Saturday 8 November 2014

Men of Yore: Max Himmelheber

This is another in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.

Max Himmelheber (source)

Max Himmelheber (Born April 24, 1904 in Karlsruhe-Baiersbronn, Died December 17, 2000) was a German inventor and entrepreneur.

Himmelheber studied electrical engineering. He graduated as Diplom-Ingenieur.

Himmelheber invented the particle board in 1932 and received over 70 patents for related products. Before the invention of chipboard only about 40 percent of the felled wood mass were used.  Himmelheber was the parental carpentry on this issue and since then worked on a way to make usable also the wood chips.  He founded a company to manufacture Particleboard in Baiersbronn, Germany, and then went on to establish more factories all over the world. In total Himmelheber established about 80 companies.

During the World War Two he was employed as a fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe.  While on a mission flying over England he was shot down and taken prisoner. In 1943 he was returned to Germany as a result of a prisoner exchange.

After the war In 1971 Max Himmelheber founded and co-editor Crossroads Journal (A Quarterly Journal for Sceptical Thought) along with Ernst Junger.
Himmelheber also tried to contribute to improvements in freight transport on rail.

He engaged also in the Federation of German Scouts and became "Federal Commissioner for Guide Education".

The Max-Himmelheber Street in Baiersbronn is named after him.
(Apologies for the somewhat clumsy translation.  I couldn't find a decent biography available in English and so had to modify the wikipedia one somewhat.)
Having the ability to convert what is perceived as a waste product into a useful product is a good ability to have.  It means that your mind is above the level of fixed forms and looks down on them rather than idolizing or being dominated by them.  Different people percieve fixed forms in different ways, but they are all basically the same thing i.e. something that is fixed and un-changing.  Below are some different disciplines that people perceieve fixed-forms in:
Objects (for psychologists)
Gods (for theologians)
Angels (for monotheists)
platonic-ideals (for Platonists)
The important thing is that Max Himmelheber's outlook was not dominted by any pre-conconcieved ideas or fixed-forms (or whatever phrase you feel comfortable with), he saw the world as he wanted to see it, and then shaped it accordingly.  If his mindset was dominated by fixed-forms then he would have simply continued seeing woodchips as 'waste product' rather than seeing it how he wanted to see it (as material that could be glued together to make chipboard).


  1. Hi, found my way here via isegoria.

    How about a man-o-war sub series?
    I got the perfect three nominees:

    Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard
    John Blashford-Snell
    & Adrian Carton de Wiart

  2. I've had a cursory glance at them and they seem like a bunch of good eggs. Hesketh-Pritchard in particular looks interesting. It always surprises me the types of men that are animal rights enthusiasts. They're far from the stereotypical left-wing sandel-wearers. Theodore Roosevelt was a conservationist, but I don't think he'd approve of the typical modern day, metrosexual animal rights enthusiast.

    Thanks for plonking their names onto the comments box. You should see them appear in the next couple of weeks.