August Borsig

Johann Friedrich August Borsig (23 June 1804 – 6 July 1854) was a German businessman who founded the Borsig-Werke factory.

Borsig was born in Breslau (Wrocław), the son of cuirassier and carpenter foreman Johann George Borsig. After learning his father's trade, he first attended the Königliche Provinzial-Kunst- und Bauschule (Royal Provincial Art and Building school), then until fall of 1825 the Königliche Gewerbe-Institut (Royal Institute of Trade). He received his practical training in engine construction at the Neue Berliner Eisengießerei (New Iron Foundry of Berlin) of F. A. Egells, where one of his first tasks was the assembly of a steam engine in Waldenburg, Silesia. After the successful completion of this task, Borsig was made factory manager for eight years. In 1828, he married Louise Pahl; they had one son, Albert.

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-12815, August Borsig
Portrait of August Borsig

August Borsig and his company

Borsig steam locomotive 06-18 type 2-8-2 made in 1930.

From early on, Borsig was a supporter of railroads. Despite the lack of experience with railroads in Germany and the risks involved in the founding of a railroad machinery manufacturing company, Borsig used his savings to buy a site at Chausseestraße (in the Feuerland) near the Oranienburger Tor, neighboring his old company's factory, and founded his own machine factory, focusing on locomotives. The founding date was declared to be 22 July 1837, the day of the first successful casting in the foundry.

Technical drawing of the first steam locomotive (1840)

Despite tremendous costs, the first locomotive, bearing factory number 1 and the name BORSIG, was finished in 1840. This locomotive had an interior frame, a two-axle front pivoted bogie and an extra dead axle behind the only drive axle. On 21 July 1840, Borsig let it compete against a Stephenson-built locomotive on the Berlin-Jüterbog railroad. The Borsig locomotive won by 10 minutes, proving that in spite of the lack of experience, Germans could build locomotives that were at least as good as the British models, and so the import of locomotives and engineers was no longer necessary. After this victory, the number of orders rose quickly. A further six machines of this type were sold to the Berlin-Stettiner Eisenbahn and the Oberschlesische Eisenbahn in 1842.

In the beginning, the Borsig company also built steam engines for their own needs and machines for other companies as well as cast parts for art and construction. However, the focus soon shifted to locomotive building, and the name Borsig is connected with locomotives to this day. By 1843, railway companies in Prussia had ordered 18 locomotives, and in 1844, Borsig could exhibit his 24th locomotive at the Berlin industrial fair. The one hundredth locomotive was finished in 1846. Meanwhile, Borsig built the steam pump for the fountain at Sanssouci and participated in the building of the domes of the Nicolai Church in Potsdam and the Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace). The company was expanding rapidly in those years, since new railways were being built all over Germany. In 1847, construction of the new Moabit ironworks started and they became operational in 1849. The machine factory and iron foundry in Kirchstraße was bought in 1850, and this put the total number of employees at the three Berlin factories at 1800, making Borsig's company one of the large-scale enterprises of its time.

Borsigwerke B-Tegel 07-2017 img2
Gate of the former Borsig-Werke factory in Berlin

The increasing number of orders also increased Borsig's private wealth, and he soon became a rich entrepreneur who was not averse to splendor and a patron for many artists. August Borsig was said to be a strict but just boss with a zest for action. For his workers, he set up a sickness fund, a funeral expense fund, and a savings bank. His company had an instruction room, a dining room and a bath with swimming pool.

Borsig steam locomotive
Borsig steam locomotive used on the Warsaw-Vienna railway

Borsig had become sufficiently important by the end of the 1840s that he was able to weather the economic crisis of 1848-1852 with little damage. Starting 1851, foreign railway companies also began to order Borsig locomotives, among them the Warsaw-Vienna Railway and the Seeländische Eisenbahn. After the 500th locomotive had been completed in 1854, Borsig was made Geheimer Kommerzienrat (Secret Commerce Councillor). This allowed him to tighten his monopoly position, and 67 of the 68 new Prussian locomotives in 1854 came from Borsig factories.

