Krupp, Alfred

Krupp, Alfred
b. 26 April 1812 Essen, Germany
d. 14 July 1887 Bredeney, near Essen, Germany
German manufacturer of steel and armaments.
Krupp's father founded a small cast-steel works at Essen, but at his early death in 1826 the firm was left practically insolvent to his sons. Alfred's formal education ended at that point and he entered the ailing firm. The expansion of trade brought about by the Zollverein, or customs union, enabled him to increase output, and by 1843 he had 100 workers under him, making steel springs and machine parts. Five years later he was able to buy out his co-heirs, and in 1849 he secured his first major railway contract. The quality of his product was usefully advertised by displaying a flawless 2-ton steel ingot at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Krupp was then specializing in the manufacture of steel parts for railways and steamships, notably a weldless steel tire for locomotives, from which was derived the three-ring emblem of the Krupp concern. Krupp made a few cannon from 1847 but sold his first to the Khedive of Egypt in 1857. Two years later he won a major order of 312 cannon from the Prussian Government. With the development of this side of the business, he became the largest steel producer in Europe. In 1862 he adopted the Bessemer steelmaking process. The quality and design of his cannon were major factors in the victory of the Prussian artillery bombardment at Sedan in the Franco- Prussian War of 1870. Krupp expanded further during the boom years of the early 1870s and he was able to gain control of German coal and Spanish iron-ore supplies. He went on to manufacture heavy artillery, with a celebrated testing ground at Osnabrück. By this time he had a workforce of 21,000, whom he ruled with benevolent but strict control. His will instructed that the firm should not be divided.
Further Reading
P.Batty, 1966, The House of Krupp (includes a bibliography). G.von Klass, 1954, Krupp: The Story of an Industrial Empire.

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

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