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Carl Siemens

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Carl Heinrich Siemens (1829-1906) of Siemens Brothers and Co

1829 Born the sixth son of Christian Ferdinand Siemens and brother of William Siemens.

1855 He took charge of a large factory in St. Petersburg which controlled the telegraphic system of Russia.

1865 Siemens and Halske branch in London was reconstituted as Siemens Brothers and Co with Werner Siemens, William Siemens, and Carl Siemens as partners.

1869 Carl Siemens moved to London and was engaged in the laying of the Direct United States Cable.

1880 Carl Siemens returned to Russia.

1891 Werner V Siemens, 74, manufacturing engineer, employer, with Frederick Siemens 64, manufacturing engineer, employer and Carl Siemens 62, manufacturing engineer, employer, were visitors in Westminster[1]


1906 Obituary [2]

CARL HEINRICH VON SIEMENS died at Mentone on the 21st March, 1906, aged 77. Born in 1829 at Menzendorf in Mecklenburg, he was the sixth of eleven sons in a family which has given illustrious names to engineering science. The greater part of his career is indissolubly bound up with those of his three brothers, William (afterwards Sir William), Werner and Friedrich, whilst with the two first-named he helped to carry on the various electrical undertakings with which the name of Siemens is identified. As an inventor his name is not so well known as those of his brothers, but as a capable business man and organizer, distinguished for untiring energy and perseverance, his career hales ft its mark on all the undertakings with which he was associated.

His father, Christian Ferdinand Siemens, died in 1839, and after residing for a time in Lubeck, the family removed to Berlin, where the subject of this notice completed his education. Later on he became the assistant, in the firm of Siemens and Halske, of his eldest brother, the late Dr. Werner von Siemens, whom he helped to lay the first underground telegraph-wires.

In 1848, William, Car1 and Friedrich followed their elder brother to the war, the last two entering the Schleswig-Holstein army as volunteers, where they remained till the conclusion of the armistice. Carl then entered a chemical factory in Berlin, which he soon quitted to assist Werner in the reconstruction of the telegraph-lines.

In 1851 he and Friedrich represented the Berlin firm at the London Universal Exhibition, and afterwards Carl was appointed manager of the Paris branch of the firm, but in 1852 he came over to London to take charge of the London office for his brother William, who was then engaged at Birmingham on his work in connection with ther egenerative steam-engine. In the same year the Berlin firm was entrusted with important telegraph work by the Russian Government, and this resulted in the appointment of Carl to take complete charge of their interests in Russia, where mainly as a result of his energy and ability the operations of the firms rapidly attained considerable proportions.

In 1855, the year in which he took charge of a large branch factory at St. Petersburg, Mr. Carl Siemens married the daughter of Mr. Kapherr, the firm’s previous representative in that city.

In 1864 Mr. Halske severed his connection with the London firm, which was reconstituted under the style of Siemens Brothers and was carried on by Dr. Werner Siemens, of Berlin, Mr. (afterwards Sir William) Siemens, of London, and Mr. Carl Siemens, of St. Petersburg, as partners.

Five years later Mr. William Siemens, finding that his private work took up a great part of his time, asked his brother at St. Petersburg to undertake the management of the London business. During this period Carl had erected all the more important telegraph-lines in Russia under great difficulties, but the expiration of the Russian maintenance-contracts having somewhat curtailed his activity in that country, he was ab10 to consent to his brother’s wishes. About this time, moreover, he had the misfortune to lose his wife, who died in St. Petersburg.

Coming to England in 1869, he managed the London business in conjunction with his brother William for 11 years, the Woolwich works being gradually enlargeadn d a gutta-percha factory established. Amongst other work he took an active part in the laying of submarine cables, taking charge in 1874 of the expedition of the firm’s new cable-ship "Faraday" on her maiden voyage, for the purpose of laying the Direct Atlantic Cable, which was the first transatlantic cable made by the firm of Siemens Brothers. He was also the first to succeed in recovering from the depths of the Atlantic a broken submarine cable.

In 1880 the firm of Siemens Brothers was converted into a limited liability company under its present title, Mr. Carl Siemens becoming one of the directors; but the dampness of the English climate affecting his health, he was obliged to return to Russia with his children.

