Kapp, Gisbert Johann Eduard Karl

Kapp, Gisbert Johann Eduard Karl
SUBJECT AREA: Electricity
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b. 2 September 1852 Mauer, Vienna, Austria
d. 10 August 1922 Birmingham, England
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Austrian (naturalized British in 1881) engineer and a pioneer of dynamo design, being particularly associated with the concept of the magnetic circuit.
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Kapp entered the Polytechnic School in Zurich in 1869 and gained a mechanical engineering diploma. He became a member of the engineering staff at the Vienna International Exhibition of 1873, and then spent some time in the Austrian navy before entering the service of Gwynne \& Co. of London, where he designed centrifugal pumps and gas exhausters. Kapp resolved to become an electrical engineer after a visit to the Paris Electrical Exhibition of 1881 and in the following year was appointed Manager of the Crompton Co. works at Chelmsford. There he developed and patented the dynamo with compound field winding. Also at that time, with Crompton, he patented electrical measuring instruments with over-saturated electromagnets. He became a naturalized British subject in 1881.
In 1886 Kapp's most influential paper was published. This described his concept of the magnetic circuit, providing for the first time a sound theoretical basis for dynamo design. The theory was also developed independently by J. Hopkinson. After commencing practice as a consulting engineer in 1884 he carried out design work on dynamos and also electricity-supply and -traction schemes in Germany, Italy, Norway, Russia and Switzerland. From 1891 to 1894 much of his time was spent designing a new generating station in Bristol, officially as Assistant to W.H. Preece. There followed an appointment in Germany as General Secretary of the Verband Deutscher Electrotechniker. For some years he edited the Electrotechnische Zeitschrift and was also a part-time lecturer at the Charlottenberg Technical High School in Berlin. In 1904 Kapp was invited to accept the new Chair of Electrical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, which he occupied until 1919. He was the author of several books on electrical machine and transformer design.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Institution of Civil Engineers Telford Medal 1886 and 1888. President, Institution of Electrical Engineers 1909.
Bibliography
10 October 1882, with R.E.B.Crompton, British patent no. 4,810; (the compound wound dynamo).
1886, "Modern continuous current dynamo electric machines and their engines", Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 83: 123–54.
Further Reading
D.G.Tucker, 1989, "A new archive of Gisbert Kapp papers", Proceedings of the Meeting on History of Electrical Engineering, IEE 4/1–4/11 (a transcript of an autobiography for his family).
D.G.Tucker, 1973, Gisbert Kapp 1852–1922, Birmingham: Birmingham University (includes a bibliography of his most important publications).
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Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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