Georg Franz Greger, prolific inventor and holder of numerous patents relating to the film industry, was the creator and sole inventor of the Lectron System. Patented on 1966-MAY-08, the Lectron System remains, after 53 years (as of 2019), the leading pedagogical platform for learning and experimenting with analog and digital electronics. As a footnote to Mr. Greger’s patent history, his first was filed in 1956 – ‘Glasses Glass Drill’ patent #DE17255759U.
Mr. Greger was born in about 1922. Not much is known about Mr. Greger’s early life prior to the 1940’s.
From a partial document extract in Google Books I found, in April of 2023, embedded in the Electronics publication from 1969 – Volume 42 Part 2, pages 147 – 151, I was able to learn several new facts. He served in the German army but in 1943 Mr. Greger was recalled from active military duty (quite an unusual circumstance) to work as an electrical engineer at Dornier, an aircraft manufacturer of importance at the time. After the war, he then did audio acoustical engineering for several West German motion picture producers. Unfortunately, I have not yet (as of April 2023) been able to get the full article interview.
He lived at least his adult life in Munich and had a long time association with the Constantin Film company and its founder Mr. Waldfried Barthel (pictured on the right). Mr. Greger was married and may have had one son (per Mr. Max Gürth) and owned (per Mr. Gürth) a large dog during the Egger Bahn and Deutsche Lectron years (1967 – 1972). Mr. Greger actually owned, per Mr. Thomas Steiner (who provided the photo to the left) a dark brown boxer dog by the name of ‘Buffy‘. Mr. Steiner was a care taker for Buffy and Mr. Greger was a family friend as Mr. Steiner’s father and Mr. Greger both worked for Constantin Film. Pictured here on the left is a young Mr. Steiner and Buffy with Mr. Greger pointing at his dog. The photo was taken in the early 1970’s.
The only person I have met (and sadly ‘the last man standing’) who worked directly with Mr. Greger is Mr. Gürth.
During one of several interviews I conducted with Mr. Gürth, he told that he and Mr. Greger would meet together primarily at Deutsche Lectron where Mr. Greger maintained an office, although several meetings also took place at Mr. Greger’s apartment at 70 Marbachstrasse in apartment 19a.
Mr. Gürth would present his ideas using a case which stored many types of Lectron System blocks and a metal ground plate. In an unbelievable act of generosity, Mr. Gürth gave me his portable demonstration case as a gift. This case can be seen in more detail along with a video of him demonstrating its various features on his Lectron Luminary page.
As to his personality, Mr. Gürth told me that Mr. Greger was very pleasant and laughed easily.
At the 1966 Nürnberg Speilwarenmesse (Nuremburg Toy Fair), Mr. Greger was in attendance to present the Lectron System to the world. Was he with Dr. Theodor Egger as well? It is highly probable since Egger-Bahn is the company listed under Mr. Greger’s signature for the Lectron System product line announcement. Egger-Bahn’s first appearance at this toy fair was in 1963 when the Egger-Bahn H0-9mm trains product line was introduced.
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. I acquired the photograph immediately above from a brochure published in 1966 by a distributor for the Lectron System in the Netherlands – Reyne en Zonen (Reyne and Sons). The source of the photo was initially from a publicity photograph which did not have the 1st prize caption or the Electronica logo. The shown photo was originally used in Electronica report #4, published on 22-OCT-1966. Sadly, Reyne en Zonen went bankrupt in 2012 and my attempts to contact them for documents and information have failed.
The translation of the Dutch caption verbiage is:
The Lectron-system was invented in 1965 by Georg Greger. The presentation of his invention at the “Didacta” (June 24th – 28th, 1966 – MWP) * in Basel was an instant success. Lectron was the attraction of this fair and was widely recognized as an excellent learning tool. The professionals put the crown on the inventive work of Greger by awarding him the “prize Electronica 1966”.
* MWP – Didacta is the world’s largest and Germany’s most important trade fair for education and is still held every year (per their website – Didacta.)
Unfortunately, the caption did not identify who was who in the photograph. The identity of the two gentlemen would have to wait until July 24th, 2015. My research colleague Günther Stabe had made a connection with Mr. Gürth and showed him the immediately above photo. Mr. Gürth, having worked with Mr. Greger on the Lectron System for circuit design and optimization back in the 60’s and 70’s, authoritatively identified the gentleman on the right as Mr. Greger. The gentleman on the left was the presenter of the award, Dr. Leo Steipe. In 2016, newly received personal papers from Mr. Greger’s attorney would further affirm his identity.
The photo on the left was taken on 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 re-named model 800 as the Minisystem as a part of their initial model lineup in late 1967.
As mentioned at the beginning of this page, Mr. Greger continued to contribute and guide the development of the Lectron System when Deutsche Lectron took over the assets from Egger-Bahn and partnered with Braun as its primary sales agency. Those five years or so (from late 1967 to 1972) were fruitful ones as the Lectron System platform continued to expand. More information about those years is presented in the Braun Introduction page.
After 1972 when Braun divested itself of its sales agency for the Lectron System, according to Mr. Gürth in an email he sent to Mr. Stabe and me on 2015-AUG-18, Mr. Greger lost interest in the electronics education segment and felt ‘marginalized’. He did not, it seems, have any relationship with Mr. Walter (the owner of Lectron, GmbH) or the Lectron System after 1972. Mr. Greger continued his association with Constantin Film into at least the 1970’s. Patent DE 2406078 A1 – Stereoscopic sound cine film (featured horizontally divided half frames having wide separating strip for alignment), was filed on the 8th of February in 1974. The listed inventor was Georg Greger while the applicant was listed as Constantin Film, GmbH.
What did Mr. Greger do in his later years? As were the details of his earlier life, his activities after the late 1970’s also remain unknown. When did he retire from Constantin Film? Currently (as of 2019) unknown. Mr. Gürth informed me that he had lost touch with Mr. Greger after the shuttering of Deutsche Lectron in the latter part of 1972. Mr. Greger remained at his Marbachstrasse address into at least the 1980’s.
From an historical perspective, the biggest recent event concerning Mr. Greger was the dropping off of a treasure trove of documents and photos strictly related to the Lectron System in 1966 and 1967. In December of 2016, according to Mr. Norbert Cahn von Seelen (the Lectron System product manger at Reha Werkstatt Oberrad (RWO), an attorney dropped off photos, the patent, Mr. Greger’s award placard and other informational items. Mr. Cahn von Seelen did not get a business card or the contact information for this person so unfortunately I could not follow up with the numerous questions I would have had. What a missed opportunity!
A special video was prepared by my research colleague, Guenther Stabe. It was made with the utmost respect and appreciation of Mr. Greger.
Unfortunately, I have not found any more current information as of 2019. I have not found his obituary notice card either. I will keep searching!
Photo Gallery of Electronica and Nürnberg Speilwarenmesse Shows
Click on any photo for an individual image lightbox.