Karl Wilhelm Ritter

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Wilhelm Ritter
Karl Wilhelm Ritter ETH-Bib PI 55-BO-0026.jpg
Born(1847-04-14)14 April 1847
Died18 October 1906(1906-10-18) (aged 59)
Zell, Zürich, Switzerland
Alma materETH Zurich
Known forThe developer of the first design scheme of lining tunnels on the action of loads from the rock collapse
Spouse(s)Magdalena Jacobi
Scientific career
FieldsCivil engineering
InstitutionsETH Zurich

Karl Wilhelm Ritter (German: Karl Wilhelm Ritter; April 14, 1847 in Liestal (Switzerland) – October 18, 1906 in Zell, Zürich) - civil engineer, professor of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich , the rector of the Polytechnic Institute of Zurich (1887–1891).[1]


Born in the family of the teacher Johann Friedrich and Barbara Salate on April 14, 1847.

He graduated from the Technical School in Basel (1865–68) with the defense of a diploma of an engineer. In 1868, railway engineer in Hungary, in 1869 assistant Carl Culmann, from 1870 - professor of engineering subjects at the Polytechnic Institute of Zurich, in 1873-82 professor of engineering in Riga, in 1882-1905 professor in Zurich.

From 1887 to 1891 he was rector of the Polytechnic Institute of Zurich.

He died in Zurich on October 22, 1906. Buried in the cemetery of Turbenthal.

Scientific activity[edit]

He worked out the questions of the statics of engineering structures, the construction of bridges and railways at the Polytechnic Institute of Zurich. Continued the teachings of Culmann as a theorist. He regarded statics as an engineering discipline and also developed kinematics.

Contributed to the theory of calculating reinforced concrete structures and writing, in addition, numerous conclusions about the state of real structures. Participated in the work of the Construction Commission of Zurich, the board of the Swiss Union of Engineers and Architects (1896–98).

Developed the first design scheme for tunnels lining on the effects of loads from the collapse rock.[2]

Awards, recognition[edit]

  • Honorary Citizen of Zurich (1889)
  • Honorary Doctor of the University of Zurich (1896).

Personal life[edit]

Wife - Magdalena Jacobi, an American (1875). The younger brother Herman Ritter (1851-1918) was an architect.


  1. ^ GERMAN NATIONAL LIBRARY Record #117533130
  2. ^ М.М. Протодьяконов "Давление горных пород и рудничное крепление". - М.-Л.: Государственное Научно-Техническое Издательство, 1930, Ч.1. - 104 с.(in Russian)


  • W. Ritter Die statik der tunnelgewölbe. - Berlin, J. Springer, 1879. - 66 p.(in German)


  • Rudolf Mumenthaler: Karl Wilhelm Ritter in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.(in German)
  • Urs Widmer: Ritter, Karl Wilhelm. In: Isabelle Rucki und Dorothee Huber (Hg): Architektenlexikon der Schweiz - 19./20. Jahrhundert Basel: Birkhäuser 1998. ISBN 3-7643-5261-2 (in German)
  • E. M.: Wilhelm Ritter. Nekrolog in: Schweizerische Bauzeitung, Bd 48 (1906), S. 204-206 doi:10.5169/seals-26179(in German)
  • Christine Lehmann, Bertram Maurer: Karl Culmann und die graphische Statik. Ernst und Sohn, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-433-01815-6.(in German)