Ludwig Loewe (November 27, 1837 – September 11, 1886) was a German merchant, manufacturer, philanthropist and a member of the Reichstag. Loewe's companies became involved in the production of armaments, employing famous designers and creating notable guns.
Loewe was born as Louis Levy in Heiligenstadt, Germany into a Jewish family. He set up Ludwig Loewe Commanditgesellschaft auf Aktien für Fabrikation von Nähmaschinen A.G. in 1869 to produce sewing machines. In 1872 an agreement was reached with the German army to produce rifles for them. For this he set up a separate armaments company Ludwig Loewe & Company (also known as Loewe & Company).
Loewe's armaments company was famous in that it held a controlling interest in Waffenfabrik Mauser so was able to reap financial success from the C96 pistol when Loewe's own Borchardt semi-automatic pistol, designed by employee Hugo Borchardt, was not selling well.
After Loewe's death
After Loewe died in Berlin his younger brother Isidor Loewe took over the running of the company. The name of the main company was eventually changed to Gesellschaft für Elektrische Unternehmungen Ludwig Loewe & Co. A.G.. This 'Loewe Group' of companies had three main products: electricity, machinery, and armaments.
In 1896, Ludwig Loewe & Cie obtained a majority interest in the Karlsruhe-based Deutsche Metallpatronenfabrik. In the same year, it was decided to merge the ammunition production of Deutsche Metallpatronenfabrik with Loewe's firearms branch in Berlin, creating a new company of which Loewe remained the owner: Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM).
Loewe and his faith
Loewe suffered Anti Semitism due to his Jewish faith, which also affected his family. His estate was later claimed by the Nazi government in the 1930s, and a claim was made against this action later on by his descendants .
When Ludwig Loewe & Cie. merged with the Gesellschaft für Elektrische Unternehmungen in 1929, its ownership of DWM was transferred to a group of investors working with Günther Quandt (the 'Quandt Gruppe' or 'Quandt Group').
The Gesellschaft für Elektrische Unternehmungen merged with AEG in 1942, the remainder of Loewe was named Loewe Werkzeugmaschienen AG of which AEG was owner.
In 1946 the Loewe workshops took their old name "Ludw. Loewe & Co. AG". With some 400 workers they produced screwdrivers, ovens, gravecrosses and ploughs.
The company joined forces with a group of other industrial companies in 1967 under the group name DIAG (Deutsche Industrieanlagen GmbH), today part of MAN Ferrostaal Industrieanlagen GmbH.