Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Joseph von Baader

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Joseph von Baader (1763-1835) was a German engineer and physician. He is considered to have been one of the most important engineering designers of his time. He studied medicine, mathematics, mechanical engineering and mining. In 1796 Baader became a full member of the Philosophical Class of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. In 1798, he became director of mining and mechanical engineering in Bavaria. In 1802 the Elector Max IV Joseph of Bavaria commissioned Baader with the creation of new fountains for the Nymphenburg Palace Park.

The above information is condensed from the Wikipedia entry (English).

In 1803 he built a pumping station in the “ Grünen Brunnhaus” in the Nymphenburg Palace Park in Munich to serve a fountain, and in 1808 he built a pumping station in the “Johannisbrunnhaus” that drove the large fountain in front of the castle. These pumping stations are considered to be the oldest of their type still operating in Europe, if not worldwide. A special feature of the design is the air cushion.

Napoleon was impressed by these fountains, and called him to Paris in 1805 to help improve the Marly and Versailles water supplies. However, his suggestions were not carried out. Baader also got to know Joseph Michel Montgolfier , the inventor of hydraulic ram.

In 1807, Baader made his first railway plans, and in 1814 he submitted a plan for a horse-drawn railway from Nuremberg to Fürth. The Bavarian king had approved and inspected the construction of a test railway by von Baader in the Nymphenburg Palace Park in 1825.

The above information is condensed from the German Wikipedia entry.

See here for more information and illustrations of von Baader's railway-related inventions.

Joseph von Baader spent periods in Britain in the 8 years starting in 1789 or 1790. He was described as having 'a very plausible tongue and an attractive personality.' He claimed to have undertaken reorganization at the famous ironworks of Coalbrookdale and of John Wilkinson. He impressed the Lindsay brothers who owned the Haigh Ironworks, and they appointed him manager. There he introduced German carpenters and miners, who were reported as doing 'nothing but smash the moulding patterns to make furniture for themselves, in the case of the carpenters, and the miners showed none of that industry which Baader had praised, but started the day's work as late and finished as early as possible. As for Baader himself, " he looks after nothing, nor cares not, as far as his deportment can be read, whether matters sink or swim. It took some time, apparently, for the Earl [of Balcarres] to recognise what the true state of affairs was, but at last it became clear to him. "Contagion and destruction seems to follow his (Baader's) steps everywhere", he lamented; not without cause, for Reichenbach (Baader's associate) had dismantled the steam engine for the blast and left it in pieces.' [1].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'The Haigh Ironworks, 1790-1856: A Nobleman's Enterprise During the Industrial Revolution' by Alan Birch