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Maximilian Mannaberg

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Maximilian Mannaberg (1857-1930)

1930 Obituary [1]

MAXIMILIAN MANNABERG died on December 18, 1929, at his London residence, after a long illness; he was seventy-two years of age.

Born at Leipnik, Moravia, in 1857, he was educated at Leoben and Vienna. At an early age he was invited by Percy Gilchrist, joint-inventor with Sidney Gilchrist Thomas of the basic process of steel manufacture, to build and operate the steelworks of the Glasgow Iron and Steel Company at Wishaw in 1884.

In 1887, at the request of the British Government, he visited India to report on the possibilities of establishing a steel-making industry in that country.

On the completion of that mission he was invited by Gilchrist to start at Frodingham the new works to operate the basic open-hearth process. At that time the Frodingham Works comprised only four blast-furnaces, with a total production of 900 to 1,000 tons of pig iron per week; only 350 men were employed, and when the steelworks were started a production of 400 tons a week was considered an ideal to be aimed at.

When Mr. Mannaberg retired from active control in 1920 the steelworks were producing over 3,000 tons per week, and normally 3,000 men were employed. The difficulties in developing the new material were not only technical but commercial, and Mr. Mannaberg personally played a most important part in finding markets.

In conjunction with the late B. H. Thwaite he was a pioneer in the development of gas-engine practice in iron and steel manufacture. The Lincolnshire iron and steel industry had been always faced with the difficulty that its ore supply required a high coke consumption, and the fuel had to be transported from afar, and it was for this reason that at an early date Mr. Mannaberg adopted the principle of utilising blast-furnace gas to produce power in the gas engine.

After a visit to the United States in 1905, Mr. Mannaberg introduced the Talbot continuous process at Frodingham, and during the war period (he had become naturalised long before) he was responsible for the construction of the Appleby Iron and Steel Works.

He was one of the founders of the British Engineering Standards Association; he played a big part in the organisation of the National Federation of Iron and Steel Manufacturers, and was personally responsible for the formation and development of the Fuel Economy Committee of the Federation. He was the first chairman of the Iron and Steel Industrial Research Council, which arose out of the activities of that Committee. He was also one of the founders of the Institute of Fuel, of which body he was elected a vice-president in 1928; he was also a member of the National Fuel and Power Committee, and of the Area Gas Supply Committee.

For many years Mr. Mannaberg had been a prominent member of the Iron and Steel Institute; he took up membership in 1888, was elected a Member of Council in May 1912, and became a Vice-President in March 1920. Owing to his activities in these organisations he took the national point of view; his aim was always to develop the utmost technical and commercial efficiency of the industry, and to make the greatest possible use of all the resumes available. His death is a serious loss to the British iron and steel industry, but he leaves behind him an influence which will be of lasting benefit to it.

1930 Obituary[2]


The death of Mr. Maximilian Mannaberg, which occurred on December 18 last, at his home, 48, Hans Mansions, London, S.W.3, after a long illness, removes an important figure from iron and steel circles in this country. Mr. Mannaberg, who was intimately concerned with the manufacture of basic steel in England almost from the commencement, was born in 1867. at Leipnik, Moravia, then a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but now a portion of Czechoslovakia. He received his general education at a school in Leoben and afterwards studied science in Vienna. He came into contact with Messrs. S. G. Thomas and P. C. Gilchrist, the inventors of the basic-steel process, while still in his early twenties and came to this country in 1884 at the request of the latter. He was given the task of constructing, and subsequently managing, the basic-steel plant at Wishaw of the Glasgow Iron and Steel Co. Three years later, he visited India at the request of the British Government, in order to report on the possibilities of steel-making in that country. Upon his return, he proceeded to Erodingham, Lincolnshire, to manage a new installation in which the basic process was being adapted to the open-hearth furnace. Prior to 1888, work at Frodingham had been limited to the manufacture of pig iron from Lincolnshire ores, but, when Mr. Mannaberg retired from the position of manager in 1920, the Frodingham Works had become one of the great steel-producing centres of this country. It is interesting to record that, largely owing to his initiative, the Talbot continuous process was introduced at Frodingham in 1905. During the European war, Mr. Mannaberg was mainly responsible for the reconstruction and reorganisation of the Scunthorpe Steel Works of The Appleby Iron Company, Limited, which had been acquired, in 1912, by The Frodingham Iron and Steel Company, Limited.

At the time of his death, Mr. Mannaberg was a director of The Frodingham Iron and Steel Company, Limited, The Appleby Iron Company, Limited, The United Steel Companies, Limited, Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan and Company, Limited, and Messrs. Eston Sheet and Galvanising Company, Limited. He took a prominent part in the formation of the British Engineering Standards Association, and was a member of the main committee of the Association until the end. He was largely instrumental in the establishment of the National Federation of Iron and Steel Manufacturers, and, until quite recently, served on the executive council of that body. He was also a member is of the National Fuel and Power Committee, the Area Gas Committee and the Melchett-Turner Conference, and was a member of the Council of the Federation of British Industries. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1888, and, after serving for many years on the Council, became a vice-president of the Institute. He was a founder member and one of the first vice-presidents of the Institute of Fuel, and afterwards became a member of the Council. During a period of nearly 50 years, he rendered devoted &, and unselfish service to the country of his adoption. Although an important figure in the iron and steel industry, he never sought publicity and was littlely known outside his own profession."

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