3.7.1840 Heidenheim/D - 17.5.1913 Heidenheim/D
Friedrich von Voith graduated in 1859 from the Stuttgart Polytechnic School. His first position was with Henschel & Sohn in Kassel, and he joined his father's small mechanical design company in 1867. After having worked especially for the paper and wood industry, he developed turbine manufacturing. In the 1890s his company had already some 500 collaborators. Voith furnished in 1903 the turbines for the Niagara hydropower plant in the USA and opened up the field for large turbine manufacturing. Also, he founded a branch company in St. Pölten, Austria. Twenty-five years later, the family firm had 4000 collaborators. Voith was awarded the Honorary Doctorate from the Technical University of Berlin in 1905.
Voith realized that designing hydraulic machinery needs a scientific background and thus tested turbines in an in-house laboratory. The maximum head on test apparatus was 5 m, with the water directly supplied from the neighboring River Brenz. The tailwater was adjusted with gates to investigate turbine efficiency. Discharge was measured both with the screen method and precise weirs. Voith initiated with so-called axial Jonval turbines of up to 100 horsepower. He then turned attention to the Girard and the Francis turbines, developed by Louis-Dominique Girard (1815-1871) and James Bicheno Francis (1815-1892). The particular merit of Voith's development was his combination of the Francis runner with an external guiding apparatus, taken into service in 1873. This latter type remained an optimum for low-head arrangements, whereas the Pelton turbine is currently used for large heads, fabricated by Voith as early as in 1903. These developments were accompanied by Voith's collaborator Georg Adolf Pfarr (1851-1912), later a professor of hydraulic machinery at the Stuttgart Technical University. After Voith's death, three sons took over the presently still existing company.
Anonymous (1913). Friedrich von Voith. Zeitschrift Verein Deutscher Ingenieure 57(25): 965. P Anonymous (1938). Geh. Kommerzialrat Friedrich v. Voith. Illustrierte Technik 16(15): 604. P Anonymous (1958). Geheimrat Dr.–Ing.E.h. Friedrich Voith. Voith Forschung 4: Frotispiece. P Meissner, L. (1967). 100 Jahre Voith-Wasserturbinen. Voith-Forschung 15(1): 1-15.
Pflieger, H. (1929). F. v. Voith und sein Werk. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technik 19: 61-70. Raithelhuber, E. (1967). 100 Jahre Voith-Wasserturbinen und -Reglerbau. Wasserwirtschaft 57(4): 157-162; 57(5): 208-213.
Voith, F. von (1909). Die Versuchsund Prüfstation für Wasserturbinen der Firma J.M. Voith
in Heidenheim (Württemberg) und St. Pölten (Nieder-Österreich). Springer: Berlin.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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