Frantisek Josef Gerstner

Gerstner, František Josef


Born Feb. 23, 1756, in Chomutov; died June 26, 1832, in Mladejov. Czech scholar in the field of mechanics.

In 1806, Gerstner founded the Czech Polytechnic Institute in Prague. In his major work, Manual of Mechanics (1831-34), Gerstner presented some original solutions to practical problems in mechanics, such as the problem of controlling the tension of the span cables on a suspension bridge and the formula for the amount of resistance of a vehicle on a pliant surface. In 1793, Gerstner designed and built a hoisting machine for one of the Bohemian mines; he was the first to use a conical drum in such a machine. (On this drum the moment of rotation on the axis remains constant throughout the hoisting operation.) In 1807 he suggested the construction of a horse-drawn railroad between Ceské Budějovice and Linz.