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Charles George Kleberg

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Charles George Kleberg (1836-1888)

1888 Obituary [1]

CHARLES GEORGE ELEBERG, the son of a gentleman-farmer in the Baltic Provinces of Russia, was born in 1836. From early boyhood his great wish was to study chemistry at the University of Dorpat, but his father designed him for the career of an engineer, and, with that view, sent him in 1853 to the Polytechnic School at St. Petersburg for four years. There, in spite of uncongenial surroundings, he worked well, obtaining a gold medal and the Diploma of Civil Engineering.

In 1857 he went to Paris to gain practical experience in the locomotive establishment of Messrs. Cail and Co., and subsequently spent some time in the works of Messrs. Sharp, Stewart and Co., at Manchester.

Returning to Russia in 1861, he served as foreman in the Leuchtenberg Ironworks at St. Petersburg, and in the following year acted as superintendent, under Mr. Paumier, of the works for the water-supply of the Nijni line.

In 1863 he was engaged as an Assistant Engineer on the construction of the Dunaberg-Witepsk Railway, under Mr. Morgan B. Williams, M.Inst.C.E. He was then employed in building and managing the Bolderaa mechanical works and a flour-mill in the neighbourhood of Riga, after which he assisted in the survey of the Mohilev-Witepsk line.

In 1868 Mr. Kleberg was appointed Chief Inspecting Engineer of rolling-stock and railway-material in England, Germany, and France, for several Russian railways, including the Riga-Mitau, the Moscow-Brest, and the Brest-Smolensk lines. The duties of this appointment brought Mr. Kleberg into contact with several well-known English firms, and he was subsequently induced to establish himself in London as a Consulting Engineer. After being so employed for ten years, he was compelled by, among other things, the increased duty imposed by the Russian Government on railway materials, to return to Russia. He took up his residence at St. Petersburg, where he continued to practice as a Consulting Engineer. He had not been there long before anxiety of mind and pecuniary difficulties, caused by the failure of certain business friends to justify the trust he had been led to place in them, told upon his health. Yet, in spite of many obstacles, Mr. Kleberg made his way, and gained some distinction not only as President of the Polytechnic Society of St. Petersburg, but also by a series of lectures he delivered as a member of the Societe des Ingenieurs des Voies de Communications on "American systems of Canalization." Some time later he determined, on medical advice, to try the climate of South Russia, and accepted the post of Technical Director of the extensive Cement Works at Novorossisk in Caucassia. The change, however, had no permanent effect upon his failing health, and two years later he died suddenly and peacefully on the 12th of April (31st of March, O.S.), 1888, leaving a widow and one son.

Mr. Kleberg was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 14th of May, 1872, and in 1878, when it was decided to divide that class into two groups, he was placed among the Associate Members.

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