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Ábrahám Ganz

david ganz, david ganzsarto
Ábrahám Ganz born as Abraham Ganz, 6 November 1814, Unter-Embrach, Switzerland - 15 December 1867, Pest, Austria-Hungary was a Swiss-born Hungarian iron manufacturer, machine and technical engineer, entrepreneur, father of Ganz Works He was the founder and the manager of the company that he made the flagship of the Hungarian economy in the 19th century Despite his early death in 1867 the company remained one of the strongest manufacturing enterprise in Austria-Hungary Many famous engineers worked at Ganz Works inter alia Károly Zipernowsky, Ottó Bláthy, Miksa Déri, András Mechwart, Kálmán Kandó, Donát Bánki, János Csonka and Theodore von Kármán and several world-famous inventions were done there, like the first railway electric traction, or the invention of the roller mill, the carburetor, the transformer and the Bánki-Csonka engine1


  • 1 Life
    • 11 Early years
    • 12 Escher Wyss AG
    • 13 Josef Rollmill Company József Hengermalom Társulat
    • 14 Ganz Works
  • 2 Personal life
  • 3 Death
  • 4 Legacy
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 Literature


Early yearsedit

Unter-Embrach, Switzerland, the birthplace of Ábrahám Ganz

He was born into a Swiss Calvinist family in Unter-Embrach His father, Johann Ulrich Ganz, was a cantor teacher His mother, Katharina Remi, died when he was just 10 years old He was the oldest son out of nine children

Escher Wyss AGedit

Because of financial difficulties he had to work as a carpenter apprentice, but before his liberation he went to Zurich to work at the foundry of the Escher Wyss AG as a casting apprentice At the age of twenty he travelled a lot in Germany, France, Austria and Italy, worked in different factories where he gathered experiences In 1841 he arrived in Buda

Josef Rollmill Company József Hengermalom Társulatedit

Ábrahám Ganz

István Széchenyi initiated the building of a steam mill in Buda, and he established the Josef Rollmill Company József Hengermalom Társulat Ábrahám Ganz started to work there as a mechanic He saw that there is a lack of good, iron industry experts in the quickly developing Hungarian manufacturing Shortly he became the first casting master of the foundry of the steam mill They could achieve with the new technology of the indirect casting excessively pure casts which made it easier to combine different metals The finished casts were introduced to the public on the first Hungarian Industrywork Exhibition Magyar Iparmű Kiállítás in 1842 Its special combination and purity was praised even by Lajos Kossuth After that Ganz was nominated to be the head of the foundry and the machine repairing yard Even in the same year he gave a job to his brother, Konrád Ganz, who was also a casting master

In 1843, while he was working in the foundry, the cast splashed out He became blind in one of his eyes According to some sources he said then:

"One eye is lost, but the casting was successful"

— Ábrahám Ganz

Ganz Worksedit

The building of the foundry today 20 Bem József Street, Budapest Hard cast wheel according to Ábrahám Ganz's own patent Interior of the Foundry Museum Öntödei Múzeumtoday 20 Bem József Street, Budapest

The management of the steam mill paid some parts of the profit to Ganz He could buy in 1844 a big ground and a house from that money for 4500 Forints in the Víziváros He built up on that site his own foundry, and started to work there with seven assistants They made mostly casting products for the needs of the people of the city In 1845, he bought the neighbouring site and expanded his foundry with a cupola furnace He gave his brother, Henrik a job as a clerk, because of the growing administration works He made already in the first year profit, and his factory got bigger and bigger In that time he did not made his products in mass production yet In 1846 on the third Hungarian Industrywork Exhibition Magyar Iparmű Kiállítás he introduced his stoves to the public, he won the silver medaille of the exhibition committee and the bronze medaille from Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 the foundry made ten cannons and lots of cannonballs for the Hungarian army, because of that the Military Court of Austria impeached him He got seven weeks in the prison as penalty, but because of his Swiss citizenship he was acquitted of the charge

Ganz recognized that to develop his factory he had to make products that are mass-produced In 1846 the Pest-Vác railway line was built In that time the European foundries made wrought iron rims for spoked wagon wheels They poured the casts in shapes in the sand, and leave it there to cool down Meanwhile, in the United States and England they used a better method, the chill casting which was invented by the Englishman John Burn in 1812 The essence of this process is if you cool down the cast faster, the metal will be harder, and wear-proofer That is possible if the casting frame is made of a good heat conductor Ganz could made one in 1853 for the first time And he could also improve this method by using antimony He got a patent for this invention in 1856

