The New International Encyclopædia/Steinheil, Karl August

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STEINHEIL, stīn'hīl, Karl August (1801-70). A German physicist and astronomer, born in Rappoltsweiler, Alsace. He studied law at the University of Erlangen, and astronomy at Göttingen and Königsberg. He became professor of physics and mathematics in the University of Munich; later entered the Austrian Government service, organized and perfected the telegraph system in that country, and brought about the Austrian-German Telegraph Association; performed a similar service for Switzerland; and in 1852 returned to Munich. In 1854 he founded an establishment for making superior optical and astronomical instruments, where the great telescopes of the observatories of Upsala, Mannheim, Leipzig, Utrecht, etc., were made, and where he began the making of the photograph objectives since known by his name.

Steinheil devised an electromagnetic telegraph, in 1836 constructed the first printing telegraph, and in 1838 discovered the possibility of leading back the current through the ground. He invented the electrical clock, constructed an excellent pyroscope, and made the first daguerreotype picture in Germany. He also completed the laws of electrotype, and constructed several optical instruments. Consult Marggraff, Karl August Steinheil und sein Wirken (Munich, 1888).