252 - Guillaume SMYERS (1814 - )

SMYERS-WILLIQUET, ingénieur pyrotechnicien, born in Liège (Belgium) in 1814, emigrated to Mannheim in 1846 where he set up a gas factory under the name of « C. L. Köster & Guillaume Smyers-Williquet ». In 1848 he was joined by Friedrich ENGELHORN, the founder of BASF in 1865.

A publication on the former house of Friedrich ENGELHORN in Mannheim states the following:

Die Wohnung im zweiten Obergeschoss vermietete er [Engelhorn] an Guillaume Smyers, einem aus Lüttich gebürtigen Ingenieur, der zusammen mit einem Kompagnon in Mannheim die „Privilegierte Gas-Apparate-Gesellschaft” gegründet hatte, nachdem die Stadtverwaltung als großes und wichtiges Vorhaben die Beleuchtung der Straßen in Angriff nehmen wollte. Schließlich konnte der Mieter auch seinen Vermieter als Teilhaber für das neue Projekt gewinnen. Damit nahm  Engelhorn in diesem Haus den ersten Schritt zum Industriellendasein. Am 1. Oktober 1848 wurde die Firma in „Engelhorn & Cie.” umbenannt und anschließend im Quadrat K 6 eine Gasfabrik gebaut. 

SMYERS had obtained a patent in several other countries for his invention of a domestic gas generating system, including in the USA. 

The US patent [2] gives further details of the system: 

My invention relates more especially to small gas apparatus which are designed for lighting single buildings.

The carbureter A is intended to be partially filled with naphtha or any other similar carbureting-liquid, and the air may be supplied thereto by means of a blower, or in any other way, through a pipe, D.

Air passes ... into the chamber E, where the carbureted air expands and becomes thoroughly homogeneous

From the chamber E the carbureted air passes through the pipe F ... to the gasometer G, which consists of a bellows-like chamber formed of two boards ...

As the pressure in the gasometer increases the board k is raised, lifting the cone and decreasing the size of the opening for the entrance of gas ...

As the pressure therein decreases the cone falls and increases the size of the gas-inlet ...

It will be understood that by this means the pressure in the gasometer is automatically regulated and the gas maintained at a uniform pressure.

On 2 October 1879 SMYERS (who was then resident in Brussels) applied for a patent in Luxembourg under the title of: 

Appareil d’éclairage appelé "Gazogène populaire économique universel", ou appareil permettant à chacun de fabriquer instantanément son gaz d’éclairage

The patent was granted on 12 July 1880 [3], shortly after the entry into force of the new 1880 Patent Law. 


[1] Rhein-Neckar Industriekultur

[2] US patent No 226,122

[3] LU patent No 4