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Cluster Report Photonics in the Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg

  • Text
  • Imaging
  • Photonics
  • Berlin
  • Optical
  • Laser
  • Technologies
  • Optics
  • Microsystems
  • Components
  • Brandenburg

3 History History of

3 History History of optical technologies in Berlin-Brandenburg Frank Lerch The optical technology and the scientific apparatus engineering in Berlin-Brandenburg have a history spanning more than 200 years, characterized by turbulent development and tremendous transformations. Pintsch neon lamps © Julius Pintsch A.G., catalog no. 702 During the late 19th century until WWII, Rathenow and the Berlin region had become European centers for optics and precision mechanics where science and business organizations were closely integrated (Zaun 2002). Numerous leading German optics companies – many of which no longer exist today – like Emil Busch and C.P. Goerz – were located in and around Berlin. Besides areas traditionally viewed as optics fields, like microscope manufacture (e.g., Schieck, Hartnack, Messter, Steindorff) and camera manufacture (e.g., Goertz, later ZeissIKON, Foth, Sida), the innovation system similar to modern clusters also included companies in related and adjacent industries like the glassworks producers in Weisswasser, electrical companies (e.g., Siemens & Halske, AEG, Telefunken), fine mechanics companies (e.g., R. Fuess, Askania), and machinery construction companies specializing in optics (e.g., Oscar Ahlberndt factory for special machines), niche providers for railroad and waterway lighting and sig-naling technology (e.g., Pintsch), and companies in the lighting industry (e.g. Ehrlich & Graetz, Auer society, later Osram). At the same time, a rather unique science environment developed in Berlin, which not only was able to produce outstanding basic scientific research results, but also to make these results available to (local) industry. Among these were the Berlin University, the Prussian Academy of Sciences, the Polytechnic University, the Physical-Technical Imperial Institute (PTR), and the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institutes. These activities were supported by panels and associations founded and located in Berlin (e.g., German Society of Optics and Fine Mechanics, German Physical Society). Collectively, they formed the technological, institutional, and (inter-) organizational foundation for the development of an early optics industrial district in Berlin-Brandenburg. The development of the Berlin-Brandenburg optics industry until 1945 The development of the optics industry in Berlin-Brandenburg has its origin in Rathenow; it is closely connected to the achievements of the Duncker family. The preacher Johann Heinrich August Duncker, who was also educated in optics and in the polishing of glass, patented a universal polishing machine in 1801. In the same year, the Optische Industrieanstalt opened in the vicarage in Rathenow. His first workers, disabled soldiers and orphans, produced evenly polished glasses for magnifying glasses, microscopes and spectacles in the attic. The company continuously grew and in 1820 Duncker’s son, Eduard Duncker, became his successor. The range of products was broadened. Because the company expanded further, under simultaneous lack of space, Duncker needed to lend machines to his workers who produced optics components in their homes. Thus, lots of small “washkitchen companies” arose. In 1845 Emil Busch, Duncker’s nephew, became head of the company. He expanded the medium sized firm into a large industrial company. In 1846, for example, he introduced a steam engine in production. Many new products were devolped and introduced into the market. Finally, in 1872 the company became a publicly traded company. Johann Heinrich August von Duncker, Emil Busch, the Emil Busch AG in the background © Kulturzentrum Rathenow/Optikindustriemuseum The increased (local) demand for optical components resulted in the foundation of a number of other optics companies in Rathenow. By 1896, 163 optics firms were located in the already back then well known „City of Optics“. Expansion in the Rathenow optics companies continued until WW I and the subsequent world economic crisis. Despite the downturn, still more than 200 optics 20

