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Siegfried Marcus

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c.1885 Engine to S. Marcus' patent, at Vienna Technical Museum
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Siegfried Marcus's car, dated at 1888/9, on display at Vienna Technical Museum
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Siegfried Marcus (1831-1898) was born in Malchin, Mecklenburg, in Germany.

For much more information, see Wikipedia entry

Motor Vehicles

Marcus was a prolific inventor, and produced a crude experimental vehicle which is claimed to be the first to be powered by a petrol engine. There is some uncertainty about its date, partly because relevant records were destroyed by the nazis, Marcus being of Jewish heritage. 1870 is now considered to be the most likely date for this vehicle[1]

A later car, dated at 1888/9, is on display at Vienna Technical Museum. The car and its engine were made by Märky, Bromovsky & Schulz at their Adamstahl factory. [2].

Internal Combustion Engines

Vienna Technical Museum also has on display a compact internal combustion engine (described as a benzinmotor or petrol engine), dated c.1885. See photos. The frame casting originally bore the words PATENT S. MARCUS. WIEN, but an attempt has been made to chisel off WIEN (Vienna). For more information, see here.

1882 'LOCAL PATENTS AND TRADEMARKS The following applications for patents have been made during the week:— 2,423, William P. Thompson, C.E., agent for procuring patents, 6, Lord-street, Liverpool, and 323, High Holborn, London, W.C. (a communication in trust for Siegfried Marcus, of Vienna, Austria). Improvements in or appertaining to motors actuated by the explosion of comminuted liquids, vapour or gas and air, parts of which invention are applicable also to the manufacture of an intimate mixture of liquid and vapour, or air or gas, for illuminating or other purposes."'[3]

1886 'NEW PETROLEUM ENGINE. The attention of the British Government may be called a new petroleum engine invented by the distinguished electrician, Herr Siegfried Marcus, of Vienna. The machine is set in motion by electromagnetism. It has far more power than a steam engine of the same size, is less liable to derangement, and is not subject to explosions. Moreover, the fuel which feeds it takes up much less space than coal. All the experiments made with this engine have been satisfactory.— Times Telegram.'[4]

