Manfred Walter‘s life history, like Georg Greger‘s, is also currently somewhat shrouded in mystery. The photo on the left shows Mr. Walter (on the far left) speaking to visitors at the Didacta show held in Hannover between June 7th through 11th in 1968. He was born October 20th, 1924 (based on a birthday announcement published on October, 17th, 1999 in the Frankfurt Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z) newspaper.). He held a Diplom-Ingenieur (Dipl.-Ing) degree. He was married and then divorced and had two sons from this union. One of the son’s names was Nicholai (per Mr. Wolfgang Schrank, former managing director at Frankfurter Verein, the holding company for Reha Werkstatt Oberrad (RWO)).
Mr. Walter’s last known address circa 2001 was 11 Kantstrasse in Oberursel (Taunus). He lived on the first (ground) floor while maintaining an office in the attic area. As of December, 2014, this building appears to be unoccupied. Mr. Walter’s passing date is currently uncertain. He is believed to have died several years after gifting the Lectron System assets to RWO in 2001. I have not been able to find his obituary as of 2019.
The mailbox shows the name Krause-Walter (fourth button from the top). Ms. Krause was Mr. Walter’s domestic partner and according to a neighbor, moved away several years ago (~ 2010) somewhere in the local area. I could not find her name or current address doing an internet search. For some reason, the name remained on the mailbox and door bell name plates and were still there as of my visit there in November, 2013. According to Horst Kaupp (current (as of 2014) curator of the BraunCollection in Kronberg), Ms. Krause had been a secretary at Braun.
Mr. Kaupp (picture on the right) related to me in June of 2014 that Mr. Walter had started off being in charge of electronic equipment for Braun shows. In about 1970, Mr. Walter tried to increase Lectron System sales and supported the design of the new style cassette trays to replace the styrofoam molds. Mr. Walter also had the idea of using the metal stacking trays to facilitate the Lectron System’s use in the classroom. When Mr. Walter took over the Lectron System assets, he was able to leverage the good relationships with many electronics distributors that he had built during his years with Braun to become additional retail sales outlets.
I have not been able to learn much about Mr. Walter’s involvement with the Lectron System while at Braun. Per Mr. Dietrich Lubs (the deputy manager of product design and close colleague of Dieter Rams at Braun), Mr. Walter was leading the Lectron division at Braun since the Fall of 1967, the beginning of Braun’s sales agency with the Lectron System platform.
When Braun divested themselves of the Lectron System in 1972, Mr. Walter made an offer to acquire all the Lectron System assets, which was accepted, and formed his own company, Lectron, GmbH. More on Lectron, GmbH’s history can be found on the LectronMW introduction page.
Over the next 29 years or so, Mr. Walter continued to develop the Lectron System platform as best that he could with diminishing resources as time went on.
In 2001, due to personal illness and German past due tax obligations, Mr. Walter gifted all the Lectron System assets to Frankfurter-Verein -> RWO. A new era in the Lectron System would begin.
Sadly, no one from the LectronRWO team knew or knows what became of Mr. Walter after 2001. Mr. Schrank told me during our first meeting in 2012 that he thought that Mr. Walter had died within a few years after 2001. It is believed that his health decline was precipitated by Parkinson’s Disease.
There is no doubt that if it had not been for Mr. Walter’s tenacity and passion for the Lectron System, it would have faded into oblivion after 1972.