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Deutsche Lectron Era


Introduction
Formation of Deutsche Lectron, GmbH
Hypothesis of When Deutsche Lectron Closed Its Doors
Film and Photos of the Deutsche Lectron Facility
Price List - March 17th, 1970
Trademark Information

Introduction

Deutsche Lectron GmbH Produktions- (production) und Entwicklungs (development) GmbH was formed as the new corporate entity to continue the manufacturing and product development of the LECTRON product after the dissolution of Egger-Bahn in 1967. From conversations with Mr. Max Gürth in October of 2015, Mr. Georg Greger, (the LECTRON System inventor and previously allied with Egger LECTRON) remained with Deutsche Lectron and was materially involved with models developed during the Braun years (1967 - 1972).

The production/manufacturing facilities remained located at Egger-Bahn's facility in Munich at 73 Albert-Rosshaupter Strasse possibly through 1972 (when Lectron, GmbH was formed by Mr. Manfred Walter and was headquartered in Frankfurt am Main). The building remained a Constantin Film property until its destruction around late 1979.

The graphic below shows the property under Constantin Film ownership in 1974, two years after Deutsche Lectron was likely shuttered upon Manfred Walter's establishment of Lectron, GmbH.

The photo below shows the 73 Albert-Rosshaupter Strasse address today. This building was completed in about 1980 and the current elevators were added in 1984. An apartment complex along with a ground floor of businesses including a travel agency and dentist (as of 2013) is now at 73 Albert-Rosshaupter Strasse. This information comes to us from Mr. Max Gürth, a gentleman who knew and worked with Mr. Georg Greger well and who used to visit him at his office in the original Egger-Bahn/Deutsche Lectron building at this address. Mr. Greger lived at 70 Marbachstrasse during this time and it was a quick walk to the business office from his home.

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Formation of Deutsche Lectron, GmbH

An article published by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.) on April 20th, 1968 shed some light on the forming of Deutsche Lectron and its role in establishing sales distributorships with both Braun, AG and Raytheon.

The approximate translation (with thanks to Günther Stabe and Google Translate) of this important article is:

Lectron-kits in high demand

Deutsche Lectron GmbH, Munich.

In the course of 1967 for the experimental equipment Lectron, exclusive distributor agreements were made with Braun, AG of Frankfurt and Raytheon Comp. in Boston, Mass. Order intake has increased for the electronic module system to an unusual degree the company (Deutsche Lectron) announced. Originally part of the Munich based Egger-Bahn GmbH KG, Lectron products are in good demand in the wake of the favorable economic development. This has led to the reorganization and renaming of the company to "Deutsche Lectron, GmbH production and development GmbH". The production and development of Egger model trains went over to the French company Jouef, the French Jouet in Paris. The Deutsche Lectron GmbH involved in the Munich production now is exclusively in the production and development of its experimental electronic devices (LECTRON).

Another interesting revelation that this article provides is that it was Deutsche Lectron which 'called the shots' about awarding sales distributorships. Braun AG was awarded a 5 year sales distributorship for the LECTRON throughout the world with the exception of the United States which was ceded to the Raytheon Education Company (a division within Raytheon). This solves part of the mystery of how Raytheon became involved with the LECTRON. The reader is directed to the Raytheon Era -> Introduction tab for more information on this issue.

A major umbrella topic of research has been how the relationship with Braun, AG and Deutsche Lectron, GmbH worked. How were new models developed? Who was on the product development team? What was the level of collaboration between the two companies? Deutsche Lectron, GmbH had the manufacturing, production, and development roles as a part of their mission statement and even in their official full name so was Braun, with all their resources, simply relegated to the sales and marketing roles?

Some answers to the above questions were revealed courtesy of conversations with Mr. Max Gürth in September of 2015:

  1. Braun, AG through Manfred Walter, hired authors to develop new models. We know this from conversations with Mr. Gürth conducted by Günther Stabe at my request. For example, Mr. Edzard Timmer developed the Curriculum Kybernetik I, and the Ausbausystem 4 - Curriculum Kybernetik II models. Mr. Gürth himself collaborated with Mr. Greger and other LECTRON authors to develop new circuits and revise existing circuits to optimal operation.
  2. Mr. Gürth met with Mr. Greger numerous times at the latter's office at Deutsche Lectron and was even informed of the imminent sale of the LECTRON business in late 1971. The sale was completed in 1972 to Mr. Walter who then formed Lectron, GmbH.
  3. So the inference is that Mr. Greger, in concert with Mr. Walter, continued overseeing the development of new models through the hiring of external authors, during the Braun years (1967 - 1972).

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Hypothesis of When Deutsche Lectron Closed Its Doors

I would like to propose that Deutsche Lectron was shuttered shortly after Manfred Walter finalized the formation of the Lectron, GmbH company on September 30th, 1972.

I offer the following evidence:

From a newspaper article published by F.A.Z. on December 13th, 1972.

The article above states that Lectron, GmbH's formation was finalized on October 30th, 1972 for the development (Entwicklung), production (Herstellung), and sales (Vertrieb) under the name "LECTRON" of electrical and electromagnetic devices and their components. This would seem to state that those roles for the LECTRON were no longer performed by Deutsche Lectron, GmbH.