Electric Lighting

1878 'THE NEWEST PROGRESS ON ELECTRIC LIGHT. Mr Jacques Grunhut sends the following translation from the New Free Press of Vienna:
Whilst in London the gas panic is yet prevailing which was produced by the news that Edison, the inventor of the phonograph, had succeeded to divide the electric current to produce a greater number of lights, to-day we are in a position to surprise our readers with other sensational news.
A Vienna technologist, Mr Siegfried Marcus, has in fact, although silently, solved the high problem for the technic of light before, and asked for patents of all States before the news about Edison's Invention reached us over the ocean. Through this invention one is able to light by electricity not only large squares but also private houses; for means of the apparatus one can obtain light of high intensity well as of the power of a gas flame, even of that of candle.
The inventor will shortly, as soon as he has completed a certain number of lamps, give practical proof before authorities and friends of technical progress. We will not fail to record it to our readers. In the meanwhile it will not be out of place to give some information to the course and present standing of the electric light.
The possibility to apply eleotric light also outside of theatres has only entered into a practical stadium through the invention of the Electro-Dynamitic or Electro-Magnetin engine, of which first Dr Werner Siemens and also the English mechanist, Ladd Modelle, have introduced at the Paris Exhibition in 1867, and which caused great surprise. Previous to this the mechanist Wild, in Birmingham, had realized the principle of transferring power—heat and light from one place to another by an engine. All these three prominent men have made the inventions by their own ingenuity, and have thorefore to divide themselves in the honour. Besides those, many others have made experiments, but were less fortunate. We were brought nearer to the object by the practical achievement of Gramme's such a power and cheapness produced that it began to substitute the gas in great squares and similar places. First the Gramme's engines were adopted in some factories in Paris, large French establishments, and ports. Already, in winter 1875-6, here in Vienna a first trial of this engine was made by the Vienna Skating Club with two of the Gramme's engines, and illuminated the Glaciarium during two winters (76-77, 77-78) with two flames, each of the power of 500 Carcel burners, and tbe application of the Terrins lamp. Since this autumn also two flames have been applied before the "Carl Theatre," with which lamps of Marcus are used. Already have the "Kronprlnz" Rudolph Railway and the "Kaiser-Ferdinands" Nord Railway taken the initiative to profit of the benefit of the electric light. The "Nordbahn" has got constructed a waggon for lightning purposes, with which Gramme's engine and the lamp of Marcus is made use of, same as applied at the works for completion near the blockade ship. And the "Nordbahn" considers just now a plan to provide her locomotives with the electric light for the night service, as it is well known that the most accidents occur with the night trains. The single difficulty up to the present consists to have a lamp, which in spite of the commotion during the going of the train will do its service, but which difficulty is now set aside by the invention of the lamps by Marcus. In the meanwhile, other electro-magnet engines have been made by various manufacturers, and the English Admiralty made trials on ships and lighthouses with various engines, of which one took place on November 6th, 1876, and the others from January 26th to February 6th, and from March 6th to April 7th, 1877. With these trials twelve engines from the works of Gramme's, Siemens, Holmes, and the Alliance Company were used, and it was the engine of Siemens which gained the victory over the others as well with regard to the power of light as to the price. Since then the introduction of the engines of Gramme and Siemens has made considerable progress, especially in France and England. The directors of works, mines, harbours, lighthouses, theatres, &c., were competing to make use of the new light, which converts night to day, and which costs besides only half the price of the cheapest gas. In the English press disputes have arisen as to which method of lighting be the cheapest, and all interested in gas try to prove the contrary but on the other side, we have detailed costs of different works which prove the aforesaid.
In spite of these two extraordinary qualities of the electric light, two great hindrances are against them for the general use, for lighting the streets and private houses. The first consists in the imperfection of the lamps, the prices of which are yet too high to allow numerous appliances. The second is that each single light requires a separate electric conductor. We shall apeak later and more minutely about the lamps, and today will already mention that improvements in the construction are made from various sides and with good result as those by Jablochkow, Raplew, Lontin. The second until late existing difficulty was the practical division of the electric light. As it was clear that the introduction of the electrio light in private houses would only depend of the future progress, technologists were since a long time at the work to realize the desirability of the electric light; all was in vain, and during the last two years they have only succeeded to divide the electric stream by mechanical appliances. This is done since one year by means of double engine used by Jablochkow and Lontin invented by the latter, and Gramme. With this, besides the ordinary electric magnetic engine, there is a second machine for exchanging the conductions, and in which around are placed induction for each separate light. With new apparatus which is at present applied after Jablochkow's system on various places in Paris and at the Gaiety Theatre in London so many lights can be produced as there are induction coils. They are, of course, as many conductors connected with the double engine. With such and engine Jablochkow produces 32 and Lontin 35 flames, and both think to be able to reach the number of 50 flames. This system requires a far larger capital and requires more power for motion than would be required for the same number of flames to be served each separately by an engine of Gramme's. Besides, there is the enormous high price for the patent itself, the cost price of a single-double engine comes very high. For suoh an engine, with only 12 flames, the enormous price of 40,000 florins were asked from an Austrian lord, whilst a single engine of the same power would cost but 2,000 florins. Taking such facts into consideration, the English people interested in gas works may easily prove that their retentions are right, i.e., that the lighting of Opera Place in Paris by the Jablochkow's engine is three times higher than if illuminated by gas. The system of the mechanical division of the light is on account of the high cost useless for general application as the production of electric light by single engines for large squares. To apply the electric light for lighting streets and private houses will be out of the question so long as the real physical division of the electric is not practically found. But this is to be taken in the following sense that from a single chief conductor through which a strong electricity is sent, a number of branches can go out, each of which can receive a part of the electric stream, and to bring it forth as a light by means of a responding mechanical contrivance. In solving such a problem the number of flames is only limited by the proportion of the size to the power of the applied electric discharge. Now this, by the aid of the electro-dynamitic engine, is done at once easy and well, and as thus the light be reduced to the minimum brightness of a candle, there is no more difficulty in increasing considerably the number of flames. Such a net of electric conductors would be similar to that of gas conductors, where also from a chief pipe and great number of small pipes are branching off. The system of Jablochkow and Lontin could therefore be compared to gas flames of whioh one would be directly fed from the gas works. It is that physical division of the electric light which Edison will have found out, but which, as we have convinced ourselves at an experiment to which we were invited by Mr Siegfried Marcus, has been invented by him before. This gentleman is in his experiment only so far to make the trials on a small scale, i.e., by means of a Siemens engine of the smallest size, of power of 1 1/2 horse gas machine. In the trial which took place on the 27th of October, only ten lamps were therefore lighted; however, the experiment proves to be great success. By the pressure on a key the inventor lighted the lamps and extinguished same to his pleasure. He lighted only one of the range which he had isolated, lighted the same again without the interference of the others. The lights, although in a close room, were not disturbing, and when ground globes were put upon the light it was soft, although a stearin candle which stood at the side looked like a yellow flower. The lamps stood together and fed by one and the ssme conducting wire. All doubt had to disappear. The question is solved. To its applying on a large scale no hindrance is in its way.'[5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'The End of the Marcus Legend' by Lynwood Bryant, Technology and Culture Vol. 12, No. 4 (Oct., 1971), pp. 618-620
  2. [2] Vienna Technical Museum website: Marcus Car, 1888/1889
  3. Liverpool Daily Post, 3 June 1882
  4. Western Times, 18 November 1886
  5. Shields Daily Gazette, 6 November 1878