Menu

Since I began the Lectron.Info project in 2012, one of the more elusive histories to acquire was that of INELCO.  I had tried numerous internet searches before but could never get beyond basic business information. I did not even know when and how and by whom INELCO had been founded. During the early morning of 2019-SEP-11, I thought of doing a search on the name of Trude Walther, a name listed on a trademark result for INELCO.  Imagine my surprise in getting a meaningful result pointing to a history not only of INELCO but of Unda Radio and their founder, Mr. Max Glauber! Some further digging and I was able to send an email to the one of the three children of Mr. Glauber, Lisa Glauber.  To my complete delight, Ms. Glauber replied and we have corresponded several times.  She has very kindly offered to help me correct the historical account information that I had found with the authoritative version. 

On a personal note, Ms. Glauber is a very gracious person with a keen intellect and speaks and writes German, Italian, and English (thank goodness!).  I look forward to updating this page with additional information and photographs with Ms. Glauber’s support.

On 1902-AUG-09 Mr. Max Gluber was born in Wilten (Innsbruck, Austria) as the only son of Gisa (Gisela) Polz (daughter of Elise Caecilia Ottilia Rutter and Major General Karl Polz of Laibach or Ljubljana, Slovenia) and Moritz Glauber (a very wealthy banker) from Prague, Czechoslovakia.
 
Ms. Polz met Mr. Glauber (who was a patron of the Deutschen Theater and a lover of music) in Prague toward the beginning of her professional operatic singing career at the Deutschen Theater and they were married in late 1901.  Ms. Polz Glauber converted to Judaism in order to marry Mr. Glauber. 
 
When Moritz Glauber died in November of 1910, Gisa Polz Glauber moved to Bolzano, Italy with her eight year old son Max.  By 1913, the family had moved to Toblach (Dobbiaco – Italian pronunciation) Bozen in South Tyrol, Italy. This town was the birthplace of her Mother Elise.   
 
In 1921, Mr. Max Glauber fell in love with Trude Walther von Herbstenburg at first sight while visiting a high school (Gymnasium) in Bozen.  Her family was Roman Catholic, so in 1921, Mr. Glauber converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism.  After completing his studies in physics  and philosophy during 1921 – 1923 in Munich, Germany, Mr. Glauber returned to Italy.  In 1926, Mr. Glauber married Ms. Walther von Herbstenburg.  They had three children:  Heinrich (1928 – 2017), Hans (1933 – 2008), and Lisa (1935).
 

In 1925, the 23-year-old Mr. Glauber founded the radio factory Unda Società per la Fabbricazione di Apparecchi di Meccanica Fine,  (Unda for short) in Toblach with an initial capital of 75,000 lire. At times more than 300 employees were employed in this company. The 1920s and 1930s – politically characterized by the rise of Benito Mussolini and the fascist Italian state that created​ with a wide array of  repression policies – were also very difficult years from an economic point of view. The Unda company provided a safe workplace for many people from Toblach and throughout Alta Pusteria region. In addition, Toblach benefited from “guest workers” from Germany or other parts of South Tyrol, who lived there during their service in the village. The history of the Unda company is in many ways of particular importance: for the economic history of the upper Puster Valley, for the history of the village and not least for the history of some Toblacher families.

Even though he was a Roman Catholic convert, his Jewish background from his Father’s side would become problematic during WWII as Italy and Germany were allies.  His Austrian citizenship subjected him to German law and he lost his right of residency and property in 1939.  The Unda company relocated to Como in December of 1940.  Mr. Glauber and his immediate family in Italy survived the war.  His paternal Prague relatives were all killed as a part of the Final Solution.
 
In the 1950’s Unda expanded its business lines to include the production of televisions and refrigerators. Due to difficult economic conditions, the Unda company needed additional capital and in 1958 ended up being taken over  by the Milan company Compagnia Generale di Elettricità S.p.A. (CGE).  Unda was no more by 1959.  CGE was primarily owned and operated by the US behemoth General Electric company during its later years.  CGE was no more in 2000 after having been acquired by IMPulse NC, INC.
 
Mr. Glauber, never one to rest on his laurels, founded a new company, Industria Elettronica Comense SrI or INELCO that same year of 1958. The company became a success and our Lectron System history with INELCO begins in about 1969 with the production of the Braun Buchlabor model.  Unfortunately, the INELCO history has not been as easy to discover as the Unda history was.
 
