Siemens & Halske

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Siemens & Halske
Industry Electrical engineering
Fate Merged with Siemens AG
Founded 1847
Defunct 1966
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Key people Ernst Werner von Siemens,
Johann Georg Halske, founders

Siemens & Halske AG AG (or Siemens-Halske) was a German electrical engineering company that later became part of Siemens AG.

It was founded on 12 October 1847 as Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske by Ernst Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske. The company, located in Berlin-Kreuzberg, specialised in manufacturing electrical telegraphs according to Charles Wheatstone's patent of 1837. In 1848, the company constructed one of the first European telegraph lines from Berlin to Frankfurt am Main. Siemens & Halske quickly expanded with representatives in Great Britain (Carl Wilhelm Siemens) and Russia (Carl Heinrich von Siemens) a well as own cable-manufacturing plants at Woolwich and Saint Petersburg. The company's rise was supported by Werner von Siemens' patent of the electrical generator (dynamo) in 1867.

Siemens & Halske LH8 electric generator on display at Fort Klapperkop, Pretoria

In 1881, Siemens & Halske built the Gross-Lichterfelde Tramway, the world's first electric streetcar line, in the southwestern Lichterfelde suburb of Berlin, followed by the Mödling and Hinterbrühl Tram near Vienna, the first electrical interurban tram in Austria–Hungary. 1882 saw the opening of the experimental "Elektromote" track, an early trolleybus concept in the Berlin suburb of Halensee. The rising popularity of telegraphs and electrical tramways, as well as in generators and electric motors, ensured steady growth for Siemens & Halske.

Siemens & Halske was not alone in the realm of electrical engineering. In 1887, Emil Rathenau had established Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), which became a long-time rival.

Werner von Siemens retired in 1890, while Johann Georg Halske had already left the company in 1867. Werner von Siemens' brother Karl Heinrich, together with Werner's sons Arnold and Georg Wilhelm, grew the firm and erected new Siemens & Halske premises along the banks of the western Spree river, in the Berlin suburb of Charlottenburg, in 1897. The firm's vast new site continued to grow, and from 1899 onwards it was known as Siemensstadt.

When Siemens & Halske merged parts of its activities with Schuckert & Co., Nuremberg in 1903 to become Siemens-Schuckert, Siemens & Halske AG specialized in communications engineering. During World War I, rotary engines of advanced and unusual design were produced under the Siemens-Halske brand, like the Siemens-Halske Sh.I and Sh.III. Later, Siemens established several company subsidiaries for which the Siemens & Halske AG functioned as a holding company.

During the Second World War, Siemens & Halske employed slave labour from concentration camps.[1]

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