200 years of history is a long time for any company. The family enterprise of A. Krüss has spent this long keeping up with, and ahead of, some breathtaking developments in science, technology, optics and precision engineering.
An amazing number of high-precision optical and other quite different products have been shipped worldwide from the company’s Hamburg laboratories. Although some have long since been forgotten, many are known throughout the world. But let us return to the origins, to 1796 and the Hamburg workshop of Edmund Gabory, ‘Mechanicus Opticus’.
Gabory was trained in London by none other than Jesse Ramsden, the world famous optician, at a time when precision engineering was flourishing. On finishing his training in 1790, Edmund set up a workshop of his own in London’s Holborn. In 1796 he moved with his family to Hamburg, the international port and trading city. This is where the talented optical engineer established his career and saw his business prosper. In 1813 Gabory died, and the company was taken over by his widow Mary and their son Edmund Nicolas. In 1823 Gabory’s daughter Mary Ann married Andres Krüss.
The combination of scientific skill and Hanseatic business acumen, tradition and perspective proved to be a successful formula. Together with his wife and her brother, Andres Krüss led the company to further success, adding nautical instruments and charts to their product range. Brisk trade with the neighbouring Scandinavian and other foreign countries developed. In 1844 Andres Krüss established a company of his own named Optical Institute A. Krüss. Four years later he fell victim to one of the cholera epidemics. After his death, the company was first run by his widow who then handed it over to her sons Edmund and William in 1851.
In 1859 Edmund set up the company’s own lens-grinding facility. In addition to camera lenses, they later manufactured projectors for dissolving views. In order to demonstrate the quality of his photographic lenses, he opened his own photographic studio. He was awarded first prize for his lenses at the World Exhibition in London in 1862. In 1865, Krüss patented his famous Magic Lantern, forerunner of the cinema projector.
Still in existence, the original company of Edmund Gabory was merged with Optical Institute A. Krüss in 1886. After completing his training with distinction at Steinheil and his university studies in Munich, Edmund’s son returned to take over the management of the company in 1888. In a period of many new inventions and scientific developments, Dr. Hugo Krüss established himself as a pioneer in theoretical and applied photometry. His Manual of Electromechanical Photometry became a standard work. In his capacity as chairman of the German Society for Precision Engineering and Optics, Dr. Krüss was appointed by the German government as an expert for customs and excise in 1892; while in office, he convinced the government to establish a tariff-heading specifically for ‘scientific instruments’. In 1917, the Hamburg Senate awarded Dr. Krüss a professorship in recognition of his achievements in the scientific world and his engagement in public affairs.
In 1904 Hugo’s son, Dr. Paul Krüss, had joined the family company at the age of only 24. The so-called ‘master craftsman with a doctorate’ managed the company from 1920 during the troubled times of crisis and World War, as well as during the later restructuring of the German economy. Using his international connections in the world of science, he developed a range of scientific instruments including laboratory equipment for schools.
Andres Krüss, Paul’s son, was an engineer and became a partner in 1946 in the 6th generation. Due to his hard work during the ‘German Economic Miracle’, Andres secured new customers and new markets. Dr. Paul Krüss died in 1976 at the age of 96. No one else had ever run the company so long.
Today the company is run in a seventh generation by Martina Krüss-Leibrock, who took over A.Krüss Optronic in 1980. Martina is the daughter of Andres, who died in 1992. In 2005, Martina’s daughter Karin Leibrock joined the management of the company as 8th generation. Since end of 2013, Thomas Schmauck joined in as managing director.
Today A.KRÜSS Optronic remains famous for high-precision, state-of-the-art measuring instruments.
The traditional craftsman’s art of precision engineering has been perfectly combined with innovative electronic technology.