Baumann, Karl 1884 - 1971


Karl Baumann was born in Switzerland in 1884. He studied engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique in Zurich under the engineer, physicist and inventor Aurel Stodola, working as his assistant for a year after his graduation in 1906. In 1907, he joined Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (MAN) as a Research and Design Engineer for a two year period. He left MAN in 1909 to join the British Westinghouse Company at their Trafford Park site, becoming the Chief Engineer of the Engineering Department in 1912. He moved over to Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co Ltd (MetroVicks) in 1919. Ten years later, he became Special Director of the Executive Management Board.

His work at MetroVicks focused on turbine engineering, starting with steam turbines for electrical power generating stations. Baumann pioneered the use of increased turbine inlet pressures and temperatures. In 1916, he introduced the Baumann split-exhaust steam turbine. He developed the largest single-axis steam turbine set for Battersea A power station in 1933.

In 1938, Baumann put together a team that worked on the first axial-flow compressor for jet engine propulsion, resulting in the F2 gas turbine engine. This research and development work led to the MetroVick ‘Beryl’ and ‘Sapphire’ engines, as well as being developed into the power plant for Naval warships, producing the first gas turbine propelled ship the MGB 2009, in 1947.

He received many awards for his contributions and calculations to turbine technology. He was elected a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1929 and awarded the Thomas Hawksley Medal and the James Clayton Prize in 1948.

He retired from MetroVicks in 1949, and died in 1971.