My best trip to Germany – ever!

So very productive with much exciting news to share with my fellow Lectroneers (I term I coined during a meeting with Mr. Benjamin Wilson on 2019-SEP-27 at Braun Headquarters in Kronberg).  So let’s get started!

I arrived in Frankfurt on Saturday September 21st. I was on my way to Lansberg to visit Mr. Jan Timmer (yet another Siemens‘ employee!) and his family first thing on Sunday morning. Mr. Timmer is the son of Edzard Timmer, the designer of the Kybernetik I and Kybernetik II models.  After a two train trip through Munich, I arrived at Kaufering and was met by Mr. Timmer. It was a beautiful day in the Lansberg area and after a family lunch at an eatery atop a hill and a walk down the hill to see the distant mountains and what had been a Roman encampment, Mr. Timmer and I visited several areas of interest including the castles of the ‘Mad King’ Ludwig of Bavaria and his Father’s and a stunning church.

Don’t forget to click on the individual photos in the carousels to get a full size view!  Some of the photos are panoramic so the full size will enhance the viewing experience.

Mr. Timmer and I spent the late afternoon talking about his Father (an audio interview was also made and this may be found at Edzard Timmer’s Lectron Luminary page).  Mr. Timmer also gave me scans of additional photos of his Father and then I enjoyed a delicious grilled meal of very tasty chicken made by Mrs. Timmer.  Mr. Timmer then returned me to the train station for my return to Frankfurt.  I truly had a wonderful visit with Herr Timmer and his family!

In the photo below, Mr. Timmer and I share the Braun advertisement for his Father’s first Lectron System model – the Kybernetik 1.  Lectroneers will recall that this model appeared as an integrated addon to the Ausbausystem 2 M in addition to being issued as a standalone complete model – the Curriculum Kybernetik 1.

After catching up on some needed rest on Monday, Tuesday was my first day of binge shopping at Lectron, GmbH.  Martin Pohl was there to help fulfill my needed list of blocks.  I also met Mr. Barland who is the master builder of the Lectron System blocks.  He hand solders and assembles the blocks for production including the 50th Anniversary FM Stereo Receiver blocks.  

I built up quite an appetite in my feverish acquisition mode and what better way to have it assuaged than with a dinner engagement shared with Mr. Dietrich Lubs, former Deputy Head of Design at Braun and now in the process of releasing the EVO version of two of his classic watch designs – the AW 10 and AW 50.  A great way to end a fantastic day in the Lectron System Universe!

On Wednesday the 25th,   I had a group meeting with Thomas Guttandin (Managing Director and Archivist) and Till Winkler (Product Designer and member of the Braun Design Team) at the BraunCollection in Kronberg, home of Braun headquarters and Proctor and Gamble (which owns Braun).  We also enjoyed the company of Mr. Lubs who joined us to discuss the Braun Lectron System history. From left to right – Mr. Winkler, MWP, Mr. Lubs, and Mr. Guttandin.

Mr. Winkler and Mr. Guttandin were both very surprised to hear that the Lectron System was still being produced and sold.  They were also very pleased to know that the production and assembly was being done by the Reha Werkstatt (sheltered workshop) under the auspices of the  Frankfurter Verein organization.  I was asked to setup a mid-October visit meeting at Lectron, GmbH with Mr. Pohl so that they could tour the facility.  

Mr. Guttandin gave me access to the Braun Lectron archives and I scanned quite a few documents that I had not seen previously.

Between meetings, Mr. Winkler introduced me to a colleague of his, Mr. Ben Wilson (Industrial design and Global Design and Technology Communication Lead).  Mr. Wilson is charged with spearheading the Design Department’s role in the  Braun 100th anniversary celebration taking place in 2021.  Mr. Winkler explained a bit of what my Lectron System research project has been during the last five years.  I showed Mr. Wilson a few Braun era documents and advertisements  for the Braun Lectron System and he expressed an interest in learning more and invited me to a lunch meeting on Friday the 27th which I gladly accepted. 

Before leaving the BraunCollection, Mr. Lubs showed me his watch display and some other products of his design.

Thursday the 26th was another day in the Lectron System storehouse to acquire additional blocks that I found I needed when more closely reviewing the 50th Anniversary FM Stereo Receiver Tech bulletin the previous evening.  Creating a hybrid vacuum tube and solid state FM Stereo receiver featuring a stereo amplifier and two speakers had a lot of appeal!

The afternoon was spent in the beautiful old city area of Frankfurt.

Friday the 27th found me once again at Braun Headquarters in Kronberg for my visit with Ben Wilson. 

Using a mind map approach, he began to outline his ideas on how the Lectron System might be shown as a historical milestone for the Braun 100th anniversary celebration being held in 2021.  The Lectron System served an important purpose of social good by providing an excellent pedagogical platform to teach electronics to students.  Lectroneers will recall that Erwin Braun (senior executive of Braun and son of the founder Max Braun) championed the engagement with Deutsche Lectron and acquired the lead sales agency for the Lectron System for Europe.

Prior to adjourning for lunch, Mr. Wilson introduced me to Braun’s current Head of Design – Dr. Oliver Grabes.  Dr. Grabes leads the corporate, industrial and packaging design teams in Kronberg.  Mr. Wilson showed Dr. Grabes the 50th anniversary Lectron System FM Stereo Receiver block and provided a summary of our discussion to Dr. Grabes’ enthusiastic approbation.  A group photo (notice Dr. Grabes holding the FM Stereo Receiver block) and then off to lunch at the Braun cafeteria (which really has great tasting food with lots of variety).  From left to right:  Mr. Wilson, MWP, Dr. Grabes.

Friday evening was a great time with Mr. Martin Pohl who chose a great restaurant for dinner – Zu den 12 Apostein.  Martin then took me down to the river area where a concert was going on.  Frankfurt is a beautiful city, day or night!

Saturday and Sunday were ‘free days’ which were spent exploring Frankfurt a little more, delicious meals including the Coupe Denmark dessert (vanilla ice cream with lots of chocolate sauce and whipped cream – a childhood favorite.  I also added fresh, hot, grounded up raspberries).

On Monday the 30th, I had one final visit to the Lectron, GmbH storehouse with the purchase of additional blocks to do supplementary experiments.  How I will miss being surrounded by so many Lectron System models, parts, and accessories!  Instead of counting sheep to sleep, I count Lectron System blocks.  I am not obsessed however!

A little Oktoberfest music while waiting for my flight at the airport and at 17:00, flight back home and so the best trip to Frankfurt concluded.  Thanks to all the great people I met who helped make this such a successful trip.

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