Hartmut Birett - LECTRON Model Designer of the Funktionsmodelle and System Ökologie Models and Author of the Manual/Book.
Photo of Mr. and Mrs. Hartmut Birett taken in their home on December 10th, 2015. Paintings of Mr. Birett's ancestors are behind them.
Mr. Biret was born 09-DEC-1937. His first experience with electrical matters was during 1944 - 1945 when he was responsible for fixing light bulbs. These were light bulbs that hung from the ceiling by a wire. His technique was to rotate the bulb until the filament would reconnect to the contact wire. Current would then flow and seal the connection.
Mr. Birett's adult career was as a teacher of biology and physics. As a teacher, he was always looking for ways to make learning as engaging as possible. Mr. Birett's first experience with the LECTRON System occured during mid 1966 when his brother, who lived in Munich, sent him a shoe box full of loose LECTRON blocks, a base plate, and the Egger instruction manual.
In 1967, for his 12th grade biology students' edification , Mr. Birett developed three circuits using the LECTRON blocks to demonstrate some basic biology theory. These three experiments were later included in the Funktionsmodelle book as 95.2, 96.1, and 100.1.
In 1968, Mr. Birett was in Munich and decided to call upon Mr. Georg Greger (the inventor of the LECTRON System) at Deutsche Lectron, GmbH at the Albert-Rosshaupterstrasse address. Mr. Greger also informed him that the LECTRON was now being distributed by Braun AG.
In the Spring of 1969, Mr. Birett visited Mr. Greger once again in search of additional empty blocks for his own circuit development efforts. Mr. Greger expressed an interest in Mr. Birett's efforts and Mr. Birett offered a description of about two dozen LECTRON circuit simulations for Biology and a dozen other circuits. Mr. Greger evidently spoke highly of Mr. Birett to Mr. Stork (a senior Braun executive who was associated with the LECTRON product line) as the latter wrote to Mr. Birett as a follow up.
Three LECTRON afficianodos in Mr. Birett's basement workshop: From right to left: Mr. Hartmut Birett, Mr. Günther Stabe, and Mr. Michael Peters.
Michael Peters proudly holding the manual/book written by Hartmut Birett for the Funktionsmodelle model.
The layout of the Funktionsmodelle model.
The following graphic shows a Braun era letter to Mr. Birett. Mr Manfred Walter and Mr. Stork wrote to thank him for a manuscript entitled "Biologische Informationsverarbeitung". This manuscript would become the basis for the future Funkstionsmodelle manual/book.
Hand crafted part for the Funktionsmodelle. This part was designed to simulate the eye's pupillary response.
Mr. Walter ran out of cash to pay off the balance due to Mr. Birett for his work on the Funktionsmodelle model. The original price for the model was 10,000 DMs. He offered to make up the outstanding cash difference to Mr. Birett with an X Y plotter acquired when Mr. Walter was working at Braun and was valued at 2,500 DMs. This was not enough however and Mr. Walter sweetened the offer by including a Braun Nizo film camera. Mr. Birett accepted the deal.
The actual X Y plotter, still in Mr. Biret's possession, is shown immediately below.
The lathe used by Mr. Birett to construct one of the hand made parts for the Funktionsmodelle model.
Mr. Birett was never given a productized version of the model by Mr. Walter and Mr. Birett never purchased one.
Mr. Birett was invited by Mr. Walter to demonstrate the Funktionsmodelle model at serveral German universities during 1974 - 1976.
Mr. Birett was not informed by Mr. Walter as to how well the Funktionsmodelle model sold. He did not receive any monies from any of the sales (such as they may have been - this was a very expensive model and had very limited sales beyond the academic setting).
Mr. Birett informed me that Mr. Walter was planning to design models demonstrating alternate forms of energy. One of those models later found form as the solar energy (1102 - Solar) model.
Mr. Birett last saw Mr. Walter during 1978 in Kronberg (near the Braun Headquarters) for an unrecalled event.