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Gustav Bauer-Schlichtegroll

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Gustav Bauer-Schlichtegroll (1871-1953)


1954 Obituary [1]

IT is with deep regret that we record the death of Professor Dr.-Ing. Gustav Bauer-Schlichtegroll, which took place on Sunday, December 6, 1953, at his home, 82, Mittelweg, Hamburg, following a long illness and shortly after his eight-second birthday.

Dr. Bauer was the only son of Geheimrat Dr. G. Bauer, Professor of Mathematics in the University of Munich, and was born on December 1, 1871.

From an early age he showed a strong inclination towards natural science and biology, and on entering the university he started to study medicine. During these studies the chance reading of a technical article on a large marine steam engine caused him to change his course and to devote all his time to engineering subjects. He completed his studies at the Munich Technical High School, and obtained his engineering diploma with distinction, and, shortly after, the degree of Dr.-Phil. in the subjects of mathematics, physics and chemistry. His thesis was written on original experiments which he carried out on the exact measurement of the specific weight of saturated steam.

In order to obtain practical experience in the handling of large marine steam engines, Dr. Bauer made several voyages in ships of the North German Fleet, through the kindness of his friend, Dr. Wiegand, who was then general manager of the company. Dr. Wiegand also introduced him to Geheimrat Justus Flohr, who was then head of the marine engineering section of the Aktiengesellschaft " Vulcan " at Stettin-Bredow.

It was on December 1, 1895, that young Bauer entered the service of that. firm. Seven years later, in 1902, he had become, at the age of thirty-one, chief assistant to Dr. Justus Flohr. His work included the applications of the Yarrow Schlick and Tweedy system of balancing to high-speed marine steam engines, and the design and construction of high-duty water-tube boilers.

At that time, the Vulcan Company was the leading shipbuilding and marine engineering firm in Germany, and from 1889 to 1892 it had built and engined the first German twin-screw liner, "Augusta Victoria" and the "Furst Bismarck."

In 1897 the North German Lloyd express liner, "Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse" was completed, and Dr. Bauer sailed with her on her maiden voyage. Later, she was the first German liner to gain the "Blue Riband" of the Atlantic.

In the years which followed up to 1904 other notable ships built and engined at the Vulcan yard included the "Deutschland," the "Kronprinz Wilhelm," the "Kaiser Wilhelm II," and the "Kronprinzessen Cacilie." Of these, the "Deutschland" and the "Kaiser Wilhelm II" were also holders of the "Blue Riband." Dr. Bauer was responsible for design and construction of the machinery and boilers of these ships.

About the same time the Vulcan yard constructed several naval vessels for the German Navy, and for other foreign navies, among which may be mentioned the torpedo-destroyers "Nowik" and "Bogatyr" for the Imperial Russian Navy, which, at 36 knots, were among the fastest ships of their class afloat. Dr. Bauer paid many visits to Russia in connection with the construction of these vessels.

In these busy years he also found time to write his book on the theory and practice of marine engine and boiler construction, entitled Handbuch der Berechnung und Konstruction der Schiffs-Maschinen und Kessel. It was first published in 1902 and later editions which followed at intervals were translated into most European languages and into Japanese.

When Dr. Justus Flohr retired, Dr. Bauer was given complete charge of marine engineering work. Between 1905 and 1910, under his direction, Professor Dr. Fottinger perfected the Fottinger hydraulic transformer, which, in combination with a train of gearing, was to play an important part in the development of ship's propelling machinery, diesel locomotives and road transport vehicles. To-day, such couplings and gears have been built up to a collective total of several hundred million horsepower.

It was about 1908 when Dr. Bauer, director of the marine engine section of his firm with a seat on the board, came to Hamburg to the new Vulcan shipyard and engine works, which had been laid out near Hamburg on the River Elbe. One of his first jobs was to supervise the designs for the propelling machinery of the new Hamburg America express liner, "Imperator," which had just been ordered. That. ship was completed in 1913 and was, we may recall, a 52,000-ton liner with propelling machinery of 80,000 s.h.p. on four screws. She was the first of a series of giant German liners, and served as a type ship, for the construction of the later liners "Vaterland" and "Bismarck," which were built by Blohm and Voss, of Hamburg.

