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On the 125th anniversary of his death: Werner von Siemens

Werner von Siemens, 1872

Werner von Siemens, 1872

Technology pioneer and co-founder of the Patent Office

His name stands for the foundation of electrical engineering, the birth of a global company and the beginning of the German patent system: Werner von Siemens. 200 years ago - on December 13,1816 - the inventor and entrepreneur was born in Lenthe near Hanover. A 125 years ago, he died at the age of 75 in Berlin on December 6,1892.

Historic picture

The world´s first electric locomotive is shown at the Berlin Gewerbeausstellung 1879

One of the world's largest electrical engineering companies grew out of the "Telegraphenbau-Anstalt Siemens & Halske", which he founded in 1847 as a lieutenant of the Prussian army. The company quickly made a name for itself with technical milestones: the galvanic process for gilding and silvering, the pointer telegraph, the first transatlantic telegraph line, the development of the electric generator or the pdf-Datei first electric tram (1,32 MB) are just a few examples.

As an entrepreneur, Werner von Siemens was also progressive and introduced profit-sharing, a pension fund and the then moderate 54-hour working week. As chairman of the German Patent Association in 1877, he played a major role in the introduction of the Imperial Patent Act and the founding of the Imperial Patent Office, the predecessor of the DPMA.


A patent establishes the music market

When the music turned into a disc: 130 years ago, on November 8,1887, Emil Berliner received a pdf-Datei patent for his grammophone. Together with the “Schallplatte” (record) he also developed, Berlin's invention made the musical experience conservable, independent of the concert hall and suitable for mass production.

Thomas Edison had already filed a patent application for his phonograph ten years earlier and Charles Cros had also outlined his "paléophone" in Paris. But both inventions used a cylinder as a sound carrier, which was rather impractical and expensive to produce in comparison to Berliner's disc. This is why the space-saving, easily reproducible and longer playing record became established on the market after the turn of the century and was finally produced worldwide in enormous quantities.

A patent establishes the music market

When the music turned into a disc: 130 years ago, on November 8,1887, Emil Berliner received a pdf-Datei patent for his grammophone. Together with the “Schallplatte” (record) he also developed, Berlin's invention made the musical experience conservable, independent of the concert hall and suitable for mass production.

Thomas Edison had already filed a patent application for his phonograph ten years earlier and Charles Cros had also outlined his "paléophone" in Paris. But both inventions used a cylinder as a sound carrier, which was rather impractical and expensive to produce in comparison to Berliner's disc. This is why the space-saving, easily reproducible and longer playing record became established on the market after the turn of the century and was finally produced worldwide in enormous quantities.

Gramophone

Emil Berliner (1851-1929) came from Hannover and emigrated to the USA in 1870. His U. S. patent from 1887 included a new recording process in a helical sound groove with V-shaped side-writing (instead of Edison's depth writing). Later he continued to improve the gramophone and especially the record by replacing the initially used glass panes with zinc, then hard rubber and finally shellac until it was ready for the mass market.

He marketed his inventions with entrepreneurial skill and founded the first record companies, including (with his brother Joseph) the Deutsche Grammophon-Gesellschaft. The shellac records were played at 78 revolutions per minute at that time; only with the production from vinyl since the 1950s the 33 ("LP") and 45 ("single") revolutions per minute became standard, which are still in use today.

For almost 100 years the record remained the standard sound reproduction technique for everyone. In recent years, vinyl in the shadow of digitalisation has also regained increasing popularity among friends of the analogue music experience.

(Note: Emil Berliner changed his first name to "Emile" after accepting American citizenship.)


500 years of Luther's theses: The patented little reformer

Luther Playmobil Figur

500 years of Luther's theses: The patented little reformer
The hammer blow: On 31.10.1517 Martin Luther is said to have nailed 95 theses on the need for reform of the church to the doors of the Wittenberg castle church. 500 years later, this prelude to the Reformation, which changed the world, is celebrated with a national holiday and an anniversary year with many events.

Luther's blows of the hammer had far-reaching consequences - not only on church and religion, but also on politics, culture and society. The reformer became a key figure in German history, not least because of his Bible translation, as it formed the basis for a unified German written language and thus created identity.

Luther, the head of the Reformation, received a completely new face on the occasion of the anniversary, namely that of a popular toy figure. The Nuremberg Tourist Office and the Protestant Church ordered a Luther figure from a well-known toy manufacturer as an advertising ambassador for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Luther is not the first historical figure to be produced by the toy manufacturer as a special series, composed of parts of existing product lines; Dürer and Goethe already exist. But no figure sold himself as often as the unyielding theologian, although the figure is not sold regularly in the toy trade. The first edition of the 7.5 centimetre tall figure with its black gown, bible and quill was quickly sold out and has been reordered again and again ever since.
In the meantime, Luther has become the most successful figure of the manufacturer: more than one million units have been produced.

