S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Schweder, Mr Kurt (mechanical engineering)

Born: Date not known, Germany.
Died: 20 May 1919, Berlin, Germany.

Kurt Schweder was government boiler inspector on the Witwatersrand and in 1896 applied for naturalization as a citizen of the South African Republic (Transvaal). That same year he compiled a report entitled "De kosten van effectieve paardekrachten bij verschillende machines op den Witwatersrand" (The cost of effective horse-power with different machines on the Witwatersrand), published as an appendix to the annual report of the head of the Mines Department for 1896.

In August 1897 he was elected an honorary member of the South African Association of Engineers and Architects and for a short period participated actively in its proceedings. Thus on 24 November 1897 he read a paper on "The relative mechanical efficiency of air drills and electric drills" (Proceedings, 1897, Vol. 4, pp. 97-101), though it dealt almost exclusively with the efficiency of air compressors at various mines. This paper formed part of a long investigation and discussion on the topic in which various members of the association participated. On 23 February 1898 he spoke again on the mechanical efficiency of air drills (pp. 153-155) as part of the discussion of a paper by G.A. Denny* and E.J. Way* on "The Bladray electric drill". Another paper by Schweder, "Notes on some recent boiler trials" (Proceedings, 1898, Vol. 4, pp. 159-164) dealt with the efficiency of boilers manufactured overseas when using local coal, and elicited further discussion on the topic (pp. 175-177, 183-185). The paper was also published in the journal Machinery (Johannesburg) early in May 1898.

Schweder became a member of the Mechanical Engineer's Association of the Witwatersrand before the end of 1898, the year in which it was founded. At this time he was boiler inspector at Klerksdorp, but by February 1899 was back in Johannesburg. He continued his membership when the association changed its name to the Transvaal Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 1905, serving on its council for 1907/8. At his death in 1919 he was survived by his wife Ilse, born Kahn.


List of sources:
Journal of the Transvaal Institute of Mechanical Engineers, 1907/8, Vol. 6.

National Archives Repository (TAB), Source MHG, Vol. 0, Ref. 49022: estate papers, Kurt Schweder.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Schweder, Kurt / Schweder, K.

Orr, J. Presidential address. Associated Scientific and Technical Societies of South Africa, Annual Proceedings, 1938, pp. 15-86 (see p. 21).

South African Association of Engineers and Architects. Proceedings, 1897-1898, Vol. 4, papers by Schweder and list of members.

Staats-Almanak der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, 1898, p. 262. Pretoria: Staatsdrukkerij.

Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Rapport van het Hoofd van Mijnwezen met bijgevoegd rapport van den Staatsmijningenieur over het jaar 1896. Pretoria: Staatsdrukkerij, 1897.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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