Heinrich Wommelsdorf

Heinrich Bernhard Felix Wommelsdorf was born at 14 January 1877 in Paderborn, a small town between Hannover and Köln, in Germany. He studied at the "Technische Hochschule" in Hannover, Heidelberg, and Berlin, and ended with a degree of "Diplom-Ingenieur" (Dipl. Ing.) He obtained a "Doktor-Ingenieur" (Dr. Ing.) degree in 1904 with a thesis entitled "Kondensatormaschine mit Doppeldrehung", describing his research about electrostatic machines with counter-rotating disks. He worked for Siemens & Halske starting in1904, teached at the "Technische Hochschule" in Berlin, starting in 1906, and from 1908 worked as Head Engineer in the electric department of the firm "Märkische Überwachungsverein". Later, he become president of the board of the "Fritz Werner A. G.", in Berlin.

From about 1902 to the 1930's, he studied electrostatic machines, and published many papers and patents describing his research. By 1912, he founded a company named "Berliner Elektros Gesellschaft M. B. H." (BEG), that produced his electrostatic machines and accessories for them, with the brand name "Wommella". His main work was around a type of electrostatic machine that he called "condenser machine". He also collaborated in the development of an improved version of the Holtz machine of the first kind, in collaboration with the instrument builder Alfred Wehrsen, and developed several devices for demonstrations about electricity, including a double electrophorus [27]. He was mainly a researcher, but also a manager and business man.

In 1909 he married Elise Werner, daughter of Fritz Werner, the founder of the company "Fritz Werner A. G." in Berlin. They lived in Berlin, and had one daughter and two boys. Besides his work he had other strong interests. He played a lot of instruments, specially the viola and was a member of a string quartet. He composed an opera, but it was never performed. He had a sailing yacht in Berlin and liked to hunt. Who knew him say that his company was not the main thing in his life, and that "Heinz" was a very interesting and charming man.

H. Wommelsdorf died in 29 January 1945 in Berlin.

H. Wommelsdorf, hunting with his dog in 1942. The picture at the top shows him by 1910.

The biographic informations were gentily provided by his grandson Werner Wommelsdorf. Some informations were obtained from [48].

Created: 9 January 2003
Last update: 13 February 2003
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Maintained by Antonio Carlos M. de Queiroz