S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Schmieterloew, Mr Carl August Wilhelm (plant collection)

Born: 14 September 1817, Kuestrin (now Kostrzyn), Prussia (now Poland).
Died: 3 May 1876, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Carl (sometimes Carel) A.W. Schmieterloew, a German pharmacist, came to the Cape Colony in 1838 to work as an assistant in the dispensary of C.F. Juritz (the elder) in Loop Street, Cape Town. He was licensed to practice at the Cape as an apothecary, chemist and druggist in June 1839. In 1845 he set up his own pharmacy at 73 Strand Street, on the corner of Loop Street. He regularly advertised in the South African Commercial Advertiser during 1847-1851, usually when a consignment of medicines (or leeches, used by physicians in blood-letting) had arrived from overseas. In April 1849 he subscribed one pound sterling per year for the establishment of a botanic garden in Cape Town. In December 1851 he acquired the business of the late F.H. Kunhardt & Co. in Adderley Street, on the corner of Shortmarket Street. From that time he advertised in the local press as C. Schmieterloew & Co., wholesale and retail chemists and druggists, declaring that he would personally supervise the retail side of the business. His advertisement in the Cape of Good Hope Almanac... (1857) furthermore mentioned that the firm functioned as pharmaceutical and manufacturing chemists and sold drugs, chemicals, surgical and pharmaceutical instruments, etc.

Schmieterloew was a trustee of the Cape of Good Hope Mining Companu by 1856. He was still registered as an apothecary, chemist and druggist in 1864, and visited Europe with his family in 1864-1865. In 1867 he was one of the two knowledgeable persons (the other being W.G. Atherstone*) who inspected and authenticated the first diamond found in South Africa. He left the colony for London in July 1869, by which time he was a rich man. An eight page catalogue of his household goods, to be sold at auction on 22 july 1869, was published in Cape Town, its title mentioning "splendid household furniture, superior cut glass and crockeryware, massive plate and plated ware, magnificent-toned pianoforte (by the celebrated maker 'Errard'), carriage, etc." His pharmacy and house were eventually sold in 1873.

Schmieterloew collected plants in the vicinity of Cape Town and a few of his specimens were cited in Harvey* and Sonder's* Flora Capensis. His study herbarium, collected mainly around Nieuwied [not identified], Germany, was presented to the Cape Government Herbarium by his widow, Maria Catharina, born Meyer. She married Schmieterloew in Cape Town on 13 March 1845 and they had a son and a daughter. Maria's sister, Susanna H. Meyer, was married to Dirk Gysbert van Breda, one time owner of Oranjezicht, who was the co-owner of Schmieterloew's pharmacy in Adderley Street.

List of sources:

British Settler, 3 January 1852, p. 4: Advertisement, C. Schmieterloew & Co., Adderley Street.

Cape of Good Hope almanac and annual register, 1857; advertisements, p. 43.

Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette, 16 September 1862, Government Notice No. 284: List of the Apothecaries, chemists and druggists, licensed in the Cape Colony...

Cape Town directory..., 1865, pp. 93-94: Apothecaries, chemists and druggists.

Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS), at http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Schmieterloew, Carl August Wilhelm / Schmieterloew, Carl / Schmieterloew, C.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

South African Commercial Advertiser, 23 October 1847, 2 February 1848, 21 June 1848, 14 March 1849, 1 September 1849, 26 February 1851, 30 July 1851, etc., p. 1: Advertisements, C. Schmieterloew, 73 Strand Street; 13 December 1851, 17 December 1851, 18 August 1852, 15 September 1852, etc., Advertisement, C. Schmieterloew & Co., Adderley Street; 25 April 1849, p. 1: Botanic Garden.

Southland Times (New Zealand), 2 August 1867, p. 2. Reprint of an article on the discovery of diamonds at the Cape, from the Cape Argus of 18 April 1867 (via internet).

Toncic-Sorinj, R. (great-great-granddaughter of C.A.W. Schmieterloew). Personal communications, 27 December 2014 and 6 January 2015.

Compiled by: C. Plug