From a Precision Mechanical Workshop to a Family Business

At the age of 24, Florenz Sartorius founded the "Feinmechanische Werkstatt F. Sartorius" in Göttingen. The short-beam analytical balance that he developed further became internationally known, so that the 3,000th balance was delivered by 1895 - the mechanical workshop developed into a medium-sized company.

Through his own innovations and acquisitions, Florenz Sartorius soon expanded the product portfolio to include incubators for poultry farming, bacteriological heating devices and microtomes, as well as astronomical, geodetic and physical instruments. By involving his sons in the company management and transferring the business in the 1920s, he prepared the way for the second generation.

1870 - 1926

1870 Foundation

After his apprenticeship in precision mechanics and his time as a trainee, Florenz Sartorius founded the "Feinmechanische Werkstatt F. Sartorius" in downtown Göttingen at the age of 24. Initially, he built instruments for the professors at the Georg-August University. At a very early stage, the focus was on the production and further development of short-arm analytical balances, a technology he had become acquainted with during his apprenticeship. By shortening the weighing time and making them more user-friendly, the balances significantly speed up the work processes of customers in research and industry.

1876 International Success at an Early Stage

Florenz Sartorius successfully presented his innovative balances at trade fairs and international exhibitions, including the 1876 World's Fair in Philadelphia, USA. The award he received there raised his reputation and, like other awards, soon adorned product catalogs and letterheads. The patent law passed the following year in Germany, of which Florenz Sartorius made extensive use, also allowed him to protect his intellectual property.

1898 Expansion and Relocation

When Sartorius delivered its 3,000th analytical balance in 1895, the precision mechanical workshop had developed into a business with 60 employees. After the company had already expanded several times, Sartorius moved into a newly built plant outside the city in 1898, which would remain the company's headquarters until the end of 2017. Another part of the plant, which was later abandoned, has been nearby Rauschenwasser since 1892. In addition to balances, the product range also included incubators for poultry farming and heating devices for bacteriological purposes - the first points of contact with microbiology.

More About Incubators and Heating Devices

1906 Diversification through Acquisitions

By acquiring the companies August Becker (Göttingen) and Ludwig Tesdorpf (Stuttgart), Sartorius expanded its portfolio to include microtomes as well as astronomical, geodetic, and physical instruments. The company is now called "F. Sartorius, Vereinigte Werkstätten für wissenschaftliche Instrumente von F. Sartorius, A. Becker und Ludwig Tesdorpf" and is divided into four divisions. The older sons Wilhelm, Erich and Julius became involved in the company.

1914 Family Business

The company was transformed into Sartorius-Werke AG and endowed with a share capital of 610,000 marks. All four sons received shares and assumed functions in the company. In addition to Erich, Wilhelm, and Julius, Florenz Jr. also joined the company. With the outbreak of World War I, the factory was partially converted to wartime production, and Sartorius produced, among other things, ammunition, and provision wagons. The important export business, on the other hand, came to an almost complete standstill.

1918 Consequences of the First World War

Julius Sartorius was killed a few months before the end of the war. In the same year, Florenz Jr. left the company under unclear circumstances. The conversion to a peacetime economy and the economic recovery, as well as the rebuilding of exports, were sluggish. The uncertainties of the overall economic environment in the first years of the Weimar Republic were one of the main reasons for this. Production focused on balances, incubators, and microtomes.

1925 Death of Florenz Sartorius

Company founder Florenz Sartorius dies at the age of 79. By this time, the succession to the company had already taken place, as in the early 1920s, he transferred the business to his two sons who remained in the company and moved to the Supervisory Board himself. Since then, Wilhelm Sartorius has been responsible for the commercial management and Erich Sartorius for the technical management of Sartorius-Werke AG. Exports began to recover, but the domestic market remained a challenge.

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