Holtzapffel, Charles (DNB00)

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HOLTZAPFFEL, CHARLES (1806–1847), mechanician, was the son of a German who in 1787 settled in London as a worker in tools and lathes. In addition to careful training in the workshop, Holtzapffel received a good English education, and by assiduous study and practice became a skilled mechanician. In 1838 he published his ‘New System of Scales of Equal Parts applicable to various purposes of Engineering, Architecture and General Sciences,’ followed by ‘List of Scales of Equal Parts’ suitable to his new method. His principal work, ‘Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, intended as a work of general reference and practical instruction on the Lathe,’ was designed to fill five volumes; but only three, published in 1843, were completed. The first of these treated of ‘Materials, their different Choice and Preparation;’ the second of ‘The Principles of Construction, Action, and Application of Cutting Tools;’ the third of ‘Abrasive and Miscellaneous Processes which cannot be accomplished with Cutting Tools.’ The two concluding volumes, which were completed by his son, set forth in order the ‘principles and practice of hand or simple turning, and those of ornamental or complex turning.’ Holtzapffel throughout displays a masterly knowledge of technical art and of the scientific principles underlying it.

Holtzapffel was a member of council of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and was chairman of the mechanics’ committee of the Society of Arts. He died on 11 April 1847, aged 41, leaving a widow and family.

[Ann. Reg. 1837; Proc. I. C. E. 1847; Gent. Mag. 1847, pt. ii. p. 213]

R. E. A.