Lobnitz, Frederick

Lobnitz, Frederick
SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
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b. 7 September 1863 Renfrew, Scotland
d. 7 December 1932 Crookston, Renfrewshire, Scotland
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Scottish shipbuilder, expert in dredge technology.
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Lobnitz was the son of Henry Christian Lobnitz. His father was born in Denmark in 1831, and had worked for some years in both England and Scotland before becoming a naturalized British subject. Ultimately Henry joined the Clyde shipyard of James Henderson \& Son and worked there until his death, by which time he was sole proprietor and the yard was called Lobnitz \& Co. By this time the shipyard was the acknowledged world leader in rock-cutting machinery.
Frederick was given the opportunity to travel in Europe during the late 1870s and early 1880s. He studied at Bonn, Heidelberg and at the Zurich Polytechnic, and also served an apprenticeship at the Fairfield Shipyard of John Elder \& Co. of Glasgow. One of his first tasks was to supervise the construction and commissioning of a subaqueous rock excavator, and then he was asked to direct rock excavations at the Suez Canal.
In 1888 Frederick Lobnitz was made a partner of the company by his father and was to remain with them until his death, at which time he was Chairman. By this time the shipyard was a private limited company and had continued to enhance its name in the specialized field of dredging. At that time the two greatest dredge builders in the world (and deadly rivals) were situated next to each other on the banks of the Clyde at Renfrew; in 1957 they merged as Simons-Lobnitz Ltd. In 1915 Lobnitz was appointed Deputy Director for Munitions in Scotland and one year later he became Director, a post he held until 1919. Having investigated the running of munitions factories in France, he released scarce labour for the war effort by staffing the plants under his control with female and unskilled labour.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1920. Officier de la Légion d'honneur.
Further Reading
Fred M.Walker, 1984, Song of the Clyde. A History of Clyde Shipbuilding Cambridge: PSL.
Lobnitz \& Co., n.d., Romance of Dredging.
FMW

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

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