Engineer Georg Knorr established Knorr-Bremse GmbH in 1905 in Boxhagen-Rummelsburg, Neue Bahnhofstraße, near Berlin . Its production of railway braking systems derived from a company founded in 1883. In 1911 the company merged with "Continentale Bremsen-GmbH" to found Knorr-Bremse Aktiengesellschaft . From 1913 onwards, a second manufacturing plant, new headquarters, a heating plant and other annex buildings were erected.
The initial basis for Knorr's commercial success was provided by an agreement with the Prussian State Railways, which at that time had formed the Prussian-Hessian Railway Company, to supply single-chamber express braking systems, first for passenger and later on for freight trains. A compressed-air brake, the "Knorr Druckluft-Einkammerschnellbremse" , along with its derivatives, offered considerably enhanced safety performance compared with traditional systems.
In the early twentieth century, train guards still had to operate brakes by hand, from so-called "brake vans". The first pneumatic brakes were of a basic design, but before long, indirect automatic systems using control valves were developed. See History of rail transport in Germany for an overview.
In 1920 the manufacturing plant of the first Bayerische Motoren-Werke AG located in Munich, Moosacher Straße, became a subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse, delivering brake systems as Süddeutsche Bremsen-AG for the Bavarian Group Administration, the former "Royal Bavarian State Railways".
There was no further interest in motor engines for aircraft and automobiles. The engine construction and the company name "BMW" were sold in 1922 to financier Camillo Castiglioni to be combined with the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG , establishing the company a second time. For details see History of BMW and BFW/Messerschmitt.
1922 until 1927 the new main manufacturing plant in Berlin at the Hirschberger Straße/Schreiberhauer Straße next to the Berlin Ringbahn was erected, a tunnelled road combined both the old and the new site.
The second main area of activity emerged in 1922, when Knorr moved into pneumatic braking systems for commercial road vehicles. The company was the first in Europe to develop a system that applied the brakes simultaneously to all four wheels of a truck as well as its trailer. The resultant reduction in braking distances made a significant contribution to improving road safety.
A small number of the Swedish light MG35/36 machine guns AKA "Knorr-Bremse machine guns" were also manufactured by Knorr-Bremse for the Wehrmacht during the Second World War.
The company is relocated at the Süddeutsche Bremsen-AG plant in Munich, the former sites in the eastern part of Berlin being expropriated after 1945.
Mr. Bernd Spies (Member of Exec. Board)
Mr. Andreas Spitzauer (Head of Investor Relations)
Alexander Stechert-Mayerhofer (Head of Corp. Communications)
Recognition and Awards
Dr. Frank Markus Weber (Interim CEO, CFO & Exec. Board Member)
Dr. Jurgen Wilder (Member of Exec. Board & Head of Rail Vehicle Systems (RVS))
Dr. Claudia Mayfeld (Member of Exec. Board)