Franz Pichler (engineer)

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Franz Pichler (born February 18, 1866 in Weiz ; † August 28, 1919 there ) was an Austrian engineer and inventor and is considered one of the pioneers of electrical engineering in Austria .


The son of a mill owner studied for five years at the Technical University of Graz , where he graduated in 1889. Initially, the authorities refused Pichler the operating license for his 80 kW hydropower plant on the Weizbach, which he had constructed in 1891, because they did not recognize his degree in mechanical engineering as a sufficient certificate of competence. The Ministry of Commerce only gave its approval on February 20, 1892, and in the same year Pichler received the license for the commercial production of electrical machines and third-party systems. In the same year he founded the “Weizer Elektrizitätswerke F. Pichler & Co.”. Pichler also developed a range of measuring instruments and transformers together with a watchmaker friend. During this time, nickel-plated dynamos and direct current shunt dynamos were already being produced in the first workshop. From these beginnings, the industrial group ELIN later emerged , which after several takeovers became part of the Siemens group (transformers division) and Andritz AG (generators).

From 1909 to 1911, Pichler built the first high-pressure plant with daily accumulation in Austria in the Raabklamm , which achieved an output of 1000 kW, as well as other plants in Styria, Lower Austria, Vorarlberg and Croatia.

He constructed one of the first two-phase alternating current power plants of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and registered numerous inventions as patents , such as the invention of the cooling fin , which u. a. in engines for the more efficient dissipation of heat.

Franz Pichler died of a heart attack on August 28, 1919 in Weiz .


  • Robert F. Hausmann: Pichler - Werke Weiz 1892 - 1992. History of a Styrian company. Weiz 1992.
  • Wolfgang Mathis:  Pichler, Franz. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 20, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-428-00201-6 , p. 415 ( digitized version ).
  • J. Mentschl:  Pichler Franz. In: Austrian Biographical Lexicon 1815–1950 (ÖBL). Volume 8, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1983, ISBN 3-7001-0187-2 , p. 54.
  • Fritz Posch: Franz Pichler - the pioneer of the Styrian electrical industry. in: Ferdinand Tremel (Ed.): Styrian entrepreneurs of the 19th and 20th centuries. A collection of images of life. (Journal of the Historical Association for Styria, special volume 9). Graz 1965, pp. 11-17
  • Georg Schneider: History of ELIN-Weiz and its founder, engineer Franz Pichler , Graz 1959.

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