The origin of GRAETZ Strahlungsmeßtechnik GmbH goes back to the 19th century. Albert GRAETZ, the inventor of the “Petromax” kerosene starch lamp introduced in 1910, founded the lamp factory Ehrich & GRAETZ OHG in Berlin with Emil Ehrich in 1866. The company originally manufactured lamp-burners, stoves and heating stoves for liquid and gaseous fuels. In 1925, the production of radios began.
The descendants Erich and Fritz GRAETZ moved the company to Altena in Westphalia after the Second World War and founded the GRAETZ KG. In 1952, the production of televisions was started and over time other household appliances were added, such as music chests and coffee machines. The company grew into a well-known manufacturer of radio and television sets as well as the world-famous “Petromax”. In the meantime, up to 4,000 employees worked at the GRAETZ plants in Altena.
A small research group at GRAETZ KG was involved very early on in the development of Radiation measurement devicesbased on the Geiger-Müller counter tube principle – colloquially known as Geiger counters – for detecting and measuring ionizing radiation. On May 12, 1949, GRAETZ Strahlungsmeßtechnik GmbH was founded in Altena. In 1959, the company was renamed GRAETZ-Raytronik GmbH.
In 1961, Erich GRAETZ sold the entire company with thirteen production sites to Standard Elektrik Lorenz AG (SEL), which was one of the ten largest companies in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s and 1970s and belonged to the US group ITT. After the end of the boom, ITT sold the company including the GRAETZ plants at the end of 1986 to the French Compagnie Générale d’Electricité (CGE), which later became Alcatel. In 1988, the Finnish company Nokia took over this division.
GRAETZ Strahlungsmeßtechnik GmbH was sold by the Nokia Group to the Hamburg company Herfurth with effect from December 3, 1990 and renamed Strahlungsmeßtechnik GmbH Altena.
Although the radio and television business in the former GRAETZ factories was discontinued by Nokia in Altena in 1993, Strahlungsmeßtechnik GmbH remained at the traditional location. In the same year, however, the parent company, Herfurth of Hamburg, filed for insolvency.
After five years under the management of the insolvency administrator, a management buy-out (MBO) of four leading employees of the company from the insolvency estate took place in 1998. From then on, the company again operated under the founding name GRAETZ Strahlungsmeