Oskar von Miller

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oskar von Miller
100 years of the Deutsches Museum: Postage stamp from 2003

Oskar Miller , from 1875 von Miller , (born May 7, 1855 in Munich , † April 9, 1934 ibid) was a German civil engineer . He became known as an electrical engineer , hydropower pioneer and founder of the Deutsches Museum .


Miller came from a family from the former Upper Bavarian , but now part of Swabia, the small town of Aichach . He was the son of Ferdinand von Miller (1813–1887), and Anna Pösl (1815–1890), of the ore caster and first inspector of the royal ore foundry in Munich . With Ferdinand von Miller's elevation to the Bavarian hereditary nobility on October 12, 1875, his children were also raised to the nobility. Oskar von Miller's brothers were the ore caster and academy director Ferdinand von Miller and the chemist Wilhelm von Miller .

Oskar married the painter Marie Seitz in 1884 , with whom he had seven children, two of whom died in childhood.


Miller decided on technology and studied civil engineering at the Technical University of Munich . 1875–79 he became friends with Rudolf Diesel . After successfully completing his degree in August 1878, he joined the Bavarian State Construction Service. However, the official way of working did not give the aspiring engineer the necessary leeway. However, in 1881 he was given the opportunity to visit the Paris electricity exhibition as part of an unpaid special leave to explore the possibilities of using hydropower for Bavaria. In self-study he became familiar with the still young electrical engineering. In 1882 he organized the first electrical engineering exhibition in Germany in Munich. At this exhibition, together with Marcel Depréz, he was the first to succeed in transmitting electrical power over a distance of around 60 kilometers from Miesbach to Munich ( direct current transmission from Miesbach to Munich ). (The electricity came from a dynamo machine of 1.5 HP, which was driven by a steam engine in Miesbach. The electrical energy was then transported with a voltage of 2,000 volts over a telegraph line to the Munich exhibition grounds To power a pump that fed an artificial waterfall. The water was raised to a height of 2.5 meters, from where it fell into a basin.)

From 1883 to 1889 he was, together with Emil Rathenau , director of the German Edison Society (later AEG ) . He accepted the position because his hydropower plans in Bavaria had not yet been approved by the authorities.

The entrance area of ​​the Frankfurt exhibition. The portal is illuminated by 1000 light bulbs, an artificial waterfall flows in the background, 1891.

In 1890 he founded his own engineering office and soon became a leader in the field of energy management . In 1891 he took over the management of the International Electrotechnical Exhibition in Frankfurt am Main . Together with Michail Ossipowitsch Doliwo-Dobrowolski , he again achieved a technical masterpiece with the long-distance transmission of 20,000 volts three-phase current over the 176 km distance from Lauffen am Neckar to Frankfurt am Main , which was to mark the breakthrough in AC transmission.

Hydroelectric power station near Schöngeising

In 1892, the hydroelectric power station in Schöngeising , built according to Oskar von Miller's plans, started operations and supplied the nearby district town of Fürstenfeldbruck as one of the first towns in Bavaria with electricity for electric street lighting. The historic power plant with its three turbines and two generators is still in operation today and is a listed building.

In 1895 he bought the hammer mill in what is now the Schwandorf district of Ettmannsdorf and set up an electricity plant there. Since there was no town gas supply in Schwandorf, he was able to start an internationally important test here. From March 1927, daring housewives began a large-scale experiment in electric cooking .

From 1918 to 1924 he was project manager for the construction of what was then the largest storage power plant in the world, the Walchensee power plant . He also drove the development of a Bavarian power supply network. The Bayernwerk emerged from this initiative . From 1922 to 1933 von Miller was a member of the Senate of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society .

Irrespective of the use of hydropower, von Miller remained connected to hydraulic engineering and civil engineering. For example, he initiated a hydraulic engineering institute for Bavaria, which is rich in water, today's "Research Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management, Oskar von Miller Institute" of the Technical University of Munich in Obernach near Walchensee, which since then has not only studied almost all major Bavarian hydraulic engineering projects, but also operates worldwide and was a model for other hydraulic engineering institutes.

Grave site in the Winthir cemetery

Miller died in the Deutsches Museum in 1934 of complications from a heart attack, a few months after his wife's accidental death.

He was buried in the grave of the von Miller family in the cemetery of the Winthirkirche in Munich 's Neuhausen district , where his brother Ferdinand is also buried.

Several offices that von Miller held highlight his personality and importance in electrical engineering, for example

Oskar von Miller published numerous books which, for example, became standard works on the energy supply of cities.

Awards and honors

Postage stamp (1955) for 100th birthday

German museum

In 1903 he fulfilled his dream of a scientifically and technically oriented museum : the Deutsches Museum .

Miller had advertised such a museum for years and used his fame and wide-ranging contacts for it. In Prince Regent Luitpold , he found a patron who also guaranteed state support. Famous scientists and entrepreneurs such as Max Planck , Hugo Junkers , Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and Emil Rathenau advised him on setting up the departments. Almost all of the building material was donated thanks to his commitment.

With Carl von Linde , the developer of refrigeration technology, and Walther von Dyck , the rector of the Technical University, he formed the first museum director.

The foundation stone of the museum complex in its current location on Museum Island in Munich was laid in 1906 by Kaiser Wilhelm II ; until the final reopening, which could not take place until Miller's 70th birthday on May 7, 1925, smaller parts of the exhibition had been housed in temporary rooms.

Miller's apt aphorism In this house anyone can do what I want can be read in the entrance area of ​​the museum.


Individual evidence

  1. Oskar von Miller 1855-1934 ; By Wilhelm Füssl
  2. http://www.edisontechcenter.org/LauffenFrankfurt.html
  3. Privy Councilor v. Miller in Baden. Badener Zeitung, November 21, 1928, p. 4 middle [1]
  4. Press release: To the new "Oskar von Miller Chair for Science Communication": TUM appoints General Director of the Deutsches Museum

Web links

Commons : Oskar von Miller  - Collection of images, videos and audio files