Heinrich Geißler (glass blower)
Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Geißler (born May 26, 1814 in Hedgehog , † January 24, 1879 in Bonn ) was a German glassblower , instrument maker and inventor of the Geissler tube , a glass low-pressure gas discharge tube .
Origin and childhood
Johann Heinrich Geißler was born in Igelshieb (then Duchy of Saxony-Meiningen , now part of Neuhaus am Rennweg ). His birthplace, which is typical for Thuringia , has hardly changed to this day. This included a piece of field and meadow for growing potatoes and keeping goats. The property and the house, which was the material basis for the family's employment, came from his mother, Johanna Rosina Eichhorn. She had a total of twelve children. Three of them died before her, one shortly after her death. The poor way of life is generally seen as the cause of death.
The Geissler family found their livelihood in the house industry . The house industry represented an important economic factor, but had depressing social conditions as a result. Most of the glass blowers were poor. Hence, women and child labor were inevitable. Children had to help from the age of four or five. Glassblowing was not a dream job for Heinrich and his siblings, but a pre-drawn life plan with no alternative. The Geißler family lived a little better than the average, but Georg Geißler couldn't give his children more than his manual skills. However, it would be historically wrong to underestimate their value.
Lamp glass blowing had become a home in Hedgehog. Many of the most skilled glassblowers tried to gain economic stability by creating new, high-quality products whose technology was secret, but this was unsuccessful. This situation marked the social environment of Heinrich Geißler's childhood and thus had a decisive influence on his life. His father, Georg Geissler, was one of the innovators among the glassblowers, because he was also involved in building instruments, for example building thermometers and barometers , which he sold at least temporarily.
Johann Heinrich Geißler had to acquire the technical knowledge autodidactically . The authoritative book was Instructions for the Manufacture of Matching Thermometers and Barometers by the mechanic and private lecturer Friedrich Körner . In the 1830s, more favorable opportunities for the professional advancement of a glassblower developed outside of the home industrial centers. This was the result of the rise in experimental science . Researchers needed devices that were adapted for them and therefore had to be manufactured on the spot, in direct consultation with the craftsman. Therefore universities offered intelligent and skilled glassblowers a relatively cheap field of activity. For this reason Heinrich Geißler and his brothers left their homeland, and after a long journey Heinrich Geißler settled in Bonn .
Geissler worked as a wandering craftsman for more than a decade. These years were important and of great importance for perfecting his professional knowledge and personal development. Some life dates are known from these years:
Geißler most likely went on a business trip on behalf of his father in 1832. He visited Munich and Ulm , among others . According to police files, however, he only spent a few days in Munich. There is also a record stay in Bonn at the beginning of 1839. In February of the same year, the Sonneberg administrative office sent a passport issued for Holland and France via official channels.
A two-year stay can be proven for the city of The Hague , most likely from 1845 to 1847. The registration files of the city led Geißler as a physical precision mechanic who lived in a furnished room in the Oude Molstraat. However , he was not a member of Diligentia , an association of scientists and lay researchers.
His name is no longer listed in the 1849 Hague Census. In 1852 his stay in Bonn is documented several times in archives. According to tradition, Geissler's first residence was in Bonngasse , right next to Beethoven's birthplace. After a few more changes of apartment, he moved to Burgstrasse 14 in 1867. A short time later, he acquired the house and adapted it to his business by making renovations.
Life in Bonn
Because of his position as head of his company, Heinrich Geißler was forced to combine the professions of craftsman , engineer and businessman . His company was well respected among the world's scientists but never grew into anything larger than a craft business. The reason was that, as a report from the Vienna World Exhibition announced, he was more of an unsurpassed artist of glass construction than a commercial organizer who could bring his company to a giant leap.
Heinrich Geißler received many honors and awards, especially in the last years of his life; he accepted it gratefully, but did not overestimate it. In 1868, Geissler was probably at the suggestion of August Kekulé and Hans Landolt , the honorary doctorate of the Faculty of Arts, University of Bonn . Heinrich Geißler repeatedly gave lectures and papers in front of the public in order to divulge and pass on his investigations and apparatus constructions that arose from his serious pursuit of scientific knowledge.
Geissler lived modestly and in bourgeois simplicity. He married Mathilde Elisabethe (known as Elise) Pietsch, then 19, in Giessen in 1865 . Their marriage was childless.
Heinrich Geißler died on January 24, 1879 in Bonn . Shortly afterwards the Bonner Zeitung wrote an obituary. It says that the meritorious man Heinrich Geißler, at the age of 65, died yesterday evening from a repeated stroke and thus his effective and eventful life came to an early end. Furthermore, it is emphasized that his death will be regretted with deep sadness by the entire citizens of Bonn, due to his sociability and his disinterested personality.
