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Made in Germany
"Made in Germany" is recognized around the world as a label for products of high quality, standards and value. Germany's global repute moreover extends to great inventions, ranging from aspirin to the theory of relativity - all created by famous Germans.
1971 | Mercedes-Benz
Rocket application for safety
Thirty milliseconds are often decisive. In an accident, the airbag should have opened by then. The idea for the first “air protection” for motor vehicles was already being developed in the 1960s. However, the compressed air system tested worked too slowly. In 1971, Mercedes-Benz made a technical breakthrough. Triggered by an electronic sensor, a small rocket engine fills the airbag in milliseconds. However, the pressure is so high that restraining straps still have to hold the air pillow. Since the gases produced were soon found to be harmful, the fuel was replaced by a tablet that released only harmless substances as they burned. It, too, had to stand aside for new systems that combine pressure gas and pyrotechnics. Used for the first time in 1981 as optional equipment for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the airbag has now become standard. And it has been helping to save lives ever since.
Felix Hoffmann
The white wonder
Enrico Caruso swore by it as did Thomas Mann. As a jack-of-all-trades, the aspirin tablet relieves pain, lowers fever and inhibits inflammations. On August 10th, 1897, the company Bayer began its victorious march against pain: Felix Hoffmann synthesized a white powder – acetylsalicylic acid. In addition to relieving pain, pure salicylic acid also causes intense nausea and corrodes the mucous membranes; Hoffmann developed the first pain remedy with minimal side effects. After testing within the company, the sales figures were sensational. The medication became the best-selling preparation on the market. Aspirin is one of the world’s most-favored medications for pain, fever and inflammation. About 12,000 of the 50,000 tons of acetylsalicylic acid produced annually still come from Bayer.
Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler
Dual drive for all
Finally, freedom of movement the idea for a vehicle that would permit rapid, independent locomotion came to two German inventors almost simultaneously. In the year 1886, Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler made humankind mobile: with a motor-driven tricycle and a motorized carriage. At first, Germans were unenthusiastic about the new invention. “Too loud, too fast, too dangerous” was the judgment. Despite that criticism, the automobile conquered the world in the 1920s.
Theory of Relativity
1905 | Albert Einstein
The spirit of the time is relative
A pop star usually gets to be one by serving up easily digestible fare that is easy to sing along with. Albert Einstein enjoys this status, although practically no one can sing his greatest hit, the Theory of Relativity. The man with his tongue stuck out knew how to market himself and his inventions even at the start of the 20th century. In 1905 he questioned the absoluteness of time and space. Time, he claimed, always depends on the speed of the moving body. Consequently, time measurements are always relative to their system of reference. As a result, clocks in planes or express trains always run slower than the watch of a pedestrian. Together with his formulation of the General Theory of Relativity in 1915, Einstein changed the understanding of time and space worldwide.
X-ray Technology
Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen
Transparent procedure
To see through something impenetrable, people often wish they had x-ray vision. In this way secrets, the unexpected or undesirable can be uncovered. In 1895, in contrast, the inventor of the x-ray was not driven by the desire to look through anything. Simply by chance, the physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered light in a test setup, where, according to previous physical knowledge, there should have been none. The special thing about this light is its ability to penetrate matter. This gave him the idea to photograph the inside of people. In contrast to soft tissue, the hard tissue absorbs the radiation especially well and leaves behind white shadows in the x-ray image. This makes it especially easy to diagnose broken bones. A medical revolution!
1941 | Konrad Zuse
Formula 01
AND OR NOT: Equipped with three logical circuits and 2,600 relays, the first fully functional, programmable computer was used in 1941. The inventor of the electro-mechanical, binary calculator Z3, Konrad Zuse was a construction engineer from Berlin. Since the tinkerer hated doing math, he began in 1936 to construct a purely mechanical calculator. The memory of the Z1 consisted of metal platelets that pushed pins into two different positions – zero and one. However, the rough components got stuck easily, resulting in repeated imprecise results. As World War II began, resources became scarce. By using relays of the widest variety of shapes and voltages, he still succeeded in making the leap to an electro-mechanical computer, called the Z3, which could carry out the four basic types of calculation in three seconds.
1936 | Heinrich Focke
Acrobat of the air
The seed of maple tree showed how it could be done: rising by turning on its own axis. Since the 4th century A.D., people have been investigating vertical ascent using horizontal rotors. The first fully controllable helicopter was demonstrated in Berlin’s Deutschlandhalle in 1936. The inventor of the Fw 61 was the engineer Heinrich Focke. By tilting the rotor blades, the helicopter can execute movements in all directions.
MP3 Format
1987 | Fraunhofer Institute for integrated circuits
Compressed quality
Favorite T-shirt, bikini and 800 songs: converted to MP3, today you can take along an entire music collection. By eliminating all the frequencies that the human ear cannot perceive, the MP3 format shrinks the data volume to one-twelfth its original size. In 1987 researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) succeeded in compressing audio files to MP3 format for the first time. Initially conceived as a way to improve the quality of telephony, the invention soon revolutionized the entire music industry via the internet. Despite abuse through illegal trading, the new technology was developed further to enrich our everyday lives by providing new multichannel capabilities and possibilities for an even greater reduction in file size. Players with storage functions make it possible to enjoy this compressed musical pleasure even while out and about.
1930 | Manfred von Ardenne
An eye-catcher for the living room
In 1953, as Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, a large number of Germans participated in the event. Live – thanks to television technology, which was slowly but surely conquering the living room. On Christmas Eve 1930, Manfred von Ardennes made the first successful electronic television transmission. The principle was already known: on the transmission end the images are broken down and the reassembled at the receiving end. To scan the image, von Adrienne used the luminous spot of a Braun tube, which made the electric beams visible. In 1935, the first regular television program was broadcast; however, this new form of entertainment did not make its breakthrough until after the Second World War. Formerly, people got together at the cinema; now they gathered around the television. Since the early 1990’s, transmissions have been available around the clock. Viewers can now select from hundreds of programs.
Small Format Camera
1925 | Oskar Barnack
From plate to film
Tabloids, daily newspapers, vacation memories and family photos: without photographs, life would be missing some lasting visual impressions. In 1925 Oskar Barnack’s pocket camera laid the cornerstone for spontaneous snapshots. As usual back then, the professional precision mechanic and hobby photographer initially utilized the bulky bellows camera. Very soon, he made a noteworthy discovery: the pictures on the plates showed more detail than necessary – for Barnack an indication that a smaller format would also satisfy the eye of the viewer.
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