He settled down in St. Petersburg, where his health improved, and again undertook the management of the Russian branch of the business, which under his able control soon recovered its former prominence. His two daughters married in Russia and his son assisted him in the business. This branch of the firm played a leading part in the development of the electric-lighting and power industry in Russia, and has increased rapidly in size, now giving employment to nearly a thousand hands. When Dr. Werner von Siemens died in 1892, Carl Siemens was called to Berlin to take the leadership of the firm of Siemens and Halske.

In 1899 he was elected chairman of Siemens Brothers and Company, Limited, which position he retained until his death. In 1895 the Russian hereditary rank of nobility was conferred upon him. He was a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers from its foundation.

The relations of the four brothers throughout their lives were of the most intimate and affectionate kind. It is therefore fitting to close this memoir by quoting from Dr. Werner von Siemens’s "Personal Recollections" the tribute which he paid to his brother’s character: "I should call the next brother Charles the most normally constituted of us all. He was always to be depended upon, faithful and conscientious, a good pupil, an affectionate, attached brother. His clear eye and generally cultivated understanding made him an excellent man of business, and, with his large technical knowledge and an excellent tact, an admirable conductor of business undertakings. Charles was the true connecting link between us four brothers, who differed indeed radically from one another, but were bound together for lifelong common work by all-subduing fraternal love."

Carl Heinrich von Siemens was elected a Member of this Institution on the 24th May, 1870.


1906 Obituary [3]

CARL HEINRICH VON SIEMENS died at Mentone in March, 1906. Mr. Siemens was born in 1829 at Menzendorf in Mechlinburg.

For the greater part of his life he co-operated with his brothers Werner, William and Friedrich, with the first-named of whom he was instrumental in the development of the firms of Siemens Brothers and Siemens & Halske, and of the several undertakings with which the name of Siemens is associated.

After the death of his father in 1839 he lived for a time in Lubeck, and subsequently completed his time at school in Berlin. Later he became the assistant, in the firm of Siemens & Halske; of his eldest brother the late Dr. Werner von Siemens.

After the Schleswig-Holstein war in 1848 Carl entered a chemical factory in Berlin, but he soon quitted this to assist his brother in the maintenance of telegraph lines.

In 1851 he represented with Friedrich the Berlin firm at the London Universal Exhibition, and at a later date became Manager of the Paris branch of the firm.

In 1852 he came to London to take charge of the London office of his brother William, who was then engaged at Birmingham on research work in connection with the regenerative steam engine. The Russian Government about that time entrusted Siemens & Halske with important telegraph contracts, and Carl Siemens was appointed to take complete charge of the firm's interests in Russia, where owing to his energy and ability the Russian business grew rapidly to very considerable proportions.

In 1855 he took charge of a large branch factory at St. Petersburg, and nine years later the London firm, owing to the retirement of Mr. Halske, was reconstituted with the three brothers Werner, William and Carl as partners, the business being carried on from 1865 as Siemens Bros.

In 1869 Mr. William Siemens requested his brother at St. Petersburg to share in the management of the London business, and as the Russian telegraph maintenance contracts had expired he was free to comply with his brother's wishes. For eleven years he worked in conjunction with his brother William, during which period the Woolwich works were gradually enlarged, and the gutta-percha factory established there. Amongst other interests he took an active part in the laying of submarine cables, and in this connection it is interesting to record that he was the first who succeeded in raising from the bed of the Atlantic a broken submarine cable.

In 1880 the firm of Siemens Bros, was converted into a limited company, Carl remaining one of the directors, but about this time he returned to St. Petersburg, where he took over once more the management of the Russian business.

When Dr. Werner von Siemens died in 1892 Mr. Carl von Siemens was called to Berlin to take up the management of the firm of Siemens & Halske, and in that year also he was elected to the Chairmanship of Siemens Bros. & Co., Ltd., which position he held until his death. As an inventor his name is not so well known as those of his brothers, but he was a man of great energy and perseverance, and was justly celebrated as a capable administrator and organiser.

He was an original member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and held office as Member of Council from 1873 to 1876, and as Vice-President from 1877 to 1880.


1906 Obituary [4]



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