Ernst Werner von Siemens

Ernst Werner von Siemens

German inventor and industrialist of the 19th century, Werner von Siemens was the pioneer of the electro industry and brought about a great technological advancement with many of his important discoveries. He earned a prominent position among the multitude of awards for achievements in science and technology.

Early Life, Education and Career:

Ernst Werner von Siemens was born at Lenthe, Hanover, Germany, on 13 December 1816, the oldest of four brothers. Siemens did not complete his schooling and joined the army to undertake training in engineering. For three years he was a pupil in the Military Academy at Berlin. In 1838 he earned his living as lieutenant in the artillery, and six years later he accepted the post of supervisor of the artillery workshops. In 1848 he had the task of defending the port of Kiel against the Danish fleet, and as commandant of Friedrichsort built the fortifications for the defense of Eckernforde harbor. The same year he was entrusted with the laying of the first telegraph line in Germany, which between Berlin and Frankfort-on-Main, and with that work his military career came to an end. His invention of the telegraph that used a needle to point to the right letter, instead of using Morse code led to formation of the electrical and telecommunications company Siemens as we know today.

In 1847, Siemens accompanied by mechanic Johann Georg Halske, established Siemens & Halske, a company that manufactured and repaired telegraphs. The company built offices in Berlin, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, and other major cities, and in due course emerged as one of the major electrical manufacturing companies in Europe.

Besides the telegraph Siemens made outstanding contributions to the expansion of electrical engineering and is therefore known as the founding father of the discipline in Germany. In 1880 he designed the world’s first electric elevator. In 1866 he independently discovered the dynamo-electrical principle and developed interest in the growth of the self-excited dynamo and electric-traction. In 1867 he delivered an important paper on electric generators before the Royal Society. During late 1877 Siemens received German patent No. 2355 for an electromechanical “dynamic” or moving-coil transducer, which was adapted by A. L. Thuras and E. C. Wente for the Bell System in the late 1920s for use as a loudspeaker.

Siemens married twice in his life. His first marriage was to Mathilde Duman in 1852 and had two children, Arnold von Siemens and Georg Wilhelm von Siemens. Almost two years after the death of his first wife, he remarried Antonie Siemens, a distant cousin in 1869. Children from second marriage were Hertha von Siemens and Carl Friedrich von Siemens.


Werner von Siemens died on December 13, 1892, a week before his seventy-sixth birthday, at Charlottenburg, Germany.