According to Ms. Lisa Glauber, she worked at INELCO from about 1971 to 1976.  The Lectron System was brought to the attention of INELCO management by Mr. Hans Glauber who had seen the product at Braun.  Ms. Glauber does not recall the Lectron System as a great success.  She recalls that there were only a few shops in the Como , Italy area where the product could be sold.
 
Ms. Glauber also provided an English translation of her elder brother Heini‘s  (Heinrich) resume. Mr. Glauber earned an electrotechnical engineering degree in May of 1954 from the Politecnico in Milan, Italy. He worked for Fernseh, GmbH in Darmstadt, Germany for several years.  The resume revealed that Mr. Glauber began serving as the INELCO project manager within a few years after returning to Italy at the end of 1958.
 
Ms. Glauber informed me that her mother was a professional writer and had nothing to do with the INELCO business.
 
Upon Mr. Glauber’s passing from a heart attack on 1966-DEC-27 in Tavernario, Como, Italy, the company continued doing business until 2001.  Mr. Glauber was interred in Toblach.
 
The Glauber Villa built by Gisa Polz Glauber back in 1913 is now a beautiful vacation spot whereby one can rent a lovely apartment there on a weekly basis.  The website can be visited for more information.
 
INELCO became Braun‘s Italian distributor for the Lectron System product line after it took over the sales agency from Kosmos of Milano, Italy. The date of that transition is currently unknown.
 
The Buchlabor based Lectron System product lines which bore the Braun, INELCO, and Lectron, GmbH branding were likely manufactured by INELCO with their signature green plastic block packaging but further research confirmation is required.  The Braun Buchlabor model first appeared in the Fall of 1969 and garnered a special prize from the educational publishing world as evidenced by the blue band show below.

Initially, INELCO maintained the Braun Lectron brand name, as shown by the advertisement graphic immediately below.
 

INELCO also issued its own catalog featuring the current Braun product line up.

Other companies became resellers of the INELCO Lectron System product line including ITALHARVEY and MERAK S.p.A. (which sold the Italharvey branded unit). 

The three graphics below represent several of the marketing advertisements that were run in various Italian publications.

In the Fall of 1972 INELCO and the newly formed Lectron, GmbH took over the Lectron System rights from Braun and Deutsche Lectron in a negotiated transition.

Starting in about 1973 (or a year earlier), INELCO marketed and sold a specialized Lectron System product line in Italy called the Lectron Sistema 2000, dropping the Braun name. In addition to the 2000 Buchlabor styled model, INELCO introduced six add-on kits to expand the possible variety of experiments. 

Adding to the confusion in establishing the  date of when the Sistema 2000 was introduced, INELCO adapted a Braun catalog and the INECLO catalog not only included the Braun product line but the Sistema 2000 product line along with the first four add-on kits, 2001 – 2004.

Following the Braun business practice of multi language versions of its instruction manuals, INELCO followed suit with English, French and Spanish cover packaging and instruction manual translations for each 2000 series add-on model. There were no German language instruction manual translations consistent with the geographical sales distributorship arrangements with Lectron, GmbH.

INELCO was also the publisher of the non German language teaching and learning cards

After 1973, INELCO also branded and sold the Ausbausystem für Buchlabor (Red Book) model, perhaps commissioned by Mr. Walter. The timeline for the Red Book version of the model is currently uncertain due to no known appearance of it in price lists, brochures, or catalogs published by either INELCO or Lectron, GmbH (Lectron-MW era).

The reader may recall the Lectron System distributor arrangements agreed to at the end of 1972 at the conclusion of Braun’s involvement with the Lectron System.  INELCO retained the Italian distributorship and produced the Sistema 2000 product line while Lectron, GmbH (Lectron-MW) received the sales and distribution rights for the German-speaking countries, in Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg), the Anglo-Saxon and the Scandinavian countries.  It is possible that the Red Book was produced by INELCO concurrent with the Sistema 2000 and the six small expansion kits that it also introduced for the non German speaking marketplaces.

Lectron, GmbH would later rebrand this version of the model with their name by simply using a green sticker to cover up the INELCO brand. When the Red Book inventory was depleted, Lectron, GmbH would later replace the Red Book with a conventional cardboard box version with the same name.

INELCO also produced the  Mini-System model in similar packaging only the exterior color was a sort of green/gray.  The content was the same as the BraunMini-System.

Finally, INELCO also produced the JAPANESE version of the Buchlabor that was sold during the Lectron-MW era.  This is an extremely rare model despite Mr. Manfred Walter stating that he had sold 10,000 units to the Sony Corporation!  More on this subject may be read on the Lectron-MW introduction page.