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Schichau, Ferdinand

SCHICHAU, FERDINAND (1814-1896), German engineer and shipbuilder, was born at Elbing, where his father was a smith and ironworker, on the soth of January 1814. He studied engineering at Berlin and then in England, and returning to Elbing in 1837 started works of his own, which from small beginnings eventually developed into an establishment employing some 8000 men. He began by making steam engines, hydraulic presses and industrial machinery, and, by concerning himself with canal work and river or coast improvement, came to the designing and construction of dredgers, in which he was the pioneer (1841), and finally to the building of ships.

His " Borussia," in 1855, was the first screw-vessel constructed in Germany. Schichau began to specialize in building torpedoboats and destroyers (at first for the Russian government) at an early date. From 1873 he had the co-operation of Carl H. Ziese, who married his daughter. Ziese introduced compound engines into the first vessels built by Schichau for the German navy, the gunboats " Habicht " and " Mowe," launched in 1879, and also designed in 1881 the first triple-expansion machinery constructed on the continent, supplying these engines to the torpedo-boats built by Schichau for the German navy in 1884, the first of some 1 60 that by the year 1909 were provided for Germany out of the Elbing yards. Torpedo-boats were also built for China, Austria and Italy. Meanwhile Elbing had become insufficient for the increased output demanded. In 1889 Schichau established a floating dock and repairing shops at Pillau, and soon afterwards, by arrangement with the government, started a large shipbuilding yard at Danzig, for the purpose of constructing the largest ships of war and for the mercantile marine. He died on the 23rd of January 1896; but Ziese carried on the work, and not only made the Danzig yard the chief cradle of the new German fleet, rivalling the finest English establishments, but also largely developed the equipment at Elbing. The Schichau works have made the name of their originator to rank with that of Krupp.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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