Charles Beyer

Karl Friedrich Beyer, in English spelling Charles Frederick Beyer ( born May 14, 1813 in Plauen, † June 2, 1876 in Llantysilio Hall ( Wales)), was an eminent engineer, co-founder and longtime head of the firm Beyer, Peacock & Co. and founding member of the institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Childhood, education and professional beginnings in Germany

Karl Beyer's father earned his living as a hand-loom weavers. The family was very poor and did not have the financial ability to fund further education, so that he began after completion of the primary school to learn his father's profession. An architect who had moved to Plauen, saw the twelve year-old boy in his spare time built houses models and recognized his talent. The architect gave him a small fee lessons in arithmetic, geometry and drawing, and soon drew a portrait of Karl, that was good enough to decorate the parental home. Dr. Seckendorf who treated Karl Beyer's older brother, became aware of an inside look at the picture. The doctor sat down with the authorities of the country for further education Karl Beyer. The commitment was successful; the boy broke out against the concerns of his father from the teaching and attended the Polytechnic School, which opened recently in Dresden. After graduating after four years of school with success, he worked for two years at the Maschinenfabrik in Chemnitz Haubold. In the summer of 1834 Beyer received from the Saxon government commissioned, in England the progress of mechanical engineering, especially in the cotton mill to study and to write a report on this. After the end of the visit and the publication of the report, he received offers from Chemnitz and Dresden, to take over the management of the newly established cotton mills there. Karl Beyer refused, however, and returned in the same year Germany for getting her back.

Moved to England and ascent from the signatories to the senior design engineer

Beyer admired the inventor Richard Roberts, whom he had met during his studies in Manchester. He succeeded through the mediation of Professor Schubert, a teacher at the Polytechnic School, Sharp, Roberts & Co. to get a job. As a foreigner with initially poor language skills he had at first a difficult position and he performed for years subordinate and poorly paid work as a draftsman. Through the drawings Richard Roberts became aware of him and Charles Beyer eventually became head of the drawing office. Sharp & Roberts had in 1833 delivered the first steam locomotive, the locomotive was not until 1837 resumed. The management of this business segment Charles Beyer was transferred because Roberts dealt only marginally with the construction of locomotives. 1843 Roberts retired and the company changed its name to 1852 as Sharp Bros. This year was Charles Patrick Stewart partners and the company in Sharp, Stewart & Co renamed. Already in 1853 Charles Beyer left the company and began an eight-month study trip through Europe.

Beyer, Peacock & Co. from the beginnings to become the leading locomotive manufacturer

After his return, he and Richard Peacock own business. In March 1854, the foundation stone for the new locomotive works was laid and of sixteen months later, the first locomotive was delivered. The work Gorton Foundry near Manchester was planned so that it could be gradually expanded without disruption to current operations and in the next fifty years had to be demolished, despite the enormous growth of a single building. After a few years of business scope was so grown that Beyer needed an assistant. His choice fell upon Hermann L. Lange, as he came from Plauen and had worked after completing the Polytechnic School in Karlsruhe at Egells in Berlin. Three years later, Lange took over the design department at Beyer, Peacock & Co. The locomotives from Beyer and Peacock were not only of high quality but distinguished itself from the competition through balanced forms, elegance and aesthetic beauty. They found not only in the UK but worldwide buyers.

Social commitment and personal life

Due to the commercial success grew not only the reputation but also the assets of Charles Beyer and he was able to acquire and expand the estate Llantysilio Hall in North Wales in 1867. There he took care of in addition to working in his company around agriculture and became a judge. Beyer did not forget that he himself had spent many years in abject poverty and supported Richard Roberts, who was destitute after his retirement from professional life, financially. He campaigned for the establishment of polytechnical schools in the UK and supported the construction and enlargement of churches and schools in his home and in the environment of the factory in Gorton.

His private life was less happy. A marriage into the Sharp family failed and remained his only attempt to marry. Beyer remained throughout his life a bachelor, and left no descendants. He was the godfather of Henry Beyer Robertson (1862 - 1948), son of the engineer Henry Robertson, with whom he was associated for business and friendly.

Beginning of 1876, his health deteriorated and he died on June 21 this year at his country house, where he found his final resting.

Beyer, Peacock & Co. remained for decades one of the world's leading locomotive manufacturer even after Charles Beyer's death. With the end of the steam era began after the Second World War at Beyer, Peacock & Co., a decline in locomotive one, which could only be delayed also with the construction of diesel locomotives, and finally in 1966 after more than 110 years to close the work Gorton Foundry led.

Charles Beyer was with Robert Stephenson and other eminent engineers of his time in 1847, one of the founders of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which included 107 engineers. This institution still exists today and has 75,000 members worldwide.