Werner von Siemens

Inventor and International Entrepreneur

Wilfried Feldenkirchen

Historical Perspectives on Business Enterprise



204 pp. 6x9

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Werner von Siemens (1816–92) is best known in the English-speaking world as an inventor and pioneering electrical engineer. While previous studies have concentrated on von Siemen’s work as a scientist and technician, this biography focuses on his life as a businessman. Siemens was not only a successful inventor but also an entrepreneur with a broad and international business vision.

Siemens first achieved success in telegraphy. His firm, Siemens & Halske, built Germany’s first important telegraph line and went on to build line elsewhere in Europe and Asia. Siemens then turned his hand to electric technology. He was instrumental in creating the conditions for the advancement of electrical technology from the experimental stage into the modern electrical industry.

Siemens combined his engineering brilliance with entrepreneurial skills to develop a business whose activities at an early stage nearly spanned the globe. Siemens held a multinational vision almost from the start. The Siemens firms were unique in that, rather than starting small then slowly growing and branching out, they were from their inception international organizations.

The story of Siemens is a vital part of the history of industrialization in Europe. It will make fascinating reading for scholars and students of German history, business history, and the history of technology.

Wilfried Feldenkirchen is professor of business history at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, and academic director of the Siemens Archives in Munich.