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Franz Reuleaux

Born: 30-Sep-1829
Birthplace: Eschweiler, Germany
Died: 20-Aug-1905
Location of death: Berlin, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Mathematician, Engineer

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Father of modern kinematics

German engineer and machine theorist Franz Reuleaux was an early advocate of scientific principles in engineering design, and explored new methods for analyzing the workings of mechanical devices. He constructed intricate working models of machinery, and is sometimes cited as the father of modern kinematics (the study of mechanical motion). Widely traveled and respected, he worked as a designer in the earliest days of the automotive era, and authored several influential books on engineering which were translated into European languages and helped formed the foundation of modern machine theory. Reuleaux is probably best remembered today for his classification of kinematic pairs, and development of the Reuleaux triangle (an equilateral triangle where each side is an arc of a circle centered at the opposite comer).

Father: Johann Joseph Reuleaux (mechanic, b. 25-Nov-1796, d. Oct-1833)
Mother: Heloise Gräser Reuleaux (b. 1803, m. 20-May-1825, d. 10-Apr-1867)
Father: Ewald Friedrich Scholl (stepfather, m. 1834, d. 1874)
Sister: Marie Reuleaux Seifloh (b. 28-Jun-1832, d. 19-Jun-1917)
Brother: Heinrich Reuleaux (engineer, b. 11-Sep-1825, d. 15-May-1899)
Brother: Karl Reuleaux (engineer, b. 8-Dec-1826, d. 19-May-1902)
Brother: Louis Reuleaux (mechanic, b. 15-May-1828, d. 9-Nov-1896)
Sister: Julie Reuleaux (b. 1831, d. 1834)
Sister: Joseph Reuleaux (b. 1833, d. 1834)
Wife: Charlotte Overbeck Reuleaux (b. 28-Mar-1829, m. 26-Apr-1856, d. 26-Jul-1908)
Daughter: Caecilie Reuleaux Goldstein Fochner (b. 1856)
Daughter: Mathilde Reuleaux Schleicher (b. 1859)
Son: Oskar Reuleaux (military officer, b. 1861)
Son: Eugen Reuleaux (engineer, b. 1866)
Daughter: Else Reuleaux (b. 1869, d. 1873)

    University: University of Karlsruhe (attended, 1850-52)
    University: University of Berlin
    University: BS Engineering, University of Bonn (1854)
    Teacher: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (1856-64)
    Professor: Mechanical Engineering, University of Berlin (1864-79)
    Administrator: President, University of Berlin (1868-79)

    American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foreign Member
    French Ancestry
    German Ancestry

Author of books:
Constructionslehre fur den Maschinenbau (Design for Mechanical Engineering) (1854, with Carl L. Moll)
Der Constructor (The Constructor) (1861)
Theoretical Kinematics: Outline of a Theory of Machines (1875)
Kinematics of Machinery (1875)


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