Some years earlier, his magnificent villa in Berlin-Moabit had been completed, fulfilling a dream of Borsig's. However, he could not enjoy his wealth for very long. He died in Berlin on 6 July 1854, at the height of his power.

Further history of the company

After the death of August Borsig, the company was led and expanded by his son August Julius Albert Borsig.

On the occasion of the completion of the 1000th locomotive, a large celebration with many prominent guests was held, among them the explorer Alexander von Humboldt. At this time, the company that had started out with 50 workers, had 2800 employees. It continued its expansion, and moved some part of its production to Zabrze in Silesia in 1862. In 1872, Borsig was the largest locomotive producer in Europe. Albert Borsig co-founded the Maschinenfabrik Deutschland on the Köln-Mindener Eisenbahn line in Dortmund but the most successful chapter in the Borsig business history ended with Albert's death in 1878.

The company continued to be led mostly by Borsig family members and continued to build large numbers of locomotives, but it began to lose market share to other traffic-related companies. The company moved to Tegel, a former suburb of Berlin. The works was inaugurated in 1898. The Tegel works area was one of the most modern facilities in Germany at that time. It had its own harbour where the ships brought the material for the locomotives. The works itself had long road with every production step at its place. The end of this production lane was the BORSIG Gate. The brand new locomotives left the works through this gate. The company also developed new products that are still part of the current manufacturing program: pressure vessels and compressors. The Great Depression made an end the success of BORSIG as a private company. By 1930, the company was on the verge of liquidation, the locomotive business was saved by a merger with AEG. Borsig built a number of famous locomotives, among which was the world speed record holder DRG Class 05, the first steam locomotive to hit 200 km/h. The last of a total of 16,352 locomotives was built in 1954. The rest of the company went to Rheinmetall.

Berlin Erbbegraebnis Borsig AS
Johann Friedrich August Borsig's family tomb on the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof graveyard, after a sketch by Heinrich Strack

BORSIG today

The memorial pictured in 2007 in the Berlin cemetery

After World War II, the company was called Borsig AG, owned by Rheinmetall (as Rheinmetall-Borsig) and later by VIAG, a company owned by the German Federal Republic. In 1970, Borsig was sold to the private company Deutsche Babcock AG, later known as Babcock Borsig AG. In July 2002, Borsig had to reorganize due to the insolvency of its parent company, Babcock Borsig AG, Oberhausen. In 2004, Borsig bought ZM Zwickauer Maschinenfabrik, a manufacturer of reciprocating compressors and blowers, today known as BORSIG ZM Compression GmbH, situated in Meerane/Saxony. In 2006, Borsig bought the industrial boiler manufacturer DIM KWE, today BORSIG Boiler Systems GmbH. Today the BORSIG Group consists of six companies:

  • BORSIG GmbH, the parent company, Berlin,
  • BORSIG Process Heat Exchanger GmbH, Berlin, manufacturer of pressure vessels and heat exchangers,
  • BORSIG ZM Compression GmbH, Meerane, manufacturer of compressors and blowers,
  • BORSIG Membrane Technology GmbH, Gladbeck and Rheinfelden, manufacturer of membrane technology such as emission control systems or vapour recovery units,
  • BORSIG Boiler Systems GmbH, Hamburg, industrial boilers and power plant engineering,
  • BORSIG Service GmbH, Berlin and Gladbeck, industrial service.

In 2008 the whole BORSIG Group got a new owner, the KNM Group Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The actual product and service programme of the BORSIG Group consists of pressure vessels, heat exchangers, process gas waste heat recovery systems, quench coolers, scraped surface exchangers, reciprocating compressors for process gases, turbo compressors for process gases, reciprocating compressors for CNG filling stations, blowers and blowers systems, compressor valves, membrane technologies, such as emission control units, vapour recovery systems, gas conditioning, advanced separations, industrial boilers, power plant engineering, power plant services and industrial services.

