Biography of H. William Dopp


Dopp, H. William, Buffalo, born near Magdeburg, Prussia, April 29, 1824, was the eldest of a large family, his father and ancestors for generations having been the "cloister" and village smiths or metal workers. When fifteen he went to Magdeburg to learn the machinist's trade; later he went to Berlin, where he perfected himself in his trade and also supplemented his education by advanced studies in mathematics and the sciences, and where he was drawn into the political disturbances which culminated in the revolt of 1848. He took a part in that historic event sufficiently prominent to draw upon him the attention of the authorities, and early in 1849 successfully passed, with his wife, the military lines and came to Milwaukee, Wis., but in 1850 came to Buffalo. He soon went to Cattaraugus county, N. Y., where he secured a job as blacksmith's helper and then as blacksmith during the day and repaired watches and jewelry by night. Soon, with wife and child, he returned to Buffalo, where he secured employment as machinist. The panic of 1857 found him in the position of foreman of.the machine shops of the Buffalo Steam Engine Works. That concern failing, he began business for himself, and finally from 1878 devoted his energies to the special line of work in which the firm of H. William Dopp & Son is engaged. On February 15, 1888, he died. He was recognized as a master workman and a clear and precise thinker. Many elegant designs in fancy toilet dies attest to his skill as an engraver, while the records of the Patent Office bear witness to the versatility and fecundity of his ever active mind. It is believed that he was the original inventor of the method of balancing the engine slide valve by a relief plate; he certainly was a pioneer in petroleum vapor burners and the methods of sealing bonded cars and warehouses. His seamless steam jacketed kettle, remelting crotcher, steam press, etc , are well known. These are but few of his nearly fifty patented inventions, while his unpatented inventions outnumber the patented ones probably four to one. Mr. Dopp married Amelia F. Henicker, a native of Leipsic, and the daughter of one of Napoleon's Russian army veterans. She survives him, as do also five of their six children, viz.: Mrs. Michael J. Stark, William H. Dopp, Mrs. George H. P. Nesen, Mrs. Henry B. Sweitzer and Emma A. S. Dopp, all natives and residents of Buffalo. William H. Dopp was born December 14, 1853, was graduated from the Buffalo High School in 1871 and from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor as A. B. in 1876, and at the latter institution also took special courses in chemistry and mechanical engineering. He taught a private school in Detroit one year, lectured and practiced analytical chemistry in Buffalo two winters, studied the beet sugar industry in Germany for a time, and later was with Rudolph Eickermeyer, a mechanical and electrical engineer, of Yonkers. Returning to Buffalo in 1884 he entered his father's establishment in 1885, and in July, 1886, became a member of the firm of H. William Dopp & Son, of which he hasbeen manager since 1SSS, the name remaining unchanged. Mr. Dopp is a life member of the Library Association, a member of several scientific societies and was vice president of the Buffalo Electrical Society. In 1884 he married Theresa B., daughter of Carl Augustus Meyer, and has three sons and three daughters.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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