3 History firms were registered in town in 1930. During WW II, the two large optics companies in Rathenow, Emil Busch and Nitsche & Günther, almost exclusively produced military optics. At the end of WW II, large parts of the optics industry in Rathenow were destroyed and what was left was dismantled and shipped away as reparation. During the second half of the 19th century, a flourishing optics and fine mechanics industry developed in Berlin, partially driven by the presence of scientific institutions like the Berlin University, the Charité, or the Polytechnic University, and by the industrialization of Berlin, as well as the generally positive economic climate during the “Gründerzeit” (early 1870s). Local and (inter-)national scientific institutions fuelled the demand for optical and scientific instruments. For example, microscopes were needed for the scientific endeavors into ever smaller scales in Biology, Medicine, Chemistry, Geology, and other disciplines. Askania poster from 1929 © Askania-Werke AG, catalog no. 105 In order to further advance into macroscopic dimensions, telescopes, transit instruments and other astronomical instruments were needed, which were usually manufactured according to scientist’s specifications. Optical and precisionmechanical companies like Askania, R. Fuess, C.P. Goerz, E. Gundlach, B. Halle, F. Schmidt & Haensch, or Steindorff supplied such instruments. The most important Berlin optics company in terms of number of opticians and precision mechanics employees was the Optische Anstalt C.P. Goerz in Berlin-Friedenau and Berlin-Zehlendorf. The company was founded in 1886 and began to produce photographic equipment for the emerging amateur photo market, lenses and special objectives for professional use. At the same time, binoculars were constructed and produced. In 1903, a special military optics division was set up, and C.P. Goerz became the largest manufacturer of military optics worldwide. At the time of the 25th anniversary in 1911, the company employed 2,500 employees and had already produced 300,000 objectives. During WW I, Goerz almost exclusively produced optical equipment for military purposes which resulted in extreme financial difficulties after the war because the Versailles Treaty was prohibiting German companies to produce military goods. The merger of Optische Anstalt C.P. Goerz (Carl Paul Goerz died in 1923) with other photo-optic companies like Ica AG, Dresden, Contessa-Nettel AG, Stuttgart, H. Ernemann, Dresden, was expedited by Zeiss Jena and in 1926 led to the creation of Zeiss-IKON AG; it meant the survival of the company. However, the production portfolio of Goerz was adapted dramatically in favor of Zeiss in Jena, which held 53% of the Zeiss- IKON shares. Henceforth, Goertz no longer produced its own objectives and optical systems. Rather, cameras and lighting components for projectors and security systems and locks were produced in the former Goerz plants in Berlin. During the last days of WW II, the Goerzwerk in Berlin-Zehlendorf was largely destroyed, while the facilities in Friedenau survived the war unharmed. After the ceasefire agreement, dismantlement in both Berlin plants began and all equipment was removed as part of reparations. Another example of a highly innovative industry which rapidly transferred scientific results into marketable products and vastly expanded at the turn of the 19th/20th century is the lighting industry. During the 19th century, gas light was widely used. In 1885, the Austrian Carl Auer von Welsbach invented and patented the incandescent mantle, and the use of new materials made the Auer light brighter and much more efficient compared to other light sources. In 1892, the „Deutsche Gasglühlichtge-sellschaft“ (Degea, later Auer-Gesellschaft) was founded in Berlin, and the production of lighting equipment began in the Auer-Hof in Berlin- Friedrichshain. In 1895, the Auer light was introduced as street lighting in Berlin and a year later it was introduced in the Prussian Railway. However, gas light could cause explosions, intoxication and high temperatures in its vicinity. At the end of the 19th century, therefore, scientists and technicians pursued the aim to produce electric light. In 1880, the inventor Thomas Alva Edison patented the carbon filament lamp. In Germany, the Edison patent was licensed by the “Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft” (DEG, later Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft, AEG), located in Berlin. Since 1883/84, its production plant was located in Schlegelstrasse in Berlin-Mitte where production of carbon filament lamps began. Soon the capacities reached their limits and production was moved to Ackerstrasse in Berlin-Wedding where AEG also manufactured the recently invented Nernst lamp (patented in 1897). At Auer, lighting technology was also developed further. In 1898, a metal filament lamp was patented by Auer, and in 1901 Auer developed and patented the Os lamp with a filament made of osmium. In 1906, he registered the brand name Osram, which derives from the two filament materials Osmium and Wolfram (tungsten). Siemens & Halske also developed and produced lamps in Berlin. Between 1883 and 1901, Siemens & Halske erected a lamp production facility in Helmholtzstrasse (later Oram-Werk S). Advertisement for the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft AEG, Berlin (1888) © DHM, Berlin/Sammlung Sachs The continuous improvement of lamp technology was possible only because of strong involvement of these companies in research and development and the close interaction of scientists, technicians and process engineers. The sharp increase in incandescent lamp production capacities in Berlin and the million-fold production of light bulbs led to the title “City of Light” for Berlin. After the end of WW I, the Deutsche Gasglühlicht AG (Auer), Siemens & Halske and AEG merged their lamp production in Berlin in 1919 and founded the Osram Werke GmbH KG, Berlin. During the 1920s and 1930s, several foreign sales subsidiaries were founded and numerous new products invented in 21

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