Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Georg Friedrich von Reichenbach

One of the main players in the industrialization of Germany. Von Reichenbach grew up in Mannheim, where he attended the artillery school. He divided his spare time between the observatory of the Elector of Bavaria and his father's workshop, which was producing military equipment. In 1791-1793, he lived in England to improve his technical knowledge; on his return, he joined the Bavarian army as an engineer, with the task of expanding the workshops for the production of light and heavy ordnance. Amid his busy career in military production, Reichenbach found time to design and build a dividing engine that outperformed those produced in England by Ramsden (1735-1800). With J. Leibherr, he founded a Mathematical and Mechanical Institute for the construction of astronomical, geodesic, and physical instruments. These soon became famous across Europe, thanks in particular to the expert contribution of Fraunhofer (1787-1826). Von Reichenbach also built hydraulic machines, bridges, steam engines, and other machinery for civilian applications, such as gas and water distribution. He designed the biggest water pump ever made, which operated from 1817 to as late as 1958. For the State of Bavaria, he built a pipeline to transport the brine produced by the Alpine salt mines to places where the fuel necessary for salt extraction was more abundant. In 1820, he became director of the Bavarian road network.

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