See also


This article is based on a translation of the German article August Borsig, which cites the following references:

  • Rheinmetall-Borsig Aktiengesellschaft (Hrsg.): Deutscher Maschinenbau 1837-1937 im Spiegel des Werkes Borsig. Berlin, 1937
  • Galm, Ulla: August Borsig. Stapp, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-87776-167-4
  • Kutschik, Dietrich: Lokomotiven von Borsig: Eine Darstellung der Lokomotivgeschichte der Firma A. Borsig und der Nachfolgefirmen. Transpress, Verlag für Verkehrswesen, Berlin 1985
  • Kutschik, Dietrich; Wenzel, Hansjürgen; Koch, Matthias: Borsig. Lokomotiven für die Welt. EK Verlag, Freiburg 1986, ISBN 3-88255-111-9
  • Pierson, Kurt: Borsig, ein Name geht um die Welt: die Geschichte des Hauses Borsig und seiner Lokomotiven. Rembrandt Verlag Berlin, 1973, ISBN 3-7925-0204-6

External links

1840 in rail transport

This article lists events related to rail transport that occurred in 1840.


Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-2-2 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, two powered driving wheels on one axle, and two trailing wheels on one axle. The wheel arrangement both provided more stability and enabled a larger firebox than the earlier 0-2-2 and 2-2-0 types. This configuration was introduced in 1834 on Robert Stephenson's 'Patentee locomotive' but it was later popularly named Jenny Lind, after the Jenny Lind locomotive which in turn was named after the popular singer. They were also sometimes described as Singles, although this name could be used to describe any kind of locomotive with a single pair of driving wheels.


Beuth was a 2-2-2 steam locomotive manufactured by Borsig, first delivered in 1843.

Borsig Lokomotiv Werke

Borsig Lokomotiv Werke can refer to:

The August Borsig Lokomotiv-Werke based in Tegel, Germany, part of Borsig AG founded by August Borsig

The Borsig Lokomotiv Werke GmbH based in Hennigsdorf, Germany owned by AEG after merger with Borsig AG

Borsig locomotive works

Borsig locomotive works can refer to:

The August Borsig Lokomotiv-Werke in Tegel, Berlin owned by August Borsig (before the 1930s)

The Borsig Lokomotiv Werke owned by AEG (after the early 1930s)


Borsigwalde is a German locality (Ortsteil) within the borough (Bezirk) of Reinickendorf, Berlin. Until 2012 was a zone (Ortslage) part of Wittenau.


Borsigwerke may refer to

Borsigwerke, a former German company founded by August Borsig

Borsigwerke (Berlin U-Bahn), a subway station of the Berlin U-Bahn

Borsig Werke, a pseudonym of Alexander Hacke, musician

Borsig Lokomotiv Werke (AEG), a locomotive works in Hennigsdorf owned by AEG after the takeover of Borsig AG

DRG Class 05

The Deutsche Reichsbahn's Class 05 was a German class of three express passenger steam locomotives of 4-6-4 wheel arrangement in the Whyte notation, or 2′C2′ h3 in the UIC notation used in continental Europe. They were part of the DRG's standard locomotive (Einheitslokomotive) series.

Dorotheenstadt Cemetery

The Dorotheenstadt Cemetery, officially the "Cemetery of the Dorotheenstadt and Friedrichswerder Parishes", is a landmarked Protestant burial ground located in the Berlin district of Mitte which dates to the late 18th century. The entrance to the 1.7-hectare (4.2-acre) plot is at 126 Chaussee Straße (next door to the Brecht House, where Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel spent their last years, at 125 Chaussee Straße). It is also directly adjacent to the French cemetery (also known as the cemetery of the Huguenots), established in 1780, and is sometimes confused with it.


Feuerland was a popular 19th-century designation for the industrial nucleus of Berlin. It was located in the historic Oranienburger Vorstadt section of Berlin in today’s district Berlin-Mitte. The word literally means “land of fire”, but it is also a play on words as "Feuerland" is the German name for another geographical location, namely Tierra del Fuego.