Ganz describes so the essence of his process:

"To get a hard cast, the so-called casting crust, as main equipment we use antimony We grind it tiny and we make paint or dollop of it We cover the walls of the casting shape with it, then we dry it and pull it together Finally, we heat it to 100 degrees, and the liquid iron is poured into the mold At the place where the mould walls are coated with said material, a glass hard crust is formed, which - depending on whether the wall of the cover is thiner or thicker - is two, three or four millimeters in thickness That is why I have found antimony the best material for the production "

— Ábrahám Ganz

He used antimony for covering the inner surface of the mold casting to avoid burning the fluid iron on the cooling iron That was the source of his success In between 1852 and 1862 he built and ran Europe's first and for a long time only crust wheel foundry His customers were Austro-Hungarian, German, French and Russian railway companies Because of the high number of orders his foundry proved to be too small, so he built his new factory in 1858

Between 1853 and 1866 his company delivered 86 074 wheels to 59 railway companies Ganz bought also an English patent, the invention of Ransomes and Biddel, which was about the heart peaks of the rail switches He improved it also, and for that he got two patents in 1861 and in 1865 Between 1860 and 1866, his company delivered 6293 crust casted heart peaks to railway companies But they produced not just for railways, they also made parts of bridges eg most of the Lánchíd's cast iron cross beams and the molding pieces of the Szeged Bridge in Szeged, as well as crust cast notched cylinders for the millindustry Later the company achieved world-famous success with this product, during the lead of András Mechwart

The number of employees at Ganz Works was 60 in 1854, 106 in 1857 and 371 in 1867 The daily production was 2-3 tonnes casts with 50-60 wheels The products of the company got several international recognitions: at the World's Fairs in Paris three bronze medals Exposition Universelle 1855, in London bronze medaile 1862 International Exhibition and on the Swiss Industrywork Exhibition a silver medal in 1867

Personal lifeedit

Statue of Ábrahám Ganz

On the 24 October 1849 he married Jozefa Heiss, the daughter of the city judge of Buda, Laurentius Heiss They could not have own children So they adopted two relative orphan girls, Anna Pospech and Jozefina Ganz2

He was nominated honorary citizen of Buda by the city council on 4 September 1863 In 1865 the emperor, Francis Joseph I, expressed personally his highest appreciation to Ábrahám Ganz On the 23 November 1867 they celebrated the production of the hundredth wheel which was made with the method of chill casting, where he gave a dinner for all of his employee and their families During his life he spent a lot of money for social purposes, in his company he uniquely opened retirement fund and patient fund

He kept his Swiss citizenship There are no data that he learned or could speak any Hungarian He spoke with his family in German, and in his factory his employees spoke also German


Tomb of Ábrahám Ganz

In his last years he worked a lot, but was not happy with his life He saw all of his brothers going crazy and he was convinced that he will have the same future After the death of his brother, Konrád, he committed suicide on 15 December 1867 His ashes were buried in the Kerepesi Cemetery In 1872, Miklós Ybl built him a Mausoleum After the death of his wife in 1913, they both lie there forever


He is considered to be one of the pioneers of the Hungarian heavy industry With his works he contributed a lot to the development of the Hungarian casting and machine manufacturing

After the death of Ábrahám Ganz, András Mechwart continued his plans and managed the company With his lead under the name of Ganz & Co Foundry and Machine Manufacturing Inc Ganz és Társa Vasöntöde és Gépgyártó Rt it became the most significant group of companies in Hungary that was active in the machine, vehicle and electrical manufacturing industry with world-famous inventions and technical solutions

In the original foundry the production stopped in 1964, and the building with all of the objects left became the Foundry Museum Öntödei Múzeum The building is since 1997 under monument protection

See alsoedit

  • Ganz Works, Ábrahám Ganz's company
  • Anton Eichleiter
  • András Mechwart


  • "GANZ ÁBRAHÁM" Retrieved 2017-04-17 
  • Magyar nagylexikon, Vol 8 Ff–Gyep Budapest: Magyar Nagylexikon Kiadó 1999 p 468 ISBN 963-85773-9-8 Vol 
  • "Ganz Ábrahám élete, munkássága" Retrieved 2009-08-28 
  • "Az Országos Műszaki Múzeum Öntödei Múzeuma története" Retrieved 2009-08-28 
  1. ^ 1
  2. ^ 2


  • Terplán, Zénó translated from the original German biography of Antal Eichleiter: Ki vezette a gyárat Ganz Ábrahám 1814-1867 halála után Who lead the factory after the death of Ábrahám Ganz

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