After the first world war, Dr. Bauer was intimately concerned with the further development of the Fottinger hydraulic transmitter under the names of "Vulcan-Coupling" and "Vulcan-Drive" at the Vulcan Works at Hamburg. This type of drive was successfully used for both naval ships and merchant vessels. In England it was developed in collaboration with Mr. Harold Sinclair as the Vulcan-Sinclair coupling by the Fluidrive Engineering Company, Ltd., of Isleworth, mainly for automobile and industrial applications. Vulcan couplings totalling over 200 million horsepower have now been constructed.

A further development of this principle, which was to carry Dr. Bauer's name, was the Bauer-Wach exhaust steam turbine, combined with a reduction gearing and hydraulic transmitter of Vulcan design. Licences for the construction of this patented design of propelling machinery were taken out by many firms. The principal British firms included William Beardmore, Ltd., on the Clyde, and Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson, at Wallsend and Walker-on-Tyne. The development of the Bauer-Wach exhaust steam turbine brought Dr. Bauer into personal touch with marine engineers in many parts of the world, and with his fluent command of English and French he made friendships, which he treasured to the end of his life. In 1926 the Vulcan shipyard and engine works was acquired by the Deutschen Schiff und Maschinenbau Aktiengesellschaft (Deschlmag), a Bremen foundation, and from that time onwards Dr. Bauer's main duties were carried out from the Aktiengesellschaft Weser, the Bremen branch of the Deschimag concern. It was here that he undertook the design, layout and construction of the propelling machinery for the North German Lloyd express liner " Bremen," which was ordered from Deschlmag in 1926 and was completed in 1929. The 120,000 s.h.p. geared turbine machinery was a great success, and the "Bremen" gained the "Blue Riband" on her maiden voyage. Between the years 1929 and 1939 Dr. Bauer worked in close collaboration with the Wagner Hochdruck K.G. of Hamburg, and was technical adviser to the firm, which developed high-pressure, water-tube boilers for fast naval and mercantile ships. His own firm, the Aktiengesellschaft Weser, built and engined the two East Asia passenger liners " Scharnhorst" and " Gneisenau," which, along with the turbo-electric liner "Potsdam," built by Blohm and Voss, of Hamburg, were among the first high-pressure boilered ships for merchant service. In these years, too, Dr. Bauer found time for further literary activities in the German and foreign Press, and he began his lectures at the Technical University in Berlin.

During the period of the second world war, the Deschimag concern, to which belonged the Seeback Shipyard in Bremen, and the Vulcan yard at Hamburg and at Stettin, designed and constructed high-pressure propelling machinery, not only for its own ships, but for naval and merchant ships built in other shipyards. Following this new arrangement, Dr. Bauer was made general technical director of the Deschimag and had full responsibility not only for propelling machinery, but for shipbuilding in all the Deschimag yards. Towards the close of the year 1946 Dr. Bauer retired from the board, but to the end of his life he remained technical adviser to the group. In his long and successful life, Dr. Bauer never sought outside honours, but his work was recognised by many bodies. The Schiffbautechnische Gesellschaft, of which he had been a council member for many years, gave to him its highest honour, the Gold Medal. The Charlottenburg Technical High School made him an Honorary Professor on the Berlin Technical University staff, and a member of its teaching body. He was also awarded the Dr.-Ing. degree. On his seventieth birthday the German Government recognised his valuable work by conferring upon him the Adlerschild. The technical Press outside Germany recognised the great value of the work he did for German shipbuilding and engineering, and he received tributes from technical institutions in many countries.

Those of his friends who knew him well, his colleagues who were privileged to work with him, and the many students who attended his lectures, will long remember his tall and distinctive bearing, and his love of sport which enabled him to play a good game of tennis even in his later years. He was a leader in his own country, who, through his work, his teaching, and his books, widely influenced others and did much to raise the technical standards of his chosen profession.




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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1954/01/08