Caspar Garthe

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Caspar Garthe
Bust in Cologne Zoo: Caspar Garthe

Johann Caspar Garthe (born July 15, 1796 in Frankenberg (Eder) , † January 21, 1876 in Cologne ) was a naturalist and teacher.


There are contradicting information about his life: he is said to have been born in the summer of 1795 or 1796 in Frankenberg or near Magdeburg, and died in 1874 or 1876. Since both Johann Christian Poggendorff in 1863 and Rudolf Wolf in 1890 both named Frankenberg as their place of birth and The city on the Eder is also considered the most likely because of its proximity to the University of Marburg .

His father Heinrich Daniel Garthe was city ​​treasurer . His mother was a daughter of the record clerk Meinhardt. He attended the Latin school in his hometown. Since his family could not finance the grammar school, he had to make up for the gaps with private tuition in order to be able to begin studying chamber sciences in Marburg in 1812 with Vice Rector Wilhelm Münscher . Through Georg Wilhelm Munke he switched to mathematics, physics and natural sciences, acquired his doctorate in philosophy on May 16, 1817 and briefly taught as a private lecturer at the University of Marburg. He was friends with Heinrich Berghaus .

From 1817 to 1831 he taught mathematics and physics at the Ernestinum Rinteln in Hesse . Friedrich Oetker and Franz von Dingelstedt were among his students .

In 1817 he married Henriette Charlotte Beck (1796-1858), the daughter of the late lecturer at the French Church in Marburg, David Beck. They had five sons Moritz, Otto, Hugo (* 1821; † October 14, 1876; art collector), Gustav and Arno, and the daughter Cacilie (* October 21, 1825 in Rinteln; † February 22, 1895 in Frankfurt / Main).

With a telescope he made himself, he discovered two comets. In 1826 he determined the elevation of Rinteln over the sea. In 1827 he invented his “world machine”, also known as the cosmoglobus: a glass celestial globe with a wooden globe inside. In order to obtain a Prussian patent for it, he demonstrated it in Berlin with the help of his friend Alexander von Humboldt .

The era of natural sciences had dawned in Cologne and in 1825 a new type of school, the “ Higher Citizens School for Nutrition, Trade and Transport Stand ”, was founded on Quatermarkt (today Kreuzgasse). Garthe was proposed as headmaster. But since he was a Protestant, it was agreed in Catholic Cologne that Garthe should become the first senior teacher. So that he could move from Rinteln to Cologne at a suitable time, the start of school in 1831 was even moved from autumn to Easter. He taught physics and chemistry. Men like Mevissen , Hoesch, Schoeller and Suermondt were his students and owed him their scientific knowledge.

He invented the archetype of the match and the aquarium.

In 1852 he repeated Foucault's pendulum experiment in Cologne Cathedral with a 50 meter long pendulum. August Toepler assisted him . In 1852 he tested the performance of a steamship.

At his suggestion, wealthy and animal-loving citizens of the city joined together to form a stock corporation that founded the Cologne Zoological Garden on July 22nd, 1860 . He was supported by his former Rinteln students, the brothers Adolf and Wilhelm Ludwig Deichmann and Georg Osterwald . He got suggestions for the design of the system from Holland and Belgium. In addition to a memorial in the cemetery and in the zoo (erected on September 5, 1886), there is also Garthestrasse very close to the zoo. People from Cologne say “Oh, I also know why this is called the Zoolonische Gaarde”.

Garthe was buried in the Melaten cemetery in Cologne . The tomb no longer exists.


