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British Industrial History

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Max Ludwig Kahn

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Max Ludwig Kahn (1877-1945)

1945 Obituary.[1]

DR. MAX LUDWIG KAHN, who died suddenly on the 26th July, 1945, was born in Mannheim in 1877 and received his training at the Technical High School, Karlsruhe, under Prof. E. Arnold, where he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Engineering for original work on the contact resistance of carbon brushes. As a result of this success, he was invited to collaborate with Prof. Arnold and Dr. la Cour in the preparation of a series of textbooks, comprising seven volumes dealing with the design and construction of electrical machinery, which are now generally regarded as classics.

He came to this country in 1904 as Chief Designer of the Brush Electrical Engineering Co., and adopted British nationality. After nine years at Loughborough, he joined the General Electric Co. at Witton in a similar capacity, becoming Chief Engineer in 1933. For over 40 years he was thus closely associated with the great developments that have taken place during this period of rapid advance. He was particularly interested in the design of large alternators, rotary convertors, and motors for rolling-mill drive, colliery winding, ship propulsion, and all kinds of traction. Special mention may be made of the first of these, as he was responsible for the design of some of the largest turbo-generators to be manufactured in this country.

He was a familiar figure at Institution meetings, and his contributions to the discussions were always thoughtful and constructive. He was a great admirer of the British people and their institutions, and his friends came to rely on him as a shrewd commentator on international affairs. His loss will be keenly felt by his many colleagues, not only in his own firm, but through-out the electrical industry, as he was a man of a most friendly disposition, always seeking to do acts of kindness, and a good mixer with equals and subordinates alike. Of simple tastes, he spent much of his spare time cultivating the beautiful garden he had laid out at Westmead, his home in Sutton Coldfield. Mrs. Kahn and their two daughters survive him.

He became a Member of The Institution in 1911, and served on the Birmingham Local Section Committee from 1912 to 1914.

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