Johann Friedrich Ludwig Wöhlert

Johann Friedrich Ludwig Wöhlert (16 September 1797 – 31 March 1877) was a German businessman. Johann Wöhlert was born on 16 September 1797 in Kiel in north Germany. Trained as a joiner, in 1818 Wöhlert went to Berlin. Here he worked until 1836 at the engineering works of Franz Anton Egells and thereafter in the iron foundry and engineering works of August Borsig at Oranienburger Tor.

LEW Hennigsdorf

The rail vehicle factory in Hennigsdorf, Germany, was founded in 1910 by AEG. Locomotive production began in 1913, and in the 1930s absorbed the work of the August Borsig locomotive factory, being renamed the Borsig Lokomotiv Werke GmbH until 1944. After the Second World War the factory was nationalised in the German Democratic Republic and produced electric locomotives for home use and for export, mainly to Communist Bloc countries under the name Lokomotivbau-Elektrotechnische Werke (LEW).

After German reunification in 1990, the plant returned to AEG ownership, becoming AEG Schienenfahrzeuge GmbH, and then passed through mergers of its parent companies to Adtranz (1996) and then Bombardier Transportation (2001). Under Adtranz's ownership production of locomotives ended, and the site now manufactures diesel and electric multiple units.

List of people from Breslau

This list includes people who were born in or lived in Breslau before 1945. For a list of famous residents after 1945, see List of notable people from Wrocław.

Alois Alzheimer – discoverer of Alzheimer's disease

Günther Anders – philosopher and journalist

Adolf Anderssen – 19th-century chess master

Đorđe Andrejević-Kun – painter

Heinz Arndt – Australian economist

Leopold Auerbach - anatomist and neuropathologist

Bertha Badt-Strauss – writer

Boleslaw Barlog – stage and film director

Erhard Bauschke (1912–1945), was a German jazz and light music reedist and bandleader

Max Berg – architect, designer of Centennial Hall

Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Lutheran clergyman, religious leader in the resistance movement against Nazism

Max Born – physicist

August Borsig – entrepreneur

Ernst Cassirer – philosopher

Ferdinand Cohn – biologist

Louis M. Cohn – suspected of starting the Great Chicago Fire

Richard Courant – mathematician

Walter Damrosch – conductor

Jan Dzierżon – apiarist

Hermann von Eichhorn - Prussian field marshal

Norbert Elias – sociologist

Eduard Vogel von Falckenstein (1797-1885), Prussian general

Friedrich Karl Georg Fedde – botanist

George Wolfgang Forell (1919–2011) was a world-renowned scholar, author, lecturer and guest professor

Otfrid Förster — neurosurgeon

Heinz Fraenkel-Conrat – virologist

Zecharias Frankel – rabbi and founder of Conservative Judaism

Hans Freeman – biochemist

Alfred Gomolka – politician (SPD)

Felix Hausdorff – mathematician, one of the founders of algebraic topology

Martin Helwig – cartographer, created the first map of Silesia

George Henschel – conductor and singer

Johann Heß – Lutheran theologian, Protestant reformer of Breslau and Silesia

Christian Hoffmann von Hoffmannswaldau – Baroque poet

August zu Hohenlohe-Öhringen - general

Karl Eduard von Holtei – poet and actor

E. A. J. Honigmann – Professor of English Literature

Heinz Hopf – mathematician (topologist)

Vernon Ingram – biologist

Alfred Kerr – theatre critic and essayist

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff – physicist

Gerhard Kittel – New Testament scholar and philologist

Otto Klemperer (1885–1973) – conductor

Wojciech Korfanty – political activist

Arthur Korn – physicist, invented transmission of photographs by facsimile and wireless