As another bit of evidence dated on April 26th, 1973, was an announcement of Lectron prices effective May 1st and the names and roles of the new Lectron, GmbH management team were listed. In the Impressum (masthead) section of the document was the description of what the Lectron company did. Entwicklung, produktion und Vertrieb elektronischer Gerate und Systeme. This was nearly the same verbiage that was in Deutsche Lectron's full legal name - Deutsche Lectron GmbH Produktions- (production) und Entwicklungs (development) GmbH. Lectron GmbH would not use this description of its business if Deutsche Lectron still had the roles of development and production.

Although the masthead shows the business address as being at the same Braun location during Braun's distributorship of the LECTRON from 1967 - 1972, production did not occur at the Braun facility. Mr. Walter would relocate the LECTRON business offices to 143 Gartenstrasse in Kronberg during May of 1973.

Finally, according to a multi-page document that I acquired in June of 2014 and dated March 8th, 1971, Braun's distribution agreement with Deutsche Lectron was detailed. It was for only a 5 year term (1968 - 1972). See item #4 - Lösung von Deutsche Lectron. The translation is:
Termination of Deutsche Lectron
The 5-year distribution agreement (1968-1972) with Deutsche Lectron, Munich, committed BAG (Braun AG) for 1971 and 1972 to purchase blocks in the value of DM 2,700,000.

To get out of these purchase obligations, BAG must sign a license agreement with Deutsche Lectron and assume all stocks stored there. Then - and only then - can Lectron be given to another partner in the short term and the license will be transferred. In the following, the different ways of solving the Lectron problem will be examined.


When Lectron, GmbH was formed, the association with Deutsche Lectron was not continued.
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Film and Photos of the Deutsche Lectron Manufacturing Facility

For those Lectron.Info visitors without video viewing capability, the following photos are screen shots from the above film that was made to show the manufacturing and production of the LECTRON components at the Deutsche Lectron production facilities located at the old Egger-Bahn address of 73 Albert-Rosshaupter Strasse in Munich. The date of the shoot is unknown but it was sometime between the Fall of 1967 and the end of 1972. I am indebted to Mr. Rolf Nitzsche for making the film acquisition possible.

Just for the record, the cheesy background sax soundtrack was added when the original film was transferred onto a VHS cassette at some point in time by the original collector (not by Mr. Nitzsche or myself!)

The photos below shows the building where Deutsche Lectron resided in Munich from 1967 to about 1972. The address from the below trademark assignment document confirms the address as 73 Albert-Rosshaupter Strasse. This was also the address for the Egger-Bahn production facility from 1964 to 1967.

Mr. Max Gürth even remembers the layout of the Deutsche Lectron offices at #73 and a graphical representation prepared by Günther Stabe is presented immediately below.


Street map location:

Part of the LECTRON product assembly line at Deutsche Lectron. The LECTRON blocks were assembled by hand.

Note the old style LECTRON trademark logo on the vest jacket's breast pocket.

The soldering work station.

950

The white plastic top being cut from raw stock material and fitted to the block.

The stamping machine for placing the schematic on the white cover.


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Price List - March 17th, 1970

This is a very rare price list from Deutsche Lectron issued on March 17th, 1970. This is a quantity based price list. If the order amount of a block fell below 1,000, then the price would increase by 10%. Presumably this was the type of price list used by Braun (until 1972) and Raytheon (until 1969) for ordering purposes.

Of special note is part number 8067 - Mikrophone (Microphone). This was one of several parts shown in the Deutsche Lectron parts list which was never productized. A microphone should have been a fundamental component in the Lectron parts family but from the first Egger-Lectron product line onward, the earphone was substituted to serve in that role.

Note the listing of the 2 pole motor (8087) 3 pole motor (8090), the N (8088) and S (8089) magnets. One of the motors and the 2 magnets were used in the Braun prototype Model 111. The motor was not productized during the Braun era and would wait until the Lectron-MW era to appear for purchase.

Recently discovered at the BraunCollection archives in Kronburg during June of 2014 was the first Braun parts catalog. It used the 4 digit Deutsche Lectron number scheme. The two pages below are from that catalog and show graphic representations of the parts. Braun changed their numbering scheme from 4 digits to 7 digits with their first price list issued in September of 1967. The microphone (#8067), as mentioned above, was never productized even though it appeared in this first Braun catalog.

Trademark Information

I still have not found incorporation papers for Deutsche Lectron to identify the corporate officers but I have acquired some information using a trademark search and from several newspaper articles from that time.

The simple Lectron trademark logo was first used by Egger-Bahn on April 4th, 1966 and was added underneath the Egger name to form their official trademark logo. The logo was used on all of their boxes - black on the white sleeves and white on the color packaging models.

Deutsche Lectron began to use the Lectron trademark logo (without the word Egger) in September of 1967. This was about the same time that Braun acquired sales rights of the Lectron assets from Deutsche Lectron when Egger-Bahn went out of business. Egger-Bahn then formally assigned their trademark to Deutsche Lectron on July 29th, 1968. You can see the trademark logo embroidered on the assembly technician's work vest jacket shown below in color picture number three.

Braun did not use the Lectron trademark logo in favor of their own and Deutsche Lectron later assigned the Lectron trademark to INELCO in 1975. The reader may recall that INELCO was one of the two companies (Lectron, GmbH being the other company) that Braun divested themselves of the LECTRON sales assets to.

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