  • Tables for barometric altitude measurements: calculated according to Prof. Benzenberg's layer method; for use by foresters and travelers (in addition to Muncke's preface) ; 1817 ( online , digitized )
  • Textbook of Letter Calculation and Algebra for Schools ; Hanover, Hahn, 1822
  • Doctrine of the conics for schools along with a preparatory instruction for the elementary construction of algebraic equations ; Marburg, Garthe, 1825
  • Treatise on the halo or attempt at a physical explanation thereof based on observation and experiment ; Rinteln, Osterwald, 1830 ( online )
  • Announcement of the cosmoglobus, a mathematical-geographical-astronomical instrument which unites the earth and celestial spheres such as the planetarium, tellurium and lunarium in such a way that all phenomena of the world as a whole can be clearly seen; invented and provided with complete instructions for use by Dr. C. Garthe. [Schmitz], [Cologne 1833] ( digitized , online )
  • Description of the cosmoglobus, a mathematical-geographical-astronomical instrument, which d. Earth and Celestial spheres ... so united that ... all appearances d. The whole of the world ... can be viewed ; Cotta, 1833
  • Zoological tables or systematic overview of the animal world: not only containing the nominal divisions in an easily overlooked arrangement, but also the characteristics of the main and sub-divisions, the orders and families, as well as the notable listing of the genera and some essential species ; Cologne, Renard and Dübyen, 1837
  • Foucault's experiment as a direct proof of the axis rotation of the earth employed in Cologne Cathedral and explained by two preparatory lectures, along with a compilation of some apparatus relating to this subject, communication of scientific test series, and description of a new apparatus called the geostrophometer , with which, without pendulum, the Axis rotation of the earth can be recognized ; Cologne, Eisen, 1852
  • Historical account of why the ... invention of a world machine, called the cosmoglobus, made by me in 1827, has not yet reached full public mercantile dissemination by the present 18th. Year ... ; 1867
  • Description of a new machine which illustrates all solar and lunar eclipses in such a way that the numerous appearances of the same can be brought to a sensuous perception ; 1869
  • The Abside Disk: Description of an apparatus through which the position of the Abside line of the earth's orbit and its variability in space can be discussed ; 1871


  • Dr. Caspar Garthe. Life and work of the founder of the Cologne Zoo ; In: Friends of the Cologne Zoo ; 3 (1960), pp. 49-53
  • Hanno Beck: Alexander von Humboldt, Heinrich Berghaus and the Frankenberger Dr. C. Garthe ; In: Hessische Heimat 4 (1954), 1, pp. 12-13
  • Martin Schwarzbach: Caspar Garthe (1796–1876). With an appendix about the Physikalisches Kabinett of the grammar school in Kreuzgasse, in:. Natural sciences and natural scientists in Cologne between the old and the new university (1798-1919) , ed. v. Martin Schwarzbach. Cologne: Böhlau, 1985, pp. 77-88.

Individual evidence

  1. Strieder's Basis for a Hessian Scholar and Writer's History, Volume 19, p. 116
  2. Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo, issue 4/2010 ( Memento of the original from May 3, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 7.7 MB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ Rudolf Wolf : Handbook of Astronomy, its History and Literature , Zurich 1890, p. 548, ISBN 978-3-487-05007-2
  4. Prof Dr Johann Caspar GARTHE b. 8 Jul 1795 Frankenberg the Elder 12 Jan 1874 Cologne
  5. Rambow Genealogy: Persons "G" (PDF; 444 kB)
  6. JC Poggendorffs biographical-literary concise dictionary for mathematics , p. 842: geb. 1796, July 15, Frankenberg
  7. Schaumburger Zeitung: Mathematician, inventor, zoo founder , December 3, 2010.
  8. Jenaische Allgemeine literatur-Zeitung, Volume 3, No. 61 (August 1817) , p. 304
  9. Description of the cosmoglobe ; In: Annals of Physics and Chemistry, Volumes 31–42, p. 672
  10. Alexander von Humboldt's correspondence with Heinrich Berghaus , vol. 1, p. 156
  11. C. Garthe: Testing the efficiency of a steamship, carried out according to scientific principles
  12. Photo ( Memento from July 16, 2012 in the web archive )
  13. ^ Josef Abt, Johann Ralf Beines, Celia Körber-Leupold: Melaten - Cologne graves and history . Greven, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-7743-0305-3 , p. 154

Web links

Commons : Caspar Garthe  - collection of images, videos and audio files