Arthur Korn – architect and town planner

Carl Ferdinand Langhans – architect

Carl Gotthard Langhans – architect

Ferdinand Lassalle – socialist politician and reformer

Carl Friedrich Lessing – artist

Daniel Casper von Lohenstein – poet and diplomat

Peter Lorre – actor

Rudolf Meidner – economist and socialist theorist

Joachim Meisner – Cardinal priest and archbishop of Cologne

Adolph von Menzel – artist

Jan Mikulicz-Radecki – surgeon, contributed to development of modern surgery

Richard Mohaupt – German-American composer and Kapellmeister

Edda Moser – soprano opera singer

Svika Pick (born 1949) – Israeli pop singer and composer

Hugo von Pohl – German admiral, commander of High Seas Fleet

Louis Prang – printer, lithographer and publisher

Michael Oser Rabin – mathematician and computer scientist

Manfred von Richthofen – World War I flying ace (the "Red Baron")

Oskar von Riesenthal – ornithologist, forester, author

Horst Rosenthal (1915–1942) – German-born French cartoonist

Julius von Sachs – botanist

Johann Gottfried Scheibel – theological professor and dissenter to the Prussian Union

Friedrich Schleiermacher – theologian and philosopher

Auguste Schmidt, educationist and feminist

Margarethe Siems – operatic soprano

Angelus Silesius – 17th-century religious poet

Edith Stein – philosopher and Roman Catholic martyr

Michael Steinberg – music critic

Fritz Stern – historian

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben – Inspector General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War

Siegbert Tarrasch – chess player

Augustin Theiner – theologian and Church historian, Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives

Michel Thomas – war hero and language teacher.

Christian Wolff – philosopher

Johann Heinrich Zedler (1706–1751) – publisher of a German encyclopedia, the Grosses Universal-Lexicon

Louis Victor Robert Schwartzkopff

Louis Victor Robert Schwartzkopff (5 June 1825 - 7 March 1892) was a German industrialist and founder of the Berliner Maschinenbau (BMAG) mechanical engineering company, chiefly known as manufacturer of steam locomotives.

Oranienburger Vorstadt

Oranienburger Vorstadt is a historic district of Berlin in what is now the northwestern part of Mitte and the adjacent Gesundbrunnen area, in the modern Mitte borough.


Rheinmetall AG is a European defence contractor. Rheinmetall has a presence in two corporate sectors (automotive and defence) with six divisions, and is headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany. In fiscal 2018, the company generated sales of €6.148 billion.

The Group's Automotive segment had sales in fiscal 2018 of €2.930 billion, while sales of its Defence segment for the same period came to €3.221 billion.Rheinmetall AG is listed on the German MDAX; its shares are traded on all German stock exchanges.


The Ruinenberg is a hill in the Bornstedt borough of Potsdam, located north of Sanssouci Park. In 1748, the Prussian king Frederick the Great had a water tank with a capacity of around 7,600 cubic metres (270,000 cu ft) built on top to supply the Sanssouci water features, and had it decorated with artificial ruins. From 1841 a surrounding landscape garden was laid out at the behest of King Frederick William IV of Prussia, according to plans designed by Peter Joseph Lenné.

Sanssouci Park

Sanssouci Park is a large park surrounding Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, Germany. Following the terracing of the vineyard and the completion of the palace, the surroundings were included in the structure. A baroque flower garden with lawns, flower beds, hedges and trees was created. In the hedge quarter 3,000 fruit trees were planted. The greenhouses of the numerous nurseries contained oranges, melons, peaches and bananas. The goddesses Flora and Pomona, who decorate the entrance obelisk at the eastern park exit, were placed there to highlight the connection of a flower, fruit and vegetable garden.


Voßstraße (also sometimes spelled Voss Strasse or Vossstrasse in English); German pronunciation: [ˈfɔsˌʃtʁaːsə] is a street in central Berlin, the capital of Germany. It runs east-west from Ebertstraße to Wilhelmstraße in the borough of Mitte, one street north of Leipziger Straße and very close to Potsdamer Platz. It is best known for being the location of Hitler's new Reich Chancellery complex, and the bunker where he spent his last days.


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