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British Industrial History

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Philippe Alexandre Gottschalk

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Philippe Alexandre Gottschalk (1834-1898)

1898 Obituary [1]

PHILIPPE ALEXANDRE GOTTSCHALK died in Paris on February 21, 1898, at the age of sixty-four. Born in St. Petersburg on August 13, 1834, he went to Paris in 1843, and became a student from 1850 to 1853 in the Ecole Centrale.

In 1854 he began his engineering career in the service of the Southern Railway, and was sent next year to England to order, inspect, and pass rails and permanent way.

Returning to France in 1855, he was engaged for two years under Eugene Flachat on the various works which attended the amalgamation of the different lines forming the Western Railway. From 1857 to 1866 he was engineer to the Russian railways, which at that time were under the direction of a board in Paris, and he rapidly rose to the position of engineer-in-chief. From 1863 to 1866 he had charge of the equipment of the Nicolas Railway from St. Petersburg to Moscow, 370 miles long.

From 1867 to 1878 he was engaged as engineer and locomotive superintendent of the Austrian Southern Railways. The network of lines under his management comprised about 1400 miles, including the Semmering and Brenner passes, and on his leaving in 1898 was worked by 1275 locomotives, 3,353 passenger carriages, and 25,927 waggons. For the Brenner incline of 1 in 40, which crossed the Alps between Innsbruck and Bonen, at an elevation of 4,480 feet, he designed a class of locomotive which was adopted also for the Mont Cenis line. For this invention he was awarded in 1877 the gold medal of the Societe des Ingenieurs Civils. Returning to France in 1878, he was elected in 1879 a Vice-President, and in 1880 President of the Societe des Ingenieurs Civils. Owing to the leading part he took in the discussions during his presidency upon the subject of the purchase of railways, he was appointed on 25th November 1880 a member of the Government Railway Commission. In the same year he became naturalised as a Frenchman. In April 1881 he was appointed a member of the Committee of the Ecole Centrals, and was also elected President of the Association of Graduates of that school.

In January 1882 he was appointed by the Ministry of Public Works to be a member of the Consulting Committee for the technical working of railways. In connection with the Railway Commission, he was occupied during the remaining eighteen years of his life with a large number of practical investigations. In 1890 he was created an officer of the Legion of Honour. He was consulting engineer to the Bank of Paris and the Netherlands, and to the Austro-Hungarian State Railways, and took part in establishing the Association of Iron and Steel Works in the north and east of France.

He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1878.

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