He was buried in Bonn's historical cemetery on January 27, 1879. His grave is still looked after by the city of Bonn today.
Theodor Meyer, assistant at the Physikalisches Kabinett in Bonn , wrote in September 1857 that Heinrich Geißler asked him to examine one of his glass tubes for the phenomenon of stratification. He was so surprised by this that he asked Geissler to make samples. It didn't take long and he had already made several of his glass tubes to investigate the still unknown phenomenon . Since the difficulty of creating a vacuum using the conventional method had not yet been overcome, a short time later he developed a special apparatus that enabled him to evacuate his tubes and fill them with gases of any tension.
At about the same time wrote Julius Plucker , geißlersche tubes would rightly geißlersche called, even though Heinrich Geissler was not the first she anfertigte. Because he continued and perfected the work of others. Plücker also said that this did not diminish Geissler's work, but rather put his work in the right light.
Twenty years earlier, the conduction of electricity in gases, often called gas discharge , was systematically investigated by nobody less than Michael Faraday using a glass electric egg . However, it should be mentioned that at that time he was not yet able to lead metal electrodes through glass in a gas-tight manner. One of the reasons could also be the pumps known at the time, because they only allowed the creation of a rough vacuum. For this reason, important principles also remained undiscovered at this time.
His brother, Friedrich Wilhelm Florenz Geißler, who lived in Amsterdam , had melted platinum wires into the Torricellian void of a barometer tube in 1856 on behalf of the Dutchman van der Willigen and then melted them off. This made it possible to achieve the best possible vacuum up to that point ; but since the Torricellian void naturally only contains mercury vapor , all investigations in this way could only be carried out with this one substance. The Geissler tube does not have to shy away from any comparison with its predecessors, because it has three advantages. These would be perfecting the electrode leadthrough, a relatively good vacuum and the free choice of filling gas. The pump specially designed by Geißler cannot be described here. It is enough to know that the degree of dilution could be increased to 300 times. Later there were further developments (which were developed by various researchers) that finally made it possible to generate vacuums of up to 10⁻⁶ Torr . At the same time, modifications of this tube were also developed, which were sometimes named after the names of their developers as Hittorf , Crookes or Perrin tubes. The individual models have not yet been able to be distinguished from one another, probably also because it is not relevant to the history of science. There is no doubt that Heinrich Geißler was there at the right time to give scientific research the right tools.
The physicist Heinrich Hertz cited the beauty and diversity of the phenomena as well as the great theoretical interest in the as yet unexplored area as reasons for his concern with the light phenomena in the dilute gases of Geissler's tubes .
Awards and honors
Heinrich Geißler received only a few awards for his work and achievements, because he had only applied for a patent for one of his instruments, the vaporimeter . This is why his other inventions, such as the mine safety lamp, were only very few known. One of his honors was the recognition of an honorary doctorate from the University of Bonn on August 4, 1868. It must be mentioned here that he was the only one who received an honorary doctorate in connection with the manufacture of glass apparatus and glass apparatus technology. Furthermore, Geißler received a gold medal at the Paris World Exhibition in 1855 . The members of the jury justified the award of the medal as follows: Mr. Geißler's instruments are distinguished by their accuracy and very high sensitivity, and some of them have new and useful properties. The jury explicitly mentions the normal thermometer of the big competition, its hypsometer (altimeter), the vaporimeter, intended to measure the alcohol content of a liquid by means of the voltage of its vapor, and finally a hygrometer according to Daniell , which is able to provide a faster display than the usual ones .
He was last honored in 1873 at the Vienna World Exhibition . There he was awarded the Austrian Civil Merit Cross for Art and Science in gold for his mercury vacuum air pump with glass taps . Geißler received these three honors or awards during his lifetime. But Geißler was honored long after his death in 1879. For example, in 1976 a lunar crater on the eastern edge of the front of the moon was named after him and some streets also bear his name, including in Rudolstadt , Munich and Berlin .
Around 1929 a man by the name of Geissler ran a ring game in Vienna's Prater and equipped it with "neon tube" illuminated advertising. Due to great demand, he switched his business (in Vienna) entirely to gas-discharge advertising lights. In 1949 his daughter founded a company in Linz , which began as a branch with a workshop in a garage in Urfahr. In 1950 a plot of land in the south of the city was bought. The company, which still exists here today, was renamed in 2003 and taken over by the 3rd generation of the family and at that time was the workplace of 3 glassblowers. The company name (as of April 2020) still begins with Neon Geissler , but the business has been dominated by light-emitting diodes since a transition phase around 2005/2010 . The similarity of the name to Heinrich Geißler is purely coincidental.
