Franz Reuleaux

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Reuleaux, Franz


Born Sept. 30, 1829, in Eschweiler, Germany; died Aug. 20, 1905, in Berlin. German scientist in the theory of mechanisms and machines.

Reuleaux graduated from a secondary specialized polytechnic in Karlsruhe in 1852. He became a professor at the Institute of Technology in Zürich in 1856. From 1864 to 1896 he was a professor at the Academy of Technology (later the Technische Hochschule) in Berlin.

In 1875, Reuleaux was the first to clearly formulate and present the major aspects of the structure and kinematics of mechanisms, which had earlier been touched upon by P. L. Chebyshev and others. He defined kinematic pairs, kinematic chains, and mechanisms as kinematic chains of induced motion. He proposed that mechanisms can be transformed either by changing the support or the design of a kinematic pair.

Reuleaux linked the theory of mechanisms and machines with problems of design; for example, he was the first to raise and attempt to solve the problem of the aestheticism of technical objects. On the basis of this direction in his work, Reu-leaux’s contemporaries considered him to be a poet in technology. Reuleaux’s work had a significant effect on subsequent studies on the theory of mechanisms.


Der Constructeur, 4th ed. Braunschweig, 1899.
Lehrbuch der Kinematik, vols. 1–2. Braunschweig, 1875–1900.


Weihe, K. F. Reuleaux und seine Kinematik. Berlin, 1925.
Weihe, K. F. Reuleaux und die Grundlagen seiner Kinematik. Berlin, 1942.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The spherical triangle in this form is known as the Reuleaux triangle, after Franz Reuleaux, who realized that it would roll with a constant diameter.
Mechanical and aerospace engineering students at Cornell University see Franz Reuleaux's kinematic mechanisms every day.