Biography of Constantin Wagner
Bronx County, NY Biographies





CONSTANTIN WAGNER - Among those residents of The Bronx who have rendered and are still rendering valuable service to their fellowmen is Constantin Wagner, who has devoted his active career to the work of devising and manufacturing glass testing instruments for determining the chemical composition of various foods, such as milk and butter. He has invented and is the sole owner and manufacturer of a number of glass testing instruments which are produced in the Wagner Glass Works, located at No. 697 East One Hundred and Thirty second Street, The Bronx, where his laboratories also are located. Mr. Wagner has received several medals for his contributions to science in the field of the analysis and testing of food, and in his laboratories he is still continuing the work to which his life has been devoted.

Constantin Wagner was born in Frauenwald, Thuringen, Germany, November 3, 1868, son of August Wagner, who was born in Frauenwald, in 1841, and died in 1890, and who for many years was superintendent of a porcelain factory in his native town, and of Augusta (Spindler) Wagner, also a native of Frauenwald. He attended the public schools of his native town, and later became a student in an agricultural college in Berlin. When he was in his eighteenth year he came to this country, arriving in September, 1887, and settled in New York City. His first home in this city was on William Street, and there he began the chemical experimental work which he has loved throughout his life and to which he has made so valuable a contribution. He began experimenting in the effort to devise suitable glass instruments for use in testing food products, working for the sole purpose of aiding those engaged in making laboratory tests for the purpose of determining the varying proportions of fats, acids, and other elements contained in milk, butter, and other food products. He worked at this particular problem for the love of the work and without thought of personal gain, being absorbed in his problem and desiring greatly to contribute his share to human progress along these scientific lines. As time passed he became an authority on the subject of food analysis, and one of the leading chemical experts in the country. In his search for a means of producing better instruments for use in chemical laboratory tests he succeeded in devising a number of glass testing instruments which are now used in government laboratories and in private laboratories throughout the world. Of these he is patentee, owner, and sole manufacturer, and in his manufactory at No. 697 East One Hundred and Thirty second Street, The Bronx, built in 1902, he is producing instruments which go to all parts of the world, wherever scientific tests are made.

The Wagner Glass Works are known to laboratory experts everywhere, and during the years which have passed since the factory and laboratories were built, Mr. Wagner has been the means of contributing much to the accuracy and ease with which scientific tests can be made. A modest man, working for the love of science and of humanity, he has found in the production of his glass instruments a source of large financial profit, but this phase of his work was no part of his aim in the beginning and still remains secondary to his intense desire to serve his day and generation by contributing to the development of the science of proper and accurate food analysis His glass testing instruments have received several medal awards at national and international expositions as acknowledgement of his contribution to the science of chemical food testing, but he has never sought publicity for himself, preferring that his skillfully devised and carefully produced testing instruments should represent him in the special field in which they serve. In addition to bis responsibilities as a scientific laboratory expert and as a manufacturer, Mr. Wagner is also interested in the development of the financial institutions of The Bronx, and is a member of the board of directors of The Bronx County Trust Company and also of the North Side Savings Bank.

Constantin Wagner was married, in New York City, February 10, 1897, to Dorothy Bernhardt, daughter of William Bernhardt, who was born in Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany, and of Mary Bernhardt, who was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Wagner are the parents of one son, Constantin Wagner, Jr., who was born April 10, 1898, and who is associated with his father in the Wagner Glass Works.

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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