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* 1. 11. 1862, Strážnice near Prague, Czech Republic
† 3. 7. 1943, in concentration camp Terezin, Czech Republic

Engineer and entrepreneur

After completing his secondary education in Prague, K. studied engineering at the German Technical University until 1887 and also attended the electrical courses. After a year of practice in the Czech Republic he in 1888 won a scholarship to the USA, where he worked as chief engineer of the Technical department of the Edison Machine Company in Schenectady until 1892. While in New York, K. met Nikola →Tesla, who influenced him more than Edison and had a larger impact on his work. When deciding between researching direct or alternating current, K. unlike his rival František → Křižík opted for alternating current, which was promoted by →Tesla.
After that K. returned to Europe and for two years worked for the Swiss company Oerlikon as the chief-designer, where he mainly dealt with the theory and characteristics of multi-phase current, systems for the transmission of electricity over long distances, with the problems of heavy current machinery and the electrification of transport.
In 1896 he returned to the Czech Republic and in Prague set up a company named »Kolben und spol. elektrotechnická továrna v Praze-Vysočanech« (Kolben & Co. electrical works, Prag-Vysočany). The company began to manufacture electric motors and generators for power plants. With secured financial investment from a bank the company with about 100 employees became a stock holding company in 1898 and was renamed to »Electrical stock holding company, formerly known as Kolben & Co.. in Prague«. K. continued to work as the director. The production programme consisted of the use of electricity in transport, lighting and regulation of factory plants. Until 1907, the Electrical stock holding company produced 5.000 machines, 6.500 instruments, 70 small and 205 large manifolds and set the first power station in Prague, as well as the power station in London. The company employed up to 800 workers. During the First World War it mainly produced weapons.
In 1921 the company merged with another engineering company into »Českomoravská-Kolben a. s.«. The new group produced turbines, generators, electric locomotives, machinery for sugar factories and cars. In 1927 the company merged with the company »Breitfeld, Daněk & Co. AG« into »Českomoravská-Kolben-Daněk« (the ČKD), which became the largest engineering company in the then Czechoslovakia. K. was appointed Director General and the Deputy Chairman of the Board. He published numerous articles and collections of scientific papers in national and foreign newspapers. In 1906 he was awarded honorary doctorate of technical sciences by the German Technical University.
After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia on 15th March 1939 K. was relieved from duty, imprisoned and sent to a concentration camp Terezin, where he died in 1943.

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Izdelava spletnih strani:  Positiva