Frederik van Iterson

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Frederik Karel Theodoor van Iterson
Born(1877-03-12)March 12, 1877
Roermond, Netherlands
DiedDecember 11, 1957(1957-12-11) (aged 80)
EducationDelft University of Technology
Engineering career
DisciplineMechanical engineering
InstitutionsDelft University of Technology

Frederik Karel Theodoor van Iterson (12 March 1877 – 11 December 1957) was a Dutch mechanical engineering professor, who largely developed the typical design of power station natural draught cooling tower, being built from 1918.

A hyperbolic hyperboloid design, a ruled surface developed from the hyperbolic function; the intrinsic strength in the hyperboloid design is similar to that of an eggshell in the surprisingly small wall thickness

Early life[edit]

He was born in Roermond.[1] He was the son of Gerrit van Iterson and Aghate Henrietta van Woelderen. He attended the Delft University of Technology (Technische Universiteit Delft or TU Delft). In 1899 he gained a diploma in Engineering (ingenieursdiploma).


In 1910 he began teaching at the technical high school in Delft. He became Director of the Dutch State Mines (DSM).[2][3]

Cooling towers[edit]

He began work into the design of cooling towers. Previously, designs of cooling towers were more-or-less the same as chimneys, in octagonal planform. On 12 February 1915, the Dutch State Mines decided to build a new concrete cooling tower. This led to his work producing the hyperboloid design of cooling towers at the Staatsmijn Emma in 1918; the towers were demolished on 26 June 1985.[4][5] This design of cooling towers was the world's first, and nearly all cooling towers now follow this hyperboloid design, with concrete structure. On 16 August 1916, he took out the UK patent (108,863) for Improved Construction of Cooling Towers of Reinforced Concrete;[6] the patent was filed on 9 August 1917, and published on 11 April 1918.

The Emma coal mine, named after Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, was the second-largest in the Netherlands, with the Staatsmijn Maurits the largest. The Delft University of Technology still conducts much research on coal technology.

In 1931 he won an award from the Koninklijk Instituut van Ingenieurs. In 1934 he was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[7] In 1945 he helped to establish Tebodin Consultants & Engineers, bought by Hollandse Beton Groep (HBS) in 2002, and now owned by Bilfinger of Germany since 2012.

Personal life[edit]

He married Jennie Woutera Rotgans on 24 December 1910. They had two daughters and a son. He lived at Heerlen.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biography of Iterson, Frederik Karel Theodoor van (1877-1957)" (in Dutch). Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands.
  2. ^ Milsom, John (2018). The Hunt for Earth Gravity: A History of Gravity Measurement from Galileo to the 21st Century. Springer. pp. 270–. ISBN 978-3-319-74959-4.
  3. ^ Davids, Karel (2011). "The Strictures of Inheritance: The Dutch Economy in the Nineteenth Century. By Jan Luiten van Zanden and Arthur van Riel, translated by Ian Cressie. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. xvi + 384 pp. Index, notes, bibliography, figures, tables. Cloth, $55.00". Business History Review. 79 (4): 911–913. doi:10.2307/25097138. ISBN 978-0-691-11438-5. ISSN 0007-6805. JSTOR 25097138.
  4. ^ Mungan, I.; Wittek, U. (2004). Natural Draught Cooling Towers: Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Natural Draught Cooling Towers, Istanbul, Turkey, 20-22 May 2004. CRC Press. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-90-5809-642-5.
  5. ^ Vitkovic, Pavol; Storch, Vit; Puncochar, Jan; Stodulka, Jiri (2016). "Measurement of thermal performance of hybrid cooling tower". AIP Conference Proceedings. 1768: 020023. doi:10.1063/1.4963045. ISSN 0094-243X. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ GB Expired 108863, van Iterson, F. K. T. & Kuypers, G, "Improved Construction of Cooling Towers of Reinforced Concrete", published 11 April 1918 
  7. ^ "Frederik Karel Theodoor van Iterson (1877 - 1957)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 4 May 2020.

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