List of Redtenbacher´s works

  • Doppeldampfmaschine
  • Luftexpansionsmaschine
  • Maschinenbaulehre

Works (original titles in German):
1841/42: Allgemeine Maschinenlehre. Handschriftlich
1844: Theorie und Bau der Turbinen. Abbildungen  (Ansicht bei Google Books: 1., 1., 2. Auflage)

1846: Theorie und Bau der Wasserräder. Abbildungen (bei Google Books: 1., 2. Auflage)
1846: Theorie und Bau der Wasserräder
1848: Resultate für den Maschinenbau (bei Google Books: 3., 3., 4. Auflage)

1852: Principien der Mechanik  (bei Google Books: 1., 1., 2. Auflage)
1853: Die calorische Maschine. (2. Auflage; bei Google Books: [2])

1855: Gesetze des Lokomotiv-Baues (bei Google Books: [3])
1856/57: Maschinenbau. 3. Band (handschriftlich)
1856/57: Maschinenbau. 3. Band. Abbildungen

1857: Das Dynamiden-System. Grundzüge einer mechanischen Physik. (bei Google Books: [4], [5])

Um 1856: Skizzen zu den Vorträgen Maschinenbau
1858: Theorie und Bau der Wasserräder
1859/60: Skizzen zu Vorträgen von Professor Redtenbacher
1859: Maschinenbau. 1.Band (handschriftlich)
1859: Maschinenbau. 2. Band (handschriftlich)
1859: Principien der Mechanik. Maschinenbau
1860:  Theorie und Bau der Turbinen
1861: Construction des machines (französische Ausgabe)
1862/65: Maschinenbau. 3. Band  (bei Google Books: 1., 2., 3. Band; beim zvdd: [6])
1862/65: Maschinenbau Abbildungen
1862: Tafeln zu Redtenbachers Vorträgen


Mitschriften der Vorträge:
1856/57: Curs 1 Maschinenbau bei Prof. Ferdinand Redtenbacher. Mitschrift von Carl Wenger
1860/61: Curs 1 Maschinenbau bei Prof. Ferdinand Redtenbacher. Mitschrift von Lenz
1860/61: Curs 2 Maschinenbau bei Prof. Ferdinand Redtenbacher. Mitschrift von Lenz

Veröffentlichungen nach dem Tod (1863):
1863: Gedächtnisfeier zum Tod von Prof. Ferdinand Redtenbacher  (beim zvdd: [11])
1866: Festrede zur Denkmalenthüllung in Karlsruhe
1879: Erinnerungsschrift und Abdruck der Rede von Prof. Redtenbacher zur Bedeutung der Mechanik
1879: Erinnerungsschrift Redtenbacher
1909: Bericht zum 100. Geburtstag von Prof. F. Redtenbacher (beim zvdd: [12])


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  • Redtenbacher10.Heirat.1837
  • Redtenbacher11.Karlsruhe.Berufung.1841

On July 17, 1840, Prof. Ferdinand Redtenbacher was appointed to teach at the Polytechnic School in Karlsruhe. He relocated there in the summer of 1841, and the next few years were dedicated to teaching and working on scientific projects, including the development of modern mechanical engineering. In 1848, Redtenbacher’s home city of Steyr nominated him as their representative in the German Parliament, which met in Frankfurt, but Redtenbacher turned it down, choosing instead to concentrate on his work.

It was during this time that Redtenbacher’s career came to maturity: he spent his time working on the projects and ideas that he had begun in Vienna and Zurich and was able to bring them to realization. He brought his strong will to bear on his vision for revising the technical schools, single-mindedly accomplishing the foundation of a separate mechanical engineering school at Karlsruhe in 1860. The strength of his work helped to raise this department to full university rank in Germany, and it became second only to the technical schools in Prague and Vienna in terms of students and prestige. Based on his dedication to the school, Redtenbacher became Director of the Karlsruhe Polytechnic School in 1857. Under his leadership, the school won international acclaim and became a model for many technical schools around Europe. Many of his students became famous in their own right, including Carl Benz, who would go on to invent the automobile; Eugen Langen, co-founder of the world’s first engine factory; Emil Skoda, founder of the Skoda engineering company; and Oscar Henschel, locomotive producer.

Redtenbacher began to show signs of stomach illness in 1861, but continued to lecture until 1862, when the pain prevented him from work. On April 16, 1863, Professor Redtenbacher died of stomach cancer.


  • Redtenbacher10.Heirat.1837
  • Redtenbacher8.Firma.Escher.Wyss
  • Redtenbacher9.Zuerich.Zeichnungen

In April 1834, Redtenbacher was appointed as an apprentice teacher of mathematics and geometric drawing at the top industrial school in Zurich. One year later, in 1835, he was granted a full professorship. In the fall of 1836, Ferdinand Redtenbacher became engaged to his cousin Marie Redtenbacher. They were married the next year, and had two children together, Marie and Rudolf. Rudolf Redtenbacher (born 1840 in Zurich, died in 1885 in Freiburg in Breisgau) would go on to study mainly architecture and work on restoration and expansion projects for cathedrals in Manz, Regensburg, and Frankfurt am Main, but would fail to obtain a professorship in Germany and died unhappily.

During the Zurich period, Professor Redtenbacher was very interested in the reform of the industrial schools. In his notes from the time, he comments on the lack of interest in the human development of technical students, which he did not appreciate. To truly be a school, Redtenbacher argued, technical schools must concentrate on their students’ education as a whole person: otherwise, they would just be factories, training apprentices for specific tasks. These ideas resonated with many people, including Steyr industrialist Josef Werndl, who enjoyed a long written correspondence with Redtenbacher.



  • Redtenbacher5.PolytechnInstitut.Wien
  • Redtenbacher6.Wien.Polytechnikum.Lehrer
  • Redtenbacher7.Polytechnikum.Wien.Anschauungstafeln

Immediately following his apprenticeship, Redtenbacher was employed in the k.u.k. Construction Authority in Linz from January until September 1825. According to his supervisor, his work included drawing blueprints and other geometric recordings. He studied a great deal during this time, and eventually enrolled in a polytechnic school in Vienna, where he studied elementary mathematics and technology. In Vienna, Redtenbacher lived mostly with family members and graduated with diplomas in a wide variety of subjects, including both elementary and higher mathematics, technology, physics, mechanical drawing, field measurement and surveying, civil engineering, and theoretical astronomy. A dedicated student, Redtenbacher received high praise from his teachers. During school holidays, Redtenbacher enjoyed hiking in the Alps of his native Upper Austria and Salzburg.

Origins and Family

  • 1805.FranzosenSteyr
  • 1830.Zeichnung.Loew.Steyr
  • Gedenktafel

1.     Origins and Family

Parents: Alois Vinzenz Redtenbacher, ironmonger. born 1782 in Steyr, died 1860

      - married Josefa Maria Mayrhofer on 13/9/1805

      - from this marriage came five children:

                  - Josefa Cäcilia, born 6/4/1806 in Steyr

                  - Maria Elisabeth Cäcilia, born 12/5/1807 in Steyr

                  - Alois Georg, born 23/4/1808 in Steyr

                  - Ferdinand Jakob, born 25/7/1809 in Steyr, died 16/4/1863 in Karlsruhe

                  - Karl, born 1818, died 1867


Name Origin

“The name Redtenbacher originated from Rota. The Rott river, which flows in Lower Bavaria through Schärding into the Inn. The name comes from the red color of the water from the red chalk that is often found there.”

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