Hugo Junkers was distinguished by his extraordinary engineering talent. Both aircraft construction and the technology of heating and hot-water boilers received innovative impulses from him. After graduating from high school, he worked in the Rheydt machine tool company, then studied at the TH Berlin and TH Karlsruhe. In Berlin, his interest was directed to thermodynamic problems of combustion engines.
In 1888, Junkers founded an experimental station for gas engines in order to design a suitable prime mover for electric power generation. He invented the calorimeter in 1893 and patented it. From 1897 to 1912, he worked at the TH Aachen as head of the newly founded machine laboratory. From 1909, he developed a completely new principle of wing design and an airscrew.
In 1914 he was commissioned to design a metal aircraft, which took off on its maiden flight in 1915. The experiences of the First World War made him a pacifist, and he turned exclusively to the development and construction of commercial aircraft.