Adolf Pinner ( Aug. 31, 1842- May 21, 1909)

(The Father of the Mother of the Mother of Doron Zeilberger.)

First written: ca. 1995.

Last Update: Aug. 9, 2011 (Thanks to Karola Nick, for transcribing and allowing me to post Adolf Pinner's will).

Adolf Pinner (see his portrait), was born on Aug. 31, 1842, (birth certificate, and transciption [issued Sept. 9, 1871] ) in Wronke, Posen, Prussia (now Wronki, Poland), to Rabbi Levin Aron (`Leibush') Pinner and Wilhelmine Goldbarth Pinner

He earned his Dr. phil, in Chemistry in 1867 from the University of Berlin, and his Habilitation in 1871. From 1873, until his death in 1909, he was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Berlin, and also Professor of Chemistry at the thierarztl. Hochschule (Veterinary School) in Berlin. He was a member of several Emperor (Kaiser) committees, including the patent office (according to Encyclopedia Judaica (Chemistry entry, list of notable Jewish Chemists), director). In 1887 he became a member of the German Academay of Sciences "Leopoldina". He was very active in the German Chemical Society, serving as secretary for many years, under such presidents as Kekule and Hofmann. Hence his name appears on every issue of the prestigious Berichte (the official organ of the society) between 1883 and 1904. In 1904 and 1905 he served as vice president of the German Chemical Society. In 1904, under E. Buchner (1907 Chemistry Nobel) as president, and along with J. H. van't Hoff (1901 Chemistry Nobel), Th. Curtius and L. Claisen as co-vice presidents. In 1905, under J. H. van't Hoff as president, and L. Claisen, O. N. Witt and H. Caro as co-vice presidents. (see Berichte d. Deutschen Chem. Gesell. v. 37 (1904), p. 4406), and v. 38 (1905), p. 4769). According to the Jewish Encylopedia (where he has his own entry), he has received the title of ``Geheimer Regierungsrath''.

He wrote several textbooks and many professional articles, most of them published in the Berichte d. Deut. chem. Ges. He was the first to deduce the structure of Nicotine [enlarged from his 1893 article], ( see also website on Tobacco), a fact that is mentioned in the Kirk-Othmer Ency. of Chemistry. . Pinner's method is described nicely in Nicotine entry in the 11th Edition of Encylopedia Britannica (1910).

His Chemistry textbooks were the standard university textbooks used both by chemistry students and medical students in Germany of the late 19th and early 20th century.

In 1888, he wrote a delightful semi-popular book, Gesetze der Naturerscheinungen that was v. 66 in the then famous series `Das Wissen Gegenwart'. He also wrote an Essay on Chemicals in the Bible ( .doc version ). This beautiful translation from the original German to English was prepared by my second-cousin Sister Katherine Elena Wolff, NDS, another great-grandchild of Adolf Pinner.

He was also involved in the Jewish Community of Berlin. According, to the Universal Jewish Encylopedia (c. 1942), where he has an entry, he was one of the founders of the Centralverein deutscher Staatsburger judischen Glaubens, and a member of its Vorstand(executive committee) (see the lists of CV Vorstand members from 1902 , and a copy of the CV Vorstand members from 1907, reproduced from "Im Deutscher Reich, v. XIII, No. 1 (Jan. 1907), p.2.

He is listed in the "Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopadie" (DBE), published by K.G. Saur, Munich 1998 (v. 7 p. 674).

Adolf Pinner's obituary was published in the Berichte d. D. Chem. Gesellschaft v. XXXXII, 4989-5000 (1909, part 4). It contained his portrait.

A search of the Merck On Line Database of chemicals revealed six mentions .

He is responsible for the Pinner reaction and Pinner synthesis[Enlarged from Patai's dictionary of Organic Chemisty].
The Chemical Reactions website has the following:
Pinner Amidine Synthesis
Pinner Method for Ortho Esters
Pinner Triazine Synthesis


Adolf Pinner, his wife Anna Pinner, and their son Ernst-Ludwig Pinner are buried in the Berlin Jewish Cemetery.
Added Aug. 9, 2011: Karola Nick, and the Jewish Museum of Frankfurt, kindly allowed me to post here Adolf Pinner's will (first version), and Adolf Pinner's will (second version).
His father is: Rabbi Levin Aron (`Leibush') Pinner. .

His wife is: Anna Pinner ( b. Anna Moritz) (Nov. 28, 1852- Nov. 12, 1936) (Read Anna Pinner's Letter to her grand-daughter Gertrude Alexander Kuhn (kindly translated by Gertrude's daughter, Anne Howson.)

Their children are:

Elfriede Pauline Pinner Alexander (my maternal grandmother) (see http://www.math.rutgers.edu/~zeilberg/family/frieda.html) .

Katharina Pinner Wolff (see http://www.math.rutgers.edu/~zeilberg/family/katherina.html).

Ernst Ludwig Pinner: (April 2, 1885- Sept. 1, 1911), a chemist, who got his Dr. phil in 1909. He died from a mountain-climbing `accident'. (He was a guide of a mountain-climbing group. When one of the members of the group, that he was in charge of, had a fatal accident, he felt personally responsible, and jumped off the cliff.) He published (at least) one article: `Ueber 2-Phenyl-4-6-dioxy-pyrimidin, Berichte d. D. Chem. Gessell. v. 41 (1908), 3517-3519.

Wilhelm Pinner: He was born in Berlin on April 7, 1888. He was both a Veterinary Doctor and a Humans' doctor and served in World War I as an army doctor. He was killed on Jan. 4, 1915. His military affiliation was: San. Kp. 1/Ga. Res. Korps Unterarzt. [source: `Die Judischen geffallenen des Deutschern Heeres, ..., 1914-1918, Ein Gedenkbuch, 1932', a list of the German Jewish soldiers who were killed in WW I].


Added Dec. 20, 1996: Hugh Blackmer , Science Librarian of Washington and Lee University, with the kind permission of his director, very kindly made me a gift (not Gift(poison) in the German sense[his great pun]) of Adolf Pinner's chemistry textbook, printed 1881, for medical and pharmacy students. This book was part of the Howe collection that you can read about in Blackmer's fascinating home page. Just as importantly, I got to visit a very fascinating person! Perhaps one day I will get to meet him in person.
Added Sept. 14, 2004: Matthieu LeGoic, from the archives of the Universite de Haute Alsace, has kindly pointed out my attention to a ca. 1883 photo of Adolf Pinner .
Previous Updates of this webpage: Feb. 17, 2011: (to put a link to Adolf's Pinner's birth certificate (transciption) (thanks to Karola Nick!) ; Aug. 1, 2009 (To put a link to the Pinner family grave, thanks to Gil Zeilberger).

Dec. 27, 1999;
Sept. 14, 2004 (To add a link to an 1883 photo of Adolf Pinner at the Mulhouse archives (see below)) . Aug. 4, 2005. (To add a link to Kathy Wolff's translation of Adolf's Pinner Essay on Chemicals in the Bible ) April 17, 2007 (To announce the completion of Kathy Wolff's wonderful translation of Adolf's Laws of Nature Book). July 27, 2009 (to put links to Adolf Pinner's PhD thesis, and Ernst-Ludwig Pinner's PhD thesis).


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