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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Krupp, Alfred

For works with similar titles, see Krupp.

KRUPP, ALFRED (1812-1887), German metallurgist, was born at Essen on the 26th of April 1812. His father, Friedrich Krupp (1787-1826), had purchased a small forge in that town about 1810, and devoted himself to the problem of manufacturing cast steel; but though that product was put on the market by him in 1815, it commanded but little sale, and the firm was far from prosperous. After his death the works were carried on by his widow, and Alfred, as the eldest son, found himself obliged, a boy of fourteen, to leave school and undertake their direction. For many years his efforts met with little success, and the concern, which in 1845 employed only 122 workmen, did scarcely more than pay its way. But in 1847 Krupp made a 3 pdr. muzzle-loading gun of cast steel, and at the Great Exhibition of London in 1851 he exhibited a solid flawless ingot of cast steel weighing 2 tons. This exhibit caused a sensation in the industrial world, and the Essen works sprang into fame. Another successful invention, the manufacture of weldless steel tires for railway vehicles, was introduced soon afterwards. The profits derived from these and other steel manufactures were devoted to the expansion of the works and to the development of the artillery with which the name of Krupp is especially associated (see Ordnance). The model settlement, which is one of the best-known features of the Krupp works, was started in the 'sixties, when difficulty began to be found in housing the increasing number of workmen; and now there are various “colonies,” practically separate villages, dotted about to the south and south-west of the town, with schools, libraries, recreation grounds, clubs, stores, &c. The policy also was adopted of acquiring iron and coal mines, so that the firm might have command of supplies of the raw material required for its operations. Alfred Krupp, who was known as the “Cannon King,” died at Essen on the 14th of July 1887, and was succeeded by his only son, Friedrich Alfred Krupp (1854-1902), who was born at Essen on the 17th of February 1854. The latter devoted himself to the financial rather than to the technical side of the business, and under him it again underwent enormous expansion. Among other things he in 1896 leased the “Germania” shipbuilding yard at Kiel, and in 1902 it passed into the complete ownership of the firm. In the latter year, which was also the year of his death, on the 22nd of November, the total number of men employed at Essen and its associated works was over 40,000. His elder daughter Bertha, who succeeded him, was married in October 1906 to Dr Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, who on that occasion received the right to bear the name Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. The enormous increase in the German navy involved further expansion in the operations of the Krupp firm as manufacturers of the armour plates and guns required for the new ships, and in 1908 its capital, then standing at £9,000,000, was augmented by £2,500,000.