The movable plastic figures are based on a patent applied for at the DPMA in 1972 ( pdf-Datei patent specification no. 2205525). Its inventor is Hans Beck, at that time an employee of the plastics company Geobra Brandstätter in Zirndorf, Franconia. The toy was originally to be called "Klicky"; it was not until 1975 that the manufacturer registered the now world-famous brand name at the DPMA. More than two billion of these figures are said to have been produced in the meantime.


60 years ago: The "Atomic egg" and the start of neutron Research in Germany

The "Atom-Ei" at Garching, around 1958

The "Atom-Ei" at Garching, around 1958 (Picture: Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Zentrum)

60 years ago, on 31 October 1957, the "Atom-Ei" (atomic egg) in Garching in the north of Munich began its operation. The Research Reactor Munich (the official name of the "ice") was the first in Germany. Its nickname is derived from the aluminium-clad dome, which the architect Gerhard Weber had arched 30 metres above the reactor.

As the first nuclear power plant in Germany, the "Atom-Ei" was not entirely uncontroversial at first, especially among the residents. But it quickly became a symbol of scientific research and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

In the "Atom-Ei", scientists laid the foundation for a world-leading position in neutron research. Many groundbreaking research in physics, chemistry and biology started here. Around the "egg", natural science and technology departments of the Technical University of Munich, other institutes and companies gradually settled. With around 12,000 students, the Garching research campus is one of the largest centres for science and teaching in Germany today.

The Research Reactor Munich was a swimming pool reactor with a thermal output of up to 4 MW. On 28 July 2000 at 10.30 a. m. the atomic egg was switched off because it no longer met the scientific requirements. Today it is listed as a historical monument and is Garching's emblem and landmark.

Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (1911-2000), head of the chair for technical physics at the Technical University of Munich, was the initiator and first scientific director of the research reactor. Maier-Leibnitz, after whom the Research Reactor Munich II was named, which replaced the "Atom-Ei" in 2005, headed the institution until 1972. The internationally renowned scientist held several patents at the DPMA, for example his "Process for regulating the reactivity of a reactor" (DE000001020417B), which can be viewed online with the DPMA research instruments.

Search DPMA database


When the sonic wall fell

Historic photo Bell X-1

Bell X-1

70 years ago, a plane broke the sound barrier for the first time: US pilot Chuck Yeager flew faster than sound on 14 October 1947 with his Bell X-1.
1,127 kilometres per hour (Mach 1.06) the X-1 reached at the altitude of 13,000 metres during its test flight over the Mojave Desert in California. The small rocket plane had previously been taken into the air in the bomb bay of a Boeing B-29 bomber and released in 7,000 meters. The shape of the fuselage was based on a machine gun projectile of calibre 0.50, which had proven to be stable in its trajectory at extreme speeds.

The record pilot, Air Force Captain Charles E."Chuck" Yeager, named the Bell X-1 after his wife "Glamourous Gennis". Yeager, born in 1923, had previously fought as a pilot during World War II and broke several other aviation records as a test pilot. He was later promoted to general and is still one of the most famous pilots in the USA. His "Glamourous Gennis" is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

The X-1 was equipped with an XLR-11 rocket engine with four chambers and was powered by liquid oxygen and a mixture of alcohol and water. It outperformed the available jet engines, even though the manufacturer Bell Aircraft Corp. already built jet aircrafts and held various patents in this field, which can still be studied in DEPATISnet. The extensive databases of the DPMA enable not only the search for current intellectual property rights but also the search for such historical patents. For example, the US patent pdf-Datei "Jet power unit mounting", which Bell applied for in 1946, can be found in DEPATISnet.


40 years ago: European Patent Convention enters into force

European flags in front of EPO

European Patent Office in Munich

A milestone in the history of IP protection in Europe: 40 years ago, on 7 October 1977, the European Patent Convention (EPC) came into force in Germany and six other countries.
Four years earlier, 16 European countries had signed the Patent Convention at a conference in Munich after almost twenty years of preparation. The German Patent Office and in particular its then President, Dr. Kurt Haertel, played a major role in the preparatory work.

The Convention established the European Patent Organisation (EPO) and the European Patent Office, which established its headquarters in Munich in the immediate vicinity of the DPMA. The EPO now has 38 signatory states, including non-EU members.

Since the entry into force of the EPC, applicants have the possibility to file a patent application in German, English or French with the EPO for protection in several contracting states to be individually designated. However, a patent granted by the EPO then does not apply uniformly to the designated contracting states, but splits into individual national patents after grant, which must be individually validated at the national offices.


Picture: www.siemens.com, Picture: www.siemens.com, Bild: iStock.com/jakkapan21, Bild: iStock.com/jakkapan21, Bild: iStock.com/jakkapan21, Playmobil - geobra Brandstätter Stiftung & Co. KG, Zirndorf, Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Zentrum, NASA Photos, EPO

Last updated: 12/12/17 

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