Raky, Anton

Raky, Anton
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b. 5 January 1868 Seelenberg, Taunus, Germany
d. 22 August 1943 Berlin, Germany
[br]
German inventor of rapid percussion drilling, entrepreneur in the exploration business.
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While apprenticed at the drilling company of E. Przibilla, Raky already called attention by his reflections towards developing drilling methods and improving tools. Working as a drilling engineer in Alsace, he was extraordinarily successful in applying an entire new hydraulic boring system in which the rod was directly connected to the chisel. This apparatus, driven by steam, allowed extremely rapid percussions with very low lift.
With some improvements, his boring rig drilled deep holes at high speed and at least doubled the efficiency of the methods hitherto used. His machine, which was also more reliable, was secured by a patent in 1895. With borrowed capital, he founded the Internationale Bohrgesellschaft in Strasbourg in the same year, and he began a career in the international exploration business that was unequalled as well as breathtaking. Until 1907 the total depth of the drillings carried out by the company was 1,000 km.
Raky's rapid drilling was unrivalled and predominant until improved rotary drilling took over. His commercial sense in exploiting the technical advantages of his invention by combining drilling with producing the devices in his own factory at Erkelenz, which later became the headquarters of the company, and in speculating on the concessions for the explored deposits made him by far superior to all of his competitors, who were provoked into contests which they generally lost. His flourishing company carried out drilling in many parts of the world; he became the initiator of the Romanian oil industry and his extraordinary activities in exploring potash and coal deposits in different parts of Germany, especially in the Ruhr district, provoked the government in 1905 into stopping granting claims to private companies. Two years later, he was forced to withdraw from his holding company because of his restless and eccentric character. He turned to Russia and, during the First World War, he was responsible for the reconstruction of the destroyed Romanian oilfields. Thereafter, partly financed by mining companies, he continued explorations in several European countries, and in Germany he was pioneering again with exploring oilfields, iron ore and lignite deposits which later grew in economic value. Similar to Glenck a generation before, he was a daring entrepreneur who took many risks and opened new avenues of exploration, and he was constantly having to cope with a weak financial position, selling concessions and shares, most of them to Preussag and Wintershall; however, this could not prevent his business from collapse in 1932. He finally gave up drilling in 1936 and died a poor man.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Dr-Ing. (Hon.) Bergakademie Clausthal 1921.
Further Reading
G.P.R.Martin, 1967, "Hundert Jahre Anton Raky", Erdöl-Erdgas-Zeitschrift, 83:416–24 (a detailed description).
D.Hoffmann, 1959, 150 Jahre Tiefbohrungen in Deutschland, Vienna and Hamburg: 32– 4 (an evaluation of his technologial developments).
WK

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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