Karl August Lingner

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Karl August Lingner

Karl August Ferdinand Lingner (born December 21, 1861 in Magdeburg , † June 5, 1916 in Berlin ) was a German entrepreneur and philanthropist . He was best known for the production of the mouthwash Odol .


Lingner was born as the third son of a businessman in Magdeburg. Here he attended the city's higher trade school. At the age of 15, Lingner went to Gardelegen in Brandenburg and worked as a clerk in a goods store. In 1883 Lingner moved to Paris . His plan to study music at the Paris Conservatory failed, as did his work as a sales representative for German companies. In 1885 he returned to Germany penniless. In Dresden he found a job as a correspondent in the Seidel & Naumann sewing machine factory .

Lingner founded the Lingner & Kraft company in 1888 with the technician Georg Wilhelm Kraft (1855–1916). The production in a gazebo on Wölfnitzstraße included back scrapers, steel rulers and spring cleaners. Kraft left the company in 1892. Lingner's friend, the chemist Richard Seifert (1861-1919), after several years of research, offered Lingner the formulation of an antiseptic for marketing in 1891/92 , thereby giving him access to the most important work of modern bacteriology . Since the oral cavity was considered to be the main entry point for pathogenic bacteria , Lingner decided to make an antiseptic mouthwash . With the production of " Odol " (from Greek ὀδούς (odous) 'tooth' and Latin. Oleum 'oil') Lingner met the need of broad sections of the population for protection against invisible bacteria, and his product was therefore extremely popular.

On October 3, 1892, Lingner founded the Dresden Chemical Laboratory Lingner. From 1912 the company traded as "Lingner-Werke". Production grew steadily, ultimately the headquarters of the Lingner-Werke was established on Nossener Straße 2/4 and a worldwide manufacturing and operating system was set up. Together with Richard Seifert, Lingner developed “Odol” into an unmistakable brand and, as a co-founder of the branded goods industry and modern advertising, found its way into general industrial history.

Grave of the Lingner family at the Johannisfriedhof in Dresden, Karl August Lingner was transferred from here to the mausoleum at the Lingnerschloss.
Mausoleum at the Lingner Castle

Within a few years, Lingner generated a double-digit million fortune from nothing, which enabled him to live a princely lifestyle. From then on, envy and resentment accompanied the successful man, who included the Villa Stockhausen in Dresden and the Castle Tarasp in Switzerland among his real estate holdings. He bought Tarasp Castle in 1900 as a dilapidated castle for 20,000 francs and had it extensively restored. He died before moving in.

He was a member of the elite Imperial Motor Yacht Club and caused a sensation with his motor yacht at the Kieler Woche . As chairman of the Saxon Automobile Club , Lingner drove a Mercedes as befits his class . Lush celebrations, his organ playing, two illegitimate children and apparent male friendships caused a sensation, admiration and rejection. In the Wilhelmine honor system he rose to the rank of excellence , comparable to the rank of ministerial honor, while he was denied the hoped-for title of nobility.

By occupying himself with the disinfection system of his time, Lingner came to study the social hygienic literature. He recognized the existing ignorance of the population regarding the development and spread of diseases and subsequently used a large part of his million dollar fortune for hygienic public education and to support non-profit institutions. His membership in the German Association for People's Hygiene , founded in 1899 and described by Lingner as the “most powerful pioneer in social hygiene”, the 1903 exhibition of common diseases and their control, and the first Dresden International Hygiene Exhibition in 1911 should be emphasized. With over 5 million visitors, the latter achieved the dimension and recognition of a world exhibition for health. The exhibition methodology developed by Lingner makes him a pioneer of modern hygiene education.

Lingner knew how to inspire competent employees for his charitable plans and to support modern projects. Mention should be made of the children's outpatient clinic with an infant home in Johannstadt in 1897, the world's first infant clinic in 1898, the Central Office for Dental Hygiene in 1900, the Public Central Office for Disinfection in 1901, the Disinfection School in 1902, the Dresden Reading Hall in 1902 and the German Hygiene Museum in 1912.

From his relationship with actress Julia Serda , Lingner had an illegitimate daughter, who later became actress and photographer Charlotte Serda (1910–1981).

In 1910/11 Lingner founded another successful company in Dresden with the Sächsischer Serumwerk Dresden ; he himself supplied the fighting troops with healing sera in the First World War .

By founding the Political-Scientific Archive in Berlin in 1915 , Lingner tried to strengthen Germany's international position, which had been weakened by the World War. Lingner, who was seen by Gustav Stresemann as the future German ambassador , was no longer able to pursue the visions of establishing a European community of states . He died on June 5, 1916 in Berlin after an operation for tongue cancer .

The Lingner Foundation, established in his will, ensured the continued existence of his charitable institutions. His last residence, the Villa Stockhausen, called Lingnerschloss, built by Adolf Lohse , he bequeathed to the city of Dresden "for the good of the people of Dresden and the surrounding area".


  • Walter A. Büchi: Karl August Lingner. The great life of the Odol king. A reconstruction. Edition Sächsische Zeitung, Dresden 2006, ISBN 978-3-938325-24-7 . Newly revised and expanded edition, ibid. 2015, ISBN 978-3-943444-38-4 .
  • Ulf-Norbert Funke: The Dresden industrialist Karl August Lingner (1861–1916) and his charitable work . Diss. Med. Akad., Dresden 1993.
  • Ulf-Norbert Funke: Karl August Lingner. Short biography of an enlightening entrepreneur . In: Martin Roth (ed.): On everyone's lips - One hundred years of Odol . Edition Cantz, Dresden 1993, ISBN 3-89322-550-1 .
  • Ulf-Norbert Funke: Karl August Lingner. Life and work of a non-profit industrialist . B-Edition, Dresden 1996, ISBN 3-930-30302-7 .
  • Ulf-Norbert Funke: Karl August Lingner. Life and work of a major Saxon industrialist . GRIN, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-638-73507-9 .
  • Ulf-Norbert Funke: Life and work of Karl August Lingner. Diplomica-Verlag, Hamburg 2014. ISBN 978-3-8428-7771-9 .
  • Ulf-Norbert Funke: Karl August Lingner (1861–1916) . In: Loschwitz. Illustrated local history 1315–2015. Verlag Friebel GmbH, Dresden 2015, ISBN 3936240310 .
  • Max Lagally:  Lingner, Karl August. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 14, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-428-00195-8 , pp. 626 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Helmut Obst: Karl August Lingner. A people's benefactor? V&R Unipress, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 978-3899712179 .
  • Susanne Roeßiger: Karl August Linger. In: Guido Heinrich, Gunter Schandera (Hrsg.): Magdeburg Biographical Lexicon 19th and 20th centuries. Biographical lexicon for the state capital Magdeburg and the districts of Bördekreis, Jerichower Land, Ohrekreis and Schönebeck. Scriptum, Magdeburg 2002, ISBN 3-933046-49-1 ( article online ).
  • Julius Ferdinand Wollf: Lingner and his legacy . Hegner, Hellerau 1930.

Web links

Commons : Karl August Lingner  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Cremation register 1917 number 3613: Kraft, Wilhelm Georg; Engineer and manufacturer; * December 25, 1855 in Darmstadt; last place of residence: Radebeul, Russenstraße 4I; died on December 31, 1916 in Dresden; cremated January 4, 1917; buried: Urnenhain June 9, 1917; Comment: September 24, 1963: 80 AII 187.