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British Industrial History

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August Thyssen

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1926 Obituary[1]

"BY the death of Herr August Thyssen, the recognised head of the many Thyssen undertakings, Germany loses one of her foremost industrialists. He died last week at Mulheim, in the Ruhr, at the advanced age of eighty-five. Thyssen was a pioneer worker, who early saw the immense possibilities of the coal, iron and steel industries of the Upper Rhineland and Westphalia, and who in a little over fifty years old did perhaps more than any other single man to build up the Ruhr industry, as we know it today. He created and personally directed an undertaking which embraced all the stages, from the winning of the raw materials to the manufacture of engineering plant and machinery.

It was in 1867 that young Thyssen left his father's forge at Eschweiler, near Aix-la-Chapelle, to found the small firm of Thyssen, Foussoul and Co., in Duisburg. In 1871 the factory of Thyssen and Co was started on a farm at styrum, near Mulheim, for the manufacture and sale of hoop iron and other fine iron products. The business was built up in the teeth of financial depression, but in thirty years August Thyssen had secured his world markets.

Meanwhile, steel making, plate rolling and machine manufacturing were added, as well as important coal mining interests. An important development was the Thyssen system of cleaning blast-furnace gas and the introduction of large gas engines, but steam turbine generating plant, power-house and colliery equipment, as well as the Holzwarth gas turbine, were other no less important activities of the firm.

In pre-war times Thyssen had large iron ore interests in French and German Lorraine, and in France at Caen and Cherbourg. During the war the home works, which included collieries, iron mines, blast-furnaces, both Thomas and Siemens steel plant, rolling and plate mills, welding and constructional plant, and also machine shops, were extended and improved. In the difficult post-war years August Thyssen remained at the head of his firm. In spite of failing health he continued to the last to direct and control the vast interests with which his name will always be identified.


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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1926/04/16