Biography of Otto C. Trautmann
Bronx County, NY Biographies





OTTO CARL TRAUTMANN - In the premises located at Nos. 88-90 Cypress Avenue, in The Bronx section of New York City, labors a noted scientist, inventor and manufacturer, whose presence in the United States is the result of an unusual circumstance, the developments of which constituted a distinct gain to our Nation.

On December 5, 1882, in the province of Saxon, Germany, was born Otto Carl Trautmann, a son of Julius Trautmann, a farmer, and Mary (Bartels) Trautmann. The infant, Otto C., gradually progressed toward the boyhood stage, and in good time joined with his fellow playmate's as students in a gymnasium (preparatory school) in which pupils were taught, in successive stages, the elementary, high school and college preparatory courses. His studies at the gymnasium completed, the father, desirous that his obviously talented son should be afforded an opportunity to acquire a higher education, arranged for the matriculation of Otto in the famed Technical Institute of Charlottenburg, from which institute the youth was graduated in 1903, as mechanical engineer and diploma engineer. Having attained his theoretical education, the time had now arrived when Otto must devote the results of his knowledge to practical achievement. He began his professional career in the capacity of field engineer, gradually advanced through several other minor positions, was professor of mechanics and mathematics in a private technical college for several years, eventually became city engineer for the city of Kustrin, Germany, and finally, so he thought, the crowning achievement of his career was attained when he was elected to the presidency of the Central Heating Plants Corporation of Berlin, which event took place in 1913.

Just prior to the beginning of the World War, an urgent business transaction required his presence in the United States, and before he was prepared to return to Germany, hostilities were declared, and Mr. Trautmann, well on the way to becoming a power in the manufacturing and scientific world of Germany, found himself an involuntary citizen of the United States. But never for an instant did the resourcefulness peculiar to his countrymen desert him. A battle was raging; the United States, foe of the land of his birth, eventually joined forces with the Allied armies, and was in urgent need of certain chemical byproducts which he (and probably only he in this country) knew how to and did manufacture, for Otto C. Trautmann promptly entered into the manufacture of this product, fused silica, otherwise known as quartzglass, essential for insulation purposes in searchlight manufacture, and also in the manufacturing of certain acids and in laboratory work as a substitute for platinum, the cost of which product is only about one tenth of that of platinum. Fused silica, a product of sand and electricity, will withstand acids and heat, and is the only chemical product known to modern science that will neither contract nor expand under even the most intense heat. Prior to the World War, England had the monopoly on the manufacture of this product; and today, the only other nation possessing this facility is the United States, in New York City, at the above mentioned address in The Bronx, where the Sidio Company, Inc., is now furnishing this product to a great number of leading industries as the General Chemical, General Electric, du Pont de Nemours, Hercules Powder, etc., to Japan, also to Canada and South America, which markets have replaced the demands of war time users, including the United States Government. Mr. Trautinanu began the operation of this company originally, in 1914, in Manhattan Borough, and removed the concern to its present Bronx location in 1919, where manufacturing proceeds in a commodious three story building containing about 10,000 square feet of floor space, and about a score of skilled workmen are now employed on the premises, the executive offices of the corporation being located at No. 14 West Twenty third Street, New York City.

Otto Carl Trautmann married, at Berlin, Germany, in 1906, Ella Edda Claassen, daughter of Herrman Claassen, president of the Silesia Mining Corporation, and Minna (Doerch) Claassen. Two children, Etta Ella, and Harry Otto, were born to this union, but both having died in infancy, Mr. and Mrs. Trautmann adopted from the Children's Society of New York City, a daughter, Ruth, born on March 10, 1915. The family reside at Ardsley, New York State, and are members of the German Lutheran church.

From:
The Bronx and its people
A History 1609-1927
Board of Editors: James L. Wells,
Louis F. Haffen
Josiah A. Briggs.
Historian: Benedict Fitspatrick
Publisher: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc.
New York 1927


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