Georg Greger - Inventor of the LECTRON System
Not much is known about Georg Franz Greger's early life. He was born in about 1922. He lived at least his adult life in Munich and had a long time association with the Constantin Film company. Mr. Greger was married, may have had one son (per Mr. Max Gürth), and owned a large white dog during the Egger Bahn and Deutsche Lectron years (1967 - 1972).
An early photo of Mr. Greger demonstrating the LECTRON System in a 'laboratory' setting.
He lived at 70 Marbachstrasse in apartment 19a in Munich during the late 1960's and at least through the 1970's.
The phone directory from 1971-1972 had a print error in the address. It should be 70 and not M 25.
The start of Marbachstrasse right off Albert-Rosshaupter-Strasse where Egger-Bahn/Deutsche Lectron was located at #73. It was about a 10 minute walk to his office.
#70 was about half way down the street.
The facts of the origin of the LECTRON System can only reliably be pointed to the patent application process. What sparked Mr. Greger's imagination to come up with the LECTRON is not known. A prolific inventor, Mr. Greger had a variety of interests as his patent history shows starting in 1956 with the 'Glasses Glass Drill' patent (DE17255759U). He also designed a constant lamp brightness circuit for toy trains, a method for copying cinematographic film, a reserve fuel guage, a xenon high pressure lamp adaptor, a sync method for sound film technology, and a stereo film technology among others. Many of these patents were developed as an employee of Constantin Film.
On May 8th, 1965, Mr. Greger submitted his patent request for a new approach to teaching electronics using individual plastic blocks with an electronic component inside. The blocks could be put together to form working circuits and were held together with magnets behind conducting metal plates. The white top cover of each block bore the electronic symbol of the component in the block.
In 1964, Constantin Film acquired a controlling financial interest in the Egger Bahn company. Egger's primary line of business was 9mm toy trains. The reasonable inference is that Constantin Film management decided that Egger Bahn would be the right company to productize the new LECTRON System and bring it to the marketplace.
The LECTRON System was first introduced to the public at the Spielwarenmesse (Toy Fair) held in Nürnberg, GERMANY from February 13th - 18th, 1966. It caused a lot of excitement and interest.
The LECTRON System achieved substantive acclaim when the then prestigious Münchener Elektronik-Preis (Munich Electronics Award) was jointly awarded by the Internationaler Elektronik Arbeitskreis e.V. to Mr. John Martinell of Fort Washington, USA and Mr. Greger of Munich, Germany. Mr. Greger was 44 years old when he shared the First Prize presented on the opening day of the 2nd ever Electronica show held October 20th through 26th in 1966. 800 exhibitors from around the world competed for the prize of 10,000 DMs.
The photo below shows Dr. Leo Steipe presenting the award to Mr. Greger.
The photo of the award below shows the seven member jury board for the prize determination.
Electronica issued a small 4 page 'report' detailing Mr. Greger and Mr. Martinell's winning and sharing of the 1st prize.
Page 3 was a reproduction of the award document shown above.
The reproduction of the 5000 DM check was in Mr. Greger's private papers.
By the time the next Spielwarenmesse occured in February of 1967, the LECTRON System was a favorite of show attendees.
Barvarian political dignitaries got some hands on experience with the LECTRON as a proud Mr. Greger looks on.
The below graphic lists the dignitaries from left to right.
Another photo from the same day - February 11th, 1967. Note the Mini-Lectron lettering on the back wall. This was the Egger-Lectron 800 model which was announced at the show but never released by Egger-Lectron due to the company's dissolution in the Fall of 1967. The Braun company would release the model (Minisystem) as a part of their initial lineup in 1967.
The level of Mr. Greger's role in the continuing development of the LECTRON System after Egger-Bahn was dissolved in the Fall of 1967 is still a topic for additional research. By first hand recollections of Mr. Max Gürth, we know that Mr. Greger maintained an office at Deutsche Lectron. We know that Mr. Gürth consulted with Mr. Greger frequently about new circuit designs, particularly as related to digital techniques. We also know that it was Mr. Greger who as early as late 1971 informed Mr. Gürth that Braun was going to sell the LECTRON business, much to their mutual disappointment.
Deutsche Lectron was dissolved in 1972 when Mr. Manfred Walter established Lectron, GmbH. Constantin Film maintained ownership of the #73 Albert-Rosshaupter Strasse building at least through 1974. We don't know if Mr. Greger continued to have LECTRON business dealings with Mr. Walter after the formation of Lectron, GmbH in 1972. Lectron, GmbH took over the product manufacturing and development from Deutsche Lectron and it is believed that Deutsche Lectron was closed for LECTRON business.