* 1899, Heimsheim/Württemberg

† 1982, Darmstadt


Carl Theodor Kautter began studying chemistry at the Technical University of Stuttgart during the First World War, which he completed in 1922 with a doctorate in engineering. This was followed by a period as an assistant to Professor Gutbier at the University of Jena. In 1924 he moved abroad for several years, where he was employed in the Chilean saltpeter industry and in Mexico at the Gildemeister company in apparatus engineering. Of particular importance were the experiences he gained in the petrochemical industry from 1929 onwards in the construction of plants for the production of hydrogen from natural gas in the USA.

In 1934, Carl Theodor Kautter met Dr. Otto Röhm in New York, who was looking for a chemist with technological experience to develop the economic synthesis of methacrylates. Convinced of Kautter's abilities, Otto Röhm brought him to Darmstadt and hired him as plant manager in 1935. In close cooperation, Kautter and Röhm modernized and rationalized the production of the raw materials for PLEXIGLAS®.

Carl Theodor Kautter also improved the polymerization process and was largely responsible for the further development of chemical-technological processes, for which the main plant in Darmstadt was expanded and new plants were built in Mittenwalde near Berlin and in Worms.

After Otto Röhm's death in 1939, Kautter became first deputy and then full managing director of Röhm & Haas. His major achievements include the reconstruction of the destroyed main plant in Darmstadt—now the Evonik site in Darmstadt—and the construction of the first large-scale plant for the production of hydrogen cyanide using the Andrussow process. When he retired in 1965, he had had a significant influence on the development of the company.

Carl Theodor Kautter, who had been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Darmstadt since 1955, appeared as an inventor and co-inventor in numerous patents and had made a name for himself through many publications and as a member of several national and international institutions. For his achievements, he was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.