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Experiencing history first-hand


Siemens has played an impressive role in shaping the technological evolution of Germany, Europe and the whole world. Come join us on a trip through Siemens history. Here are nine chapters of our exciting, ever-changing evolution as a company. Explore the innovative technologies that made Siemens the company it is today. Get to know the people who made our history. Our country profiles show that Siemens has always been an international firm. The site is rounded out with current History News and an overview of our work at the Siemens Historical Institute.

History News

Only those who are aware of their own background and development, their key milestones and special characteristics, can manage the present and shape the future successfully.

Courage and ingenuity – Siemens' success story begins with the pointer telegraph

A small rectangular box weighing about ten kilos marked the start of an impressive success story in the mid-19th century. With the construction of his pointer telegraph, Werner von Siemens ushered in a new era of electric telegraphy – and thus in 1847 established the Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske’s later global renown. From the very beginning, pioneering technologies and the business models developed from them have been Siemens’ foundation – innovations that, by their very nature, do not simply offer new ideas but actually set new market standards – right through to the present day.

On the road with electric power

From the trolleybus to the eHighway. Since 2014, Siemens has been building routes for trucks that draw their power from overhead contact wire. However, it all started more than 130 years ago – with a retrofitted horse-drawn carriage. This debut marked the birth of the trolleybus and laid the foundation for a new type of motorized transportation.

Hosting the world. Siemens at the Hannover Messe, 1947–2018

Presenting to the world: Siemens will once again show off innovative products and solutions at the 2018 Hannover Messe. Join us on an exciting trip back across seven decades of trade show history, and see how the face of Siemens has changed – from the early days to today.

Departure to South Africa.

More than one hundred and twenty years ago, on April 6, 1895, Siemens founded its first company in South Africa. The first major order is the expansion of Johannesburg's power supply and the neighboring goldmines – the beginning of a prosperous development.

Go West – Siemens transfers the company headquarters

At the end of March 1949, in light of the uncertain political situation in postwar Berlin, the Siemens management decided to transfer the headquarters of Siemens & Halske AG to Munich and those of Siemens-Schuckertwerke AG to Erlangen as of April 1. Berlin remained the second headquarters location of both companies. This decision was preceded by several years of intense disagreement, when those against moving reasoned that Siemens could never regain its former status without Berlin.

Innovations that make a difference – from the pointer telegraph to MindSphere

Pioneering technologies and business models built on them have been an integral part of Siemens’ DNA for 170 years – innovations that stand out because they don’t stop with the invention itself, but become established in the market as new products, solutions or services. These are innovations that shape the world because they concentrate on key technologies that make a significant contribution to economic and social progress.

London calling

Even before Werner von Siemens founded "Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske" in Berlin in 1847, he began marketing his inventions in the United Kingdom. As early as 1843, he sent his brother Wilhelm (officially William as of 1859) to London with instructions to patent an electrolytic method of gold and silver plating he had patented in Prussia. One year later, in 1844, Wilhelm settled permanently in London as a "civil engineer" and opened a sales agency for Siemens & Halske on March 16, 1850.

Marie Busch – a pioneer follows her own path

A hundred years ago, the idea of a woman occupying a management post was simply inconceivable – which makes the career of Marie Busch all the more remarkable. She began her professional life at a predecessor company of Siemens Healthineers at the end of World War I and retired as a member of the management board over 40 years later.

Training for technical assistants – a new occupation for women

In 1938, a growing shortage of skilled technicians and junior technical employees was becoming noticeable within German industry, according to statistics from the Association of German Engineers (VDI). This already difficult situation was then further exacerbated by World War II. Siemens was the first electrical engineering company in Germany to react by systematically training women for positions as technical assistants as early as 1939. The newly created qualification as electrical assistant was one for which Siemens was to offer vocational training for decades.

Carl Friedrich von Siemens and the establishment of the German Electrical Manufacturers’ Association

One hundred years ago, on March 5, 1918, the Zentralverband der deutschen elektrotechnischen Industrie (German Electrical Manufacturers’ Association, ZVEI) was established in Berlin. Now called the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, the ZVEI has represented the German electrical industry’s interests in the areas of business and technology policy ever since. But what does this development have to do with Siemens? To find out, it’s necessary to take a look at the role of Carl Friedrich von Siemens, the chairman of the Siemens companies in the early twentieth century – something that’s well worth doing.

The world’s longest car race awakens Siemens’ interest

February 12, 1908, was the starting date for "the greatest auto race" – a spectacular transcontinental dash from New York to Paris. The course, some 22,000 kilometers long (about 13,700 miles) carried the contestants across three continents, mountain ranges, and mile after mile of muddy tracks, not to mention rivers and deserts.

The Siemens Annual Shareholders' Meeting – a visual history

It's that time of year again: the Annual Shareholders' Meeting of Siemens AG will take place on January 31, 2018. What started after World War II in Frankfurt am Main with about 50 people is today an event for thousands of guests. In the Munich Olympiahalle, members of the Supervisory Board and the Management Board will be answering the questions of their shareholders. Join us on an exciting journey through the history of this annual event.

The Siemens airship takes off

Biesdorf, January 1911: For the first time in history an airship constructed by Siemens takes off. Siemens and airships? Until the 1920s, Siemens’ activities extended beyond electrical engineering – with its product portfolio encompassing automobiles, aircraft engines and airplanes. Nevertheless, the company’s construction and testing of airships from 1907 to 1912 was remarkable even by Siemens’ standards. Siemens-Schuckertwerke built its own and special airship hangar in Biesdorf near Berlin expressly for this purpose.

The Siemens architect – Hans Hertlein, creator of lasting values

The name Siemens is not only associated with major technological feats in the fields of electrification, automation, and digitalization, but also with impressive factory buildings, prestigious administrative buildings, and attractive employee housing complexes. These buildings are still in use and continue to contribute to the public’s awareness and perception of the company today. One man in particular is responsible for these masterly architectural achievements: Hans Hertlein.

History Features

Siemens Historical Institute

The Siemens Historical Institute has the task of documenting the diverse history of our technology company, founded in Berlin in 1847, as well as researching that history and making it accessible to a broad target audience. We work with well-known partners from academia and practical research to present the company’s economic, technical, and social development.  By bridging the gap between the past, the present and the future we help heightening the company’s profile.

The only way to master the present and shape the future is to know one’s own past.


Our fields of activity

Our tasks and our goals

We work with well-known partners from academia and in practical research to present the company’s economic, technical and social development, ­portraying it consistently with the highest scholarly standards. Our work therefore concentrates on three general areas of activity.