A German engineer, born July 11,1826 at Düsseldorf, Grashof left school at the age of 15 to work as a mechanic, and then attended trade school in Hage and secondary school in Düsseldorf. From 1844 until 1847 Grashof studied mathematics, physics and machine design at the Berlin Royal Technical Institute. After a voyage of nearly three years which took him as far as the Dutch Indies and Australia he continued his studies at Berlin in 1852.
Grashof was one of the leaders in founding the Society of German Engineers (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure, VDI) and assumed an enormous load as author, editor, corrector and dispatcher. In 1863 Redtenbacher died and Grashof's name was so esteemed that the Technical University of Karlsruhe appointed him to be successor as superintendent of the engineering school. He also served as professor of applied mechanics and mechanical engineering and his lectures included strength of materials, hydraulics and theory of heat, in addition to general engineering.
After Grashof's death, October 26,1893 at Karlsruhe the Society of German Engineers honored his memory by the Institution of the Grashof Commemorative Medal as the highest distinction that the society could bestow for merit in the engineering skills.