Karl Engler

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Carl Oswald Victor Engler
Carl Oswald Viktor Engler.jpg
Born 5 January 1842
Died 7 February 1925 (1925-02-08) (aged 83)
Nationality German
Occupation Chemist

Carl Oswald Victor Engler (5 January 1842 – 7 February 1925) was a Professor of Chemistry in Karlsruhe. He wrote a "Handbook of Industrial Chemistry" in 1872. He is remembered for his early work in Indigo.[1]


Engler was the son of a Pastor and he studied Chemistry from 1859 at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic where he became a scientific assistant in 1863. In the Year 1864 he Engler became a Doctor of Philosophy at University of Freiburg and he taught there as a private lecturer from 1867 until 1872. IN 1872 Engler became extraordinary professor for Chemistry at University of Halle where he published his Handbuch der technischen Chemie ("Handbook of Industrial Chemistry") between 1872 and 1874 (co-author, Leipzig professor Friedrich Stohmann). The two-volume edition was based on Anselme Payen's Précis de chimie industrielle.[2]

In 1876 he became a tenured professor for chemical technology and headmaster of the chemical technical Laboratory at the polytechnic school in Karlsruhe (from 1885 Technical University Karlsruhe). In 1887 he became a professor of chemistry and director of the Technical University Karlsruhe. In 1870 he published together with Adolph Emmerling, a student of Adolf von Baeyer, a work in which the two first reported the formation of traces of Indigo of a material that is not from Indigo derived. Therefore, they have not found the Indigo “synthesis”, as often reported. This succeeded Adolf von Baeyer in 1878, who also described in 1883 the correct structural formula. From 1884 he turned to the Petrochemistry. He took a study trip in 1885 to the production area in Caucasus, later in the Middle East (Egypt) and to North America. Engler argued that oil is originated in ancient times from animal fat. His later research focused on the petroleum. To determine the viscosity, he developed the Engler viscometer. Together with Hans Höfer he published in 1919 the six-volume work „Das Erdöl – Seine Physik, Chemie, Geologie, Technologie und sein Wirtschaftsbetrieb“ in 2 Editions from 1927.[3]

Besides his researches to Petroleum he also studied the properties of Ozone and from 1903 he was a Member in the Board of the BASF, where he took affect on the development of the Haber process.


Engler was politically active at the National Liberal Party. As a representative he had a seat in the Reichstag from 1887 till 1890 and from 1890 till 1904 in the first Chamber of the Baden Estates.


The Carl-Engler-Medal of the Deutsche Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Erdöl, Erdgas und Kohle e.V. is named after him. The Vocational School for Chemistry professionals in Karlsruhe also bears his name.[4] Also the“ Engler-Bunte Institute“ at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is named after Engler and Hans Bunte.[5]