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British Industrial History

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Matthew Rosthorn

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Matthew Rosthorn (or Rawsthorne) (1721-1805), later known in Austria as Matthaeus Rosthorn, was born in Preston, Lancashire.

He was encouraged to move to Austria, which he did in 1765, apparently to produce brass buttons. There he established a manufacturing business, which was developed by his six sons, which had such an impact on Austria that Joseph II, who had succeeded his mother Maria Theresia on the throne, ennobled Matthew in 1790. Thereafter, Matthew became “Matthaeus Edler von Rosthorn.” [1]

'FRANCIS VON ROSTHORN, who died June 17, 1877, was the son of Matthew Rosthorn, of Lancashire, who went to Vienna in 1765, at the invita- tion of the Empress Maria Theresa, to establish the manufacture of metal buttons. He constructed the first rolling-mills in Austria ; one at Vienna, another (in 1792) at Fahrafeld, in Lower Austria. Matthew von Rosthorn was ennobled by the Emperor Joseph II, in 1790, and died at Vienna January 3, 1805, leaving five sons. The youngest of these, born April 18, 1796, at Vienna, is the subject of this notice. These five brothers joined in creating extensive metallurgic establishments ; the first (1817) at Oed; and another (1823) in Carinthia, for smelting zinc (then high in price) out of the Raibi and Bleyberg ores, by means of brown coal. Having purchased (1826) the state demesne of Wolfsberg, in Carinthia, with extensive metallurgical works, they constructed there a large rolling-mill, together with a puddling furnace. Francis von Rosthorn, having prepared himself for his practical career by attending the Mining Academy of Schenmitz, in Hungary (1814 to 1818), soon became acquainted with several eminent geologists, and obtained the patronage of the late Archduke John. He made several scientific tours in Carinthia, Camiolia, Styria, Salzburg, and the Hungarian border; in 1827 with Prof. Keferstein, in 1828 with Archduke John, in 1829 with Escher and Schrotter, and in 1832 with Dr. Boue. His annual visits to Archduke John at Gastein (1829 to 1836) were always connected with Alpine exploration. His later travels (1842 to 1847) were chiefly southward. In 1832 he communicated the results thus obtained to the Meeting of German Naturalists at Vienna ; and in 1836 to the meeting at Freiburg. In 1848 he was elected into the Legislative Assembly ("Landtag") of Carinthia ; and from 1852 to 1870 held the office of President of the Commercial and Industrial Board of that province. Francis von Rosthorn's constitution was exceptionally robust, so that up to his seventy-sixth year he was able to undertake arduous Alpine ascents. His conversation with persons of any social station was unaffectedly amiable ; but he could be sarcastic when he met with affectation or baseless pretensions.'[2]


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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'Technology Gaps are not New: A Personal Historical Tale' by Norm Neureiter, Bridges vol. 39, May 2014 / Norm Neureiter on S&T in Diplomacy
  2. [2] 'Nature' Nov 1, 1877