Wilhelm Bornhardt

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Friedrich Wilhelm Conrad Eduard Bornhardt (born April 20, 1864 in Braunschweig , † December 2, 1946 in Goslar ) was a German geologist , explorer , mining official and mining historian.


Bornhardt was born as the son of a mechanic and optician in Braunschweig. He attended the Realgymnasium in Braunschweig and then registered as a mountain enthusiast at the Oberbergamt in Halle. He first completed his studies at the University of Tübingen , where he also served as a one-year volunteer . He later continued his studies in Berlin. In 1888 he passed the trainee examination, in 1892 the assessor examination. In between, he worked at the Oberbergamt in Halle. In 1895 Bornhardt was appointed by the Foreign Office as a geologist and miner to German East Africa to explore the coal deposits on Lake Nyassa. His publication on the surface form and geology of German East Africa was still considered a standard work after the Second World War.

In 1900 Bornhardt got a job as a mining inspector in Clausthal . In 1901 he went to Siegen as a mountain master and head of the mountain school . In 1905 he became Oberbergrat and member of the Oberbergamt in Bonn, in 1906 deputy director of the Geological State Institute and Bergakademie Berlin, 1907 head of the institute and secret mountain ridge, 1912 secret upper mountain ridge and lecturer in the Prussian Ministry of Trade and Industry. During the First World War he worked as the head of the mining authority in the civil administration of the General Government in Brussels . In 1917 he was appointed to the War Office in Berlin.

In 1922 Bornhardt became head of the Clausthal mining authority . As head of the museum association, he also played a key role in the re-establishment of the Upper Harz Mining Museum in Zellerfeld, which has now been closed . The museum was given space in the former town hall of Zellerfeld, which was vacated by the unification of the mining towns of Clausthal and Zellerfeld in 1924. Bornhardt retired in 1929, which he spent in Goslar. There he was responsible for setting up the mining department of the Goslar local history museum. The in-house museum on Rammelsberg was also his work. Bornhardt dealt with the history of the Upper Harz mining industry in retirement and published several works on this.

Wilhelm Bornhardt coined the term Inselberg for a mountain shape that is often found in East Africa; A special type of Inselberg is called Bornhardt in English-language specialist literature today.

Awards and memberships


  • Lecture: About the results of my travels in German East Africa , German Colonial Society . 2. Negotiations 1898/1899, pp. 51–81.
  • On the surface structure and geology of German East Africa . Vol. 7, Dietrich Reimer, Berlin 1900.
  • About the pace of the Siegerland and its surroundings . Royal Prussian Geological State Institute , Berlin 1910/12. Multi-part work.
  • History of the Rammelsberg mining industry from its inception to modern times . Archive for Deposit Research 52, Prussian Geological State Institute , Berlin 1931.
  • as editor: Julius Albert and the invention of iron wire ropes . VDI-Verlag, Berlin 1933.
  • The field names of the Goslar district . Part I: Names from the field of Rammelsberg mining. Contributions to the history of the city of Goslar 8, Geschichts- und Heimatschutzverein Goslar, Goslar 1935 (volumes II and III later edited by Alexander Grundner-Culemann).
  • The origin of the Rammelsberg ore deposit . Archive for Deposit Research 68, Prussian Geological State Institute , Berlin 1939.
    • New edition with the title On the origin of the Rammelsberg ore deposit . Lower Saxony Office for State Planning and Statistics, Hanover 1948.
  • Upper Harz Mining in the Middle Ages , Oldenburg (Old.) 1943.


Individual evidence

  1. Hans Murawski : Geological Dictionary. 6th edition, Stuttgart 1972, p. 100.
  2. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 46.