Hermann Fehling (chemist)

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Hermann Christian (von) Fehling (born June 9, 1811 in Lübeck , † July 1, 1885 in Stuttgart ) was a German chemist . He became known for his discovery of the evidence for sugar ( Fehling's test ) named after him .

life and work

Hermann von Fehling

Fehling, son of the Lübeck businessman Wilhelm Fehling, trained as a pharmacist in the pharmacy of Franz Friedrich Kindt , the brother of Georg Christian Kindt in Lübeck , after attending the community school and grammar school from 1827 . From 1835 to 1837 studied in Heidelberg Fehling science with a focus on chemistry , was Leopold Gmelin's assistant and in August 1837 Doctor of Philosophy PhD . He then worked in Gießen in Liebig's laboratory, became his assistant and went to Paris in autumn 1838, where he worked for Jean Baptiste Dumas and in the laboratory of the mint in Paris .

In 1839, at Liebig's suggestion, he was appointed teacher of chemistry and technology at the United Real and Trade School in Stuttgart, founded in 1829 , and after two years he was permanently employed as the main teacher (March 10, 1841). He was thus equal to a high school professor in terms of title and rank. Associated with the position was the temporary Württemberg citizenship, which he received permanently through his marriage to the Swabian professor's daughter Sophie Cleß. Scientific research was not part of his official duties; Fehling continued to do it out of private interest. With his help, the school became a polytechnic school and, in 1876, a technical university (today's University of Stuttgart ). Fehling stayed there for 44 years until he was forced to retire due to a stroke in 1883.

Fehling, who was certified as having a significant teaching talent, provided his students with thorough, practical training in the newly established laboratory and was thus a leader in what was then the Kingdom of Württemberg . The state university in Tübingen introduced the laboratory internship a few years later.

Fehling's reputation and sphere of activity extended far beyond his teaching activities. After a life-threatening hemorrhage during a trip to Munich in 1854, he significantly restricted his laboratory work and finally gave it up completely. After that, Fehling shifted the focus of his activities to public offices. He was a member of the Medical College (since 1870) and the Pharmaceutical Examination Commission and worked as a technical councilor in the committee and the patent commission of the Central Office for Trade and Industry established in 1848 . Associated with this was the management of an analytical-technical research laboratory, the preparation of numerous technical reports and the examination and arbitration of patent claims.

After the founding of the empire in 1871, Fehling was a Württemberg delegate in numerous hygienic, pharmaceutical and technical commissions, including the commission for the revision of the Pharmacopoeia Germanica (1880). He was also a member of the jury for all world exhibitions from 1846 to 1873. From 1859 he was a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences .

Fehling mainly dealt with technical chemistry (mineral water, saltworks, bread making, tanning materials) and public health. For analytical chemistry, he developed Fehling's solution , which is generally used to detect aldehyde groups (especially in carbohydrates) , which made it possible to determine the sugar content of a liquid ( quantitative determination of sugar in urine, 1848) and devoted himself to improving it over the next few years.

Descent from Hermann Christian von Fehlings

Hans Westfehling senior, * 1658
Hans Westfehling junior, 1697–1777
Hans Christoph Fehling, 1722–1803
Hermann Christian Fehling
Johannes Christoph Fehling
Hermann Christian (from) Fehling
Wilhelm Fehling
Adele Fehling Johannes Fehling Hermann Wilhelm Fehling Emil Ferdinand Fehling .
Hermann Christian (from) Fehling Wilhelm Fehling
NN Behn 5 sons, 3 daughters
S. 1891 Vormds. about Thomas Mann u. Speed
Hermann Fehling
Clara Sophie Fehling
Ferdinand Fehling Ada Louise Fehling Jürgen Fehling another five sons and a daughter


On May 20, 1844, Fehling married Sophie Cleß (* 1822, † 1888), a daughter of the theologian Karl von Cleß, in Stuttgart . The marriage resulted in two daughters and the son Hermann Fehling .


Most of Fehling's scientific publications appeared in Liebig's Annals of Chemistry . He also worked on several sections in Kolbe's textbook on organic chemistry, including those on carbohydrates, glucosides, dyes, essential oils and protein bodies, and edited the 1871 edition of the New Concise Dictionary of Chemistry (published 1874–1930), a reference work that summarized all chemical knowledge of the time.

The Stuttgart University Library has two lecture manuscripts from Fehling's (Inorganic Chemistry, winter semester 1865/66 and organic chemistry, summer semester 1866); these are available in digitized form.


Fehling has received multiple honors and awards. The King of Württemberg awarded him the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Crown on September 24, 1854 , with which the personal nobility was connected. He later received the title of Privy Councilor and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Frederick . On the occasion of the inauguration of a new wing of the Polytechnic, he was awarded the title of director as a senior member of the teaching staff . Shortly before his death, the German Chemical Society appointed him its vice-president.

Individual evidence

  1. Albert Gossauer: Structure and reactivity of biomolecules. Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta, Zurich, 2006, ISBN 3-906390-29-2 , pp. 289-290.
  2. ^ Brewer and merchant, later customs officer in Lübeck; * December 9, 1767 in Lübeck; † January 3, 1862 there; married to Margaretha Heitmann, born October 30, 1782 in Lübeck; † January 13, 1862 ibid.
  3. Kaufmann zu Lübeck, * August 7, 1800 in Lübeck; † October 17, 1882 there; married to Anna Emilie Oppenheimer; * August 8, 1803 in Hamburg; † June 5, 1885 in Lübeck.
  4. chemist; * June 9, 1811 in Lübeck; † July 1, 1885 in Stuttgart; married to Sophie Clueß, born May 26, 1822; † August 1, 1888.
  5. 1824-1903; Wine merchant and Prussian consul in Lübeck.
  6. 1827-1890; married to Heinrich Theodor Behn , 1819–1906, mayor of Lübeck.
  7. ^ Merchant and Senator from Lübeck; * November 18, 1835 in Lübeck; † November 19, 1893 there; married to Henriette Charlotte Harms, born April 1, 1842 in Lübeck, † November 19, 1929 there.
  8. ^ Merchant and Consul in Lübeck; * April 23, 1842 in Lübeck; † December 7, 1907 there; married to Bertha Eschenburg, * May 4, 1846 in Lübeck, † April 4, 1926 there.
  9. ^ Senator and Mayor of Lübeck; * August 3, 1847 in Lübeck; † August 3, 1927 there; married to Ada Maria Geibel, born May 10, 1853 in Munich, † September 27, 1906 in Lübeck; after her death second marriage to Katharina (Käthe) Wessel, born October 11, 1862 in Berlin, † March 20, 1933 in Mönchengladbach.
  10. chemist; * June 9, 1811 in Lübeck; † July 1, 1885 in Stuttgart; married to Sophie Cleß, * May 26, 1822, † August 1, 1888
  11. ^ Wine merchant and Prussian consul in Lübeck, 1824–1903.
  12. ^ Doctor, * July 14, 1847; † November 2, 1925.
  13. * April 13, 1845; † October 28, 1916; married to Ludwig Friedrich Blohm.
  14. Historiker, born November 11, 1875 in Lübeck; † December 8, 1945 in ???
  15. * June 28, 1881 in Lübeck; † 1972 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  16. theater director, born March 1, 1885 in Lübeck; † June 14, 1968 in Hamburg.
  17. ^ Lecture manuscript General and Technical Chemistry 1865-1866
  18. Royal Württemberg Court and State Handbook 1858, p. 51.


Web links

Commons : Hermann von Fehling  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Hermann Fehling  - Sources and full texts