Franz Kienast

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Franz Wilhelm Bernhardt Kienast (born 26 November 1895 in Berlin; † 26 May 1965 in Dresden) was a German mechanical engineer and last professor of materials handling at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Technical University of Dresden.[1]


After graduating from high school in 1914, Kienast did military service and after the end of the First World War studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Dresden, graduating in 1921.

He began his professional career in 1921 as an assistant in the head office of the Werschen-Weißenfelser Braunkohlen AG (Halle), took over the position of a mechanical engineer at the mining inspectorate in 1922, became department director in 1926 and was plant director from 1933 to 1938.

As an extern, Kienast was awarded a doctorate in engineering from the TH Dresden in 1935 with his dissertation Untersuchungen über die Gewinnung und Bewegung des Förderguts an Abraumbaggern im Braunkohletagebau. Initially self-employed from 1938, he took on the position of machine director at Sudetenländische Bergbau AG Brüx within the conglomerate of Reichswerke Hermann Göring from 1940 to 1941.

After the war, from 1945 to 1946, he was initially a lecturer for machine science and electrical engineering as well as director of the machine institute of the Clausthal Mining Academy (renamed Clausthal Technical University on November 1, 1966), before he advanced to become a sworn expert of the Braunschweig Chamber of Industry and Commerce and managing director of Dr.-Ing. Kienast GmbH Braunschweig one year later.

In 1951, the TH Dresden appointed him full professor of materials handling technology, where he successfully taught, researched and headed the Institute for Materials Handling Technology (later the Institute for Materials Handling Technology and Construction Machinery) as director until his retirement in 1962. Among his diploma students were Karl Höffl.

Kienast was decisively involved in the development of “socialist community work”. He led such a working group, consisting of workers and engineers of the VEB Ferrolegierungswerk Mückenberg and VEB Lippendorf, to solve the problem of mechanical charging of ferro-silicon furnaces. For this Kienast was awarded the Fatherland Order of Merit in Silver in 1957.[2] His institute also cooperated with the chairs of materials handling technology in Moscow and Prague, from which the conference series Mechanization in Earthworks emerged in 1957, in which six countries of the CMEA later participated.

The whole field of materials handling technology played a central role for the GDR in opencast lignite mining. On the civil engineering side, Kurt Beyer had been successfully involved in the structural analysis and constructive design of the steel construction of opencast mining equipment at the Dresden Technical University and in his Dresden engineering office since 1928.[3] The civil engineering professor Ludwig Mann was also active in this field[4] Kienast continued to develop materials handling technology from the perspective of mechanical engineering and published numerous writings in Verlag Technik from the mid-1950s onwards: ropes and chains, power train parts, brakes and locks, load suspension devices, pulley blocks, traction devices, winches, bridge cranes, gantry cranes, continuous conveyors, open-cast mining equipment, elevators and storage technology.

Kienast played a decisive role in the scientific and technical progress achieved in the GDR in the field of materials handling technology as a sub-area of mechanical engineering.


  • Investigations on the extraction and movement of the material on overburden excavators in opencast lignite mining. Dissertation TH Dresden 1935.
  • Übersicht über die Fördertechnik, In: Abhandlungen der Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, Klasse für Mathematik, Physik und Technik, Jg. 1957, Nr. 2, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag.
  • With Conrad Hildebrandt: Conveying technology. Leipzig: Verlag für Buch- und Bibliothekswesen 1959.
  • The Chemical Program and Mechanical Engineering, in: Current Problems of Mechanization and Automation, ed. by Arwed Schulz, pp. 101-108. Berlin: Verlag Technik 1961

Individual references

  1. Dorit Petschel: Kienast, Franz (Wilhelm Bernhardt), in: Die Professoren an der TU Dresden 1928-2003, vol. 3, edited by Dorit Petschel, Cologne: Böhlau Verlag 2003, p. 445f., ISBN 3-412-02503-8
  2. Rolf Sonnemann et al: Geschichte der Technischen Universität Dresden 1828-1978, p. 256f., Berlin: VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften 1978.
  3. Karl-Eugen Kurrer: Kurt Beyers Beitrag zur Baustatik, in: Beton- und Stahlbetonbau 115 (2020), H. 1, pp. 62-80 (here: p. 76)
  4. Karl-Eugen Kurrer: The History of the Theory of Structures. Searching for Equilibrium. Berlin: Ernst & Sohn 2018, p. 1028, ISBN 978-3-433-03229-9