Hans Hautsch

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Hans Hautsch (born January 4, 1595 in Nuremberg, died January 31, 1670 Nuremberg) was a toolmaker and inventor from the Nuremberg Ledergasse. Both his father Antoni (1563-1627) and grandfather Kilian (died 1570) were employed in the same profession.[1][2]

He married Magdalena (born 1603) on June 25, 1621, the daughter of the carpenter Jacob Flexlein. They had a daughter and five sons: Georg (born 1624, toolmaker), Gottfried (1634-1703), and Johann Andreas (born 1638). Gottfried invented the conical touch hole, whereby the socket closed automatically and a gun's loading-speed was consequently tripled.


In 1649, Hans Hautsch designed a wheelchair for gout-sufferers.

Shortly thereafter, he built a four-wheeled mechanical cart that reportedly travelled at 1.6km/h by self-propulsion: "It moves by itself and requires no preloading by horse or any other method. Such a car travels 2000 paces every hour; it stops when the driver pleases, starts when the driver pleases, and works entirely on clockwork."

Later, he was commissioned to produce a triumphal carriage.[3] Apparently it also operated on clockwork. However, in 1651 Hautsch was declaimed by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer and, five years later, by the French travel writer Balthasar de Monconys in his Journal des Voyages. In his Mathematischen Erquickstunden (or A Refresher Course in Mathematics), Harsdörffer claimed that he had confronted Hautsch by wondering if there was not a young boy inside the vehicle working a crank-shaft.

In 1650, Hautsch built a fire engine with a compressed air vessel. On each side 14 men worked a piston rod back and forth in a horizontal direction. The air vessel, a type of pressure tank, issued an even stream despite the backward motion of the piston. This was made possible by a rotating pipe mounted on the hose which allowed the jet to reach heights up to 20m. Caspar Schott observed Hautsch's fire engine in 1655 and wrote an account of it in his Magia Universalis.[4]

Fire engine invented by Hans Hautsch

Reports of a flying-machine made about 1660 were certainly caused by a misunderstanding; in reality, according to other statements, on the occasion of an imperial visit to the Free City, Hautsch had built a motorised eagle that flapped its wings

In 1664, he honoured the King of Denmark with a mechanised dollhouse whose figures performed over 100 individual movements. The following year, he made an instructional model battle for the son of King Louis XIV of France with about 462 moving silver soldiers and combat sound-effects. He also built a three-storey exhibition which depicted the creation of the world and Biblical scenes on the bottom stage, seventy-two working craftsman in the middle, and on the top storey a large bath-house.

Hautsch also invented the Streuglanz (made up of bronze particles).[3] "The preparation consists of sieving or dusting fine filings of various metals, cleaning them off in concentrated lye, and then tempering them on an iron or copper sheet over glowing coal and constantly stirring. The shavings of bronze then take all kinds of shades of gold, those of copper the shades of red, those of iron and steel those of blue and violet, and of tin and bismuth of white and blue-white colour with a metallic gloss. These coloured shavings are run through a flat-mill, which consists of two well-polished rolls of the hardest steel, and resembles those which the gold- and silver-wire-pullers use, except that here for convenience a funnel is installed above it."[5] His descendants prepared the Streuglanz - to be used in small-scale production of wallpapers and enamelled crafts - up to the end of the eighteenth century.


  1. ^ Franz Maria Feldhaus: Hautsch, Hans. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Band 50, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1905, S. 84.
  2. ^ Pierre Béhar: Colloque International d'Etudes Humanistes. Rodopi, 1993, ISBN 978-9-051-83258-7, S. 361 (link in Google Books).
  3. ^ a b Inventions and discoveries in Nuremberg until 1806 (accessed 13 January 2015).
  4. ^ W. Hornung: Die Entwicklung der Feuerlöschpumpe vom ausgehenden Mittelalter bis zum 18. Jahrhundert. Eine technikgeschichtliche Betrachtung (3. Part). (Archive from 13. January 2015) In: VFDB-Zeitschrift. Nr. 4, 1960, S. 133–141.
  5. ^ Streuglanz in der Oeconomischen Encyclopädie (1773 - 1858) by J. G. Krünitze. In kruenitz1.uni-trier.de. Accessed on 13 January 2015.