Halske, Johann Georg

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b. 30 July 1814 Hamburg, Germany
d. 18 March 1890 Berlin, Germany
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German engineer who introduced precision methods into the manufacture of electrical equipment; co-founder of Siemens \& Halske.
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Halske moved to Berlin when he was a young man, and in 1844 was working for the university, at first independently and then jointly with F. Bötticher, developing and building electric medical appliances. In 1845 he met Werner von Siemens and together they became founder members of the Berlin Physics Society. It was in Halske's workshop that Siemens, assisted by the skill of the former, was able to work out his inventions in telegraphy. In 1847 the two men entered into partnership to manufacture telegraph equipment, laying the foundations of the successful firm of Siemens \& Halske. At the outset, before Werner von Siemens gave up his army career, Halske acted as the sole manager of the firm and was also involved in testing the products. Inventions they developed included electric measuring instruments and railway signalling equipment, and they installed many telegraph lines, notably those for the Russian Government. When gutta-percha became available on the market, the two men soon developed an extrusion process for applying this new material to copper conductors. To the disappointment of Halske, who was opposed to mass production, the firm introduced series production and piece wages in 1857. The expansion of the business, particularly into submarine cable laying, caused some anxiety to Halske, who left the firm on amicable terms in 1867. He then worked for a few years developing the Arts and Crafts Museum in Berlin and became a town councillor.
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Further Reading
S. von Weihr and H.Götzeler, 1983, The Siemens Company. Its Historical Role in the Progress of Electrical Engineering 1847–1983, Berlin (provides a full account).
Neue Deutsche Biographie, 1966, Vol. 7, Berlin, pp. 572–3.
S.von Weiher, 1972–3, "The Siemens brothers, pioneers of the electrical age in Europe", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 45:1–11.
GW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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