Robert Bosch – Inventor for Life

Robert Bosch (23 September 1861 – 12 March 1942) was a German industrialist, engineer and inventor, founder of Robert Bosch GmbH.

Robert Bosch (1861-1942)

On March 12 1942, Robert Bosch passed away. Robert Bosch was a German industrialist, engineer and inventor, and founder of Robert Bosch GmbH.

Robert Bosch was born on September 23, 1861 near the city of Ulm, Germany. His father is believed to have been a well educated man and also supported the education of his children. From 1869 to 1876, Bosch attended a secondary-technical school in Ulm, and later took an apprenticeship as a precision mechanic. After completing his education, Bosch spent about 7 years working for a number of companies in Germany, the UK, and also the United States.

In 1886, Robert Bosch opened his “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering” in Stuttgart and made improvements to an unpatented magneto ignition device which was made by the engine manufacturer Deutz. This achievements provided Bosch the first business success. The device’s main purpose was to generate an electric spark to ignite the air–fuel mixture in a stationary engine. During the end of the 1890s, Bosch managed to be the first to ignite the air–fuel mixture in a stationary engine. Another invention by Bosch’s company was the first commercially viable high-voltage spark plug as part of a magneto-based ignition system. It was invented by the company’s engineer Gottlob Honold in 1902 and enhanced the development of the internal combustion engine.

Bosch’s company managed to expand in the following years and by 1913, they already operated in the United States, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The company began to modernize during the economic crisis in the 1920s and after a few years, the company became a multinational electronics group.

Next to Bosch’s business advances, he also became well known as one of the first industrialists in Germany to introduce the eight-hour work day as well as social benefits for his workers. This earned him the nickname “The Red Bosch”. Further exemplary social benefits for the employees followed, e. g. fair pay. In 1940 he handed over a hospital in Stuttgart, which he had donated, to his destiny. He further was known to donate large amounts of money earned during World War I to charity. Bosch became a member of several economic committees as a liberal businessman and devoted much of his time to support the reconciliation between Germany and France. He hoped this reconciliation would bring about lasting peace in Europe and lead to the creation of a European economic area.. Unfortunately, his peacemaking attempts came to an end with the nazi regime. The Bosch company then accepted armaments contracts and employed forced laborers during the war.

After the seizure of power, the National Socialist regime put an end to these efforts by Bosch. Soon the company also took on defence orders and employed forced laborers during the war. The Kleinmachnow satellite camp belonging to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp was located on the grounds of the Bosch subsidiary Dreilinden Maschinenbau GmbH. At the same time, however, Robert Bosch actively supported resistance against National Socialism.

Robert Bosch died in Stuttgart in 1942 from an ear infection. The Nazis seized Bosch by staging a state funeral to serve their interests. Today, the company, which bears its name, is a globally active group of companies with more than 300,000 employees and is committed to the ideals of its founder. The company does not participate in the development of weapons technology and the foreign branches also have high social standards in dealing with their employees.

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