- August Wilhelm Hofmann: Obituary for Heinrich Geißler, at the meeting on January 27, 1879, Reports of the German Chemical Society 12 (1879), pp. 147–148
- Karl Eichhorn: Heinrich Geissler: life and work of a pioneer of vacuum technology , society of friends and sponsors of the German X-ray Museum in Remscheid-Lennep; 1984, Series 6 / German Röntgen Museum
- Karl Eichhorn: Heinrich Geißler (1814–1879) - life and work of the Thuringian glass instrument maker and pioneer of vacuum technology . Yearbook of the Hennebergisch - Franconian History Association 1995 (vol. 10), pp. 207–233
- Günter Dörfel; Falk Müller: 1857 - Julius Plücker, Heinrich Geißler and the beginning of systematic gas discharge research in Germany , NTM International Journal of History & Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology & Medicine, 2006, 14 (1), pp. 26–45
- Dörfel / Rosenbaum / Schaedel / Traut: Dr. Heinrich Geißler - on the 200th birthday of the glass technician and inventor. Neuhaus am Rennweg / Cursdorf 2014, 72 pp.
- Adolf Wißner: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 6, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1964, ISBN 3-428-00187-7 , p. 159 ( ). In:
- Page with pictures of Geissler tubes
- Overview of historical Geissler tubes (English)
- Falk Müller: Gas discharge research in the 19th century . Verlag für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik, 2004, p. 12, ISBN 978-3-928186-76-6
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler - life and work of a pioneer of vacuum technology . Series of publications, Deutsches Röntgen – Museum No. 6, March 1984. Pages 1–2
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler (1814–1879) - the life and work of the Thuringian glass instrument maker and pioneer of vacuum technology . 1995 yearbook of the Hennebergisch - Franconian History Association (Vol. 10) pp. 207–213
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler - life and work of a pioneer of vacuum technology . Series of publications by the German Röntgen Museum No. 6, March 1984. Pages 2–3
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler (1814–1879) - the life and work of the Thuringian glass instrument maker and pioneer of vacuum technology . 1995 yearbook of the Hennebergisch – Franconian History Association (vol. 10) pp. 214–215
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler (1814–1879) - life and work of the Thuringian glass instrument maker and pioneer of vacuum technology . 1995 yearbook of the Hennebergisch - Franconian History Association (vol. 10) pp. 227–230
- Richard Anschütz: The chemist August Kekulé - Volume 1: Leben und Wirken , Verlag Chemie GmbH, 1929. Reprint: SEVERUS Verlag, 2011, ISBN 978-3-86347-169-9 , p. 382
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler - life and work of a pioneer of vacuum technology . Series of publications by the German X-Ray Museum No. 6, March 1984. Pages 5–6
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler (1814–1879) - the life and work of the Thuringian glass instrument maker and pioneer of vacuum technology . 1995 yearbook of the Hennebergisch - Franconian History Association (vol. 10) pp. 227–230
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler (1814–1879) - the life and work of the Thuringian glass instrument maker and pioneer of vacuum technology . 1995 yearbook of the Hennebergisch - Franconian History Association (vol. 10) p. 222
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler (1814–1879) - the life and work of the Thuringian glass instrument maker and pioneer of vacuum technology . 1995 yearbook of the Hennebergisch - Franconian History Association (vol. 10) pp. 219–220
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler (1814–1879) - the life and work of the Thuringian glass instrument maker and pioneer of vacuum technology . 1995 yearbook of the Hennebergisch - Franconian History Association (vol. 10) pp. 224–225
- August Wilhelm Hofmann: Obituary for Heinrich Geißler, at the meeting on January 27, 1879, reports of the German Chemical Society 12 (1879), pp. 147-148
- Karl Eichhorn Heinrich Geißler - life and work of a pioneer of vacuum technology . Series of publications by the German Röntgen Museum No. 6, March 1984. p. 4.
- Karl HP Bienek: DIE SIEMENSSTADT - A Lexicon of Siemensstadt in Berlin - . Entry: Geissler's path ( Memento of the original from October 14, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed June 29, 2013
- Company history passed down purely orally after a phone call on April 21, 2020 with Heinz Luegmayer jun., Managing Director of NEONGEISSLER Beschriftungen Luegmayer GmbH & Co KG, Im Hühnersteig 11, 4020 Linz , https://neon-geissler.at/ueber-uns/ Member of the Association of Austrian Light Advertising - VÖL, http://www.verband-lichtwerbung.at/trägerliste/
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Geißler, Johann Heinrich Wilhelm (full name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German glassblower, instrument maker and inventor|
|DATE OF BIRTH||May 26, 1814|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Hedgehog blow|
|DATE OF DEATH||January 24, 1879|
|Place of death||Bonn|