16.11.1721 Aschersleben/D - 22.11.1791 Berlin/D
From 1741 Johann Esaias Silberschlag made studies in theology and natural sciences at the University of Halle. After years as a preacher, he came into contact with the Prussian King Frederic and in 1760 was appointed Foreign Member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin. He was appointed in 1770 Geheimer Baurat and was responsible for hydraulic engineering in Prussia. The large 1784 floods of River Rhine caused considerable damages that had to be investigated by Silberschlag. He was promoted to full Member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1787. Silberschlag passed away due to a serious indigestion.
Silberschlag's contributions to hydraulic engineering started while staying in a monastery that was supplied with river water. His 1766 book followed a competition of the Prussian King for which Silberschlag was awarded. His 1772 books were a continuation on the knowledge on hydraulic engineering mainly in Germany. He applied his considerations to the water supply of parts of the city of Magdeburg from the Elbe River. In the 1770s Silberschlag traveled to the Netherlands to obtain an impression of the local developments in river engineering to be applied in Prussia. The 1784 flood on Rhine River caused large overflow over the river dikes due to ice flow combined with large water quantities. In total more than 100 dikes were destroyed and 100 cities and villages were flooded. Silberschlag's investigation report was accepted by the King and his proposals to secure the Rhine valley from further floods were adopted. Rather than adding additional dikes, Silberschlag required the development of a river, as is currently often proposed. He asked abutters to contribute for an improved river flow by suitable measures, instead of seize of the maximum river shores. He was considered the most renowned German hydraulician of the 18th century.
Poggendorff, J.C. (1863). Silberschlag, Johann Esaias. Biographisch-Literarisches Handwörterbuch 2: 929-930. Barth: Leipzig, with bibliography.
Schmidt, M. (2000). Silberschlag. Hochwasser und Hochwasserschutz in Deutschland vor
1800: 41-48. Oldenbourg-Industrieverlag: München.
Silberschlag, H. (2004). Johann Esaias Silberschlag. Personal communication. P
Silberschlag, J.E. (1766). Abhandlung vom Wasserbau an Strömen. Fritsch: Leipzig. Silberschlag, J.E. (1772). Ausführliche Abhandlung der Hydrotechnik oder des Wasserbaues. Fritsch: Wien. P

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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