  53 . British Association for the Advancement of Science, London September 1883, p. xxxiv ( online [accessed October 9, 2008]).