George Krauss


George Krauss

George, Baron von Krauss ("Georg, Ritter von Krauss"), who was born on 25th December 1826 in Augsburg and died on 5th November 1906 in Munich, was a German industrialist and the founder of the Krauss Locomotive Works ("Locomotivfabrik Krauß & Comp.") in Munich and Linz (Upper Austria). He changed the spelling of his name from "Krauß" to "Krauss", later on once the form of his name in capital letters on the company's emblems had become established.

Early Beginnings

George Krauss was born on 25th December 1826 in Augsburg as the eldest child of four, to the master weaver, Johann George Friedrich Krauss and his wife Anna Margarethe, née Stahl. After attending primary school, he went to the Royal Polytechnic School, founded in 1833 (today Augsburg High School). After completing his education he worked temporarily in the Maffei Locomotive Works in Munich, then for the Royal Bavarian State Railways ("Königlich Bayerische Staatsbahn") in Hof, Germany, Kempten and Lindau. A decisive step in his development was his job as a master machinist with the Northeast Railway ("Nordostbahn") in Zurich, where he built his first four locomotives. From then on he was already preparing for the founding of his factory in Munich. In spite of strong opposition from the already established Joseph Anton von Maffei he obtained the necessary capital to found the factory on the Marsfeld in Neuhausenand on 17th July 1866, a satellite factory at Munich South station in 1872 and another works in 1880 in Linz (Austria) in order to avoid the high import taxes of the Danube monarchy.

Further Successes

But Krauss was not just a successful locomotive manufacturer, but also supported other technological developments, like the first refrigerators by Linde. He took part in the expansion of railway lines in the Saxony, Thuringia and Alsace, in the conversion of the horse-drawn tramways to steam operations in Munich and Vienna, the building of the Chiemsee Railway and the establishment of the Lokalbahn AG. In addition in 1876 he was one of the founders of the present day Institute of German Engineers, the VDI, ("Verein Deutscher Ingenieure") and in 1903 generously supported the creation of the Deutsches Museum with 100,000 marks and the repurchase of his first lokomotive "Landwührden".

Twists of Fate

In 1876 his first wife Lydia died and so too did his only son, Conrad, after an accident in 1885, whereupon Krauss converted his firm into public limited company and drew back from active business leadership. He remained chairman of the board until his death however.

Honours

As early as 1880 he was awarded the Knight's Cross 1st Class of the Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar, as well as the title of Royal Bavarian Industrialist ("Königlich bayerischer Kommerzienrat") from King Ludwig II of Bavaria for his services. In 1903 followed the Order of Merit of Holy Michael 3rd Class, and with the conferral of the Knights Cross of the Royal Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown he rose on 6th March 1905 to ranks of the nobility. The Technical University of Munich awarded him the title of Doctor of Engineering honoris causa and the VDI gave him the Grashof commemorative coin.

A Life with Foresight

In 1905 Krauss decided to move the location of the factory from the crowded town centre out to Allach, from where its successor organisation still operates today. Sadly he did not live to see either the completion of the Deutsche Museum or the move to Allach. On 5th November 1906 the manufacturer George von Krauss died shortly before his 80th birthday in Munich. His friend and one of his first co-workers, Carl von Linde, took over the chair of the board. His factory made 7186 locomotives from 1866 until its merger with the bankrupt Maffei locomotive works in 1931.

Literature

* Siegfried Baum: Die Augsburger Localbahn, EK Reihe Regionale Verkehrsgeschichte Band 30; Freiburg: Eisenbahn Kurier 2000, ISBN 3-88255-444-4
* Dr. Ing. Georg R. v. Krauss +, in: Die Lokomotive (Wien), Jahrgang 1906, Seite 213
* Alois Auer (Hrsg.): "Krauss-Maffei. Lebenslauf einer Münchner Fabrik und ihrer Belegschaft." 3K-Verlag, Kösching 1988.

External links

* http://www.verein-der-ingenieure.de/ueber_uns/geschichte.html
* http://www.werkbahn.de/eisenbahn/lokbau/museum/pres_krauss.htm
* http://www.dampflokomotiven.net/Html/Krauss.html
* Karl Schmidt, Krauss-Maffei, in: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns http://www.historisches-lexikon-bayerns.de/artikel/artikel_44907> (20.02.2007)
* There is a relevant English-language forum at [http://germanrail.8.forumer.com/index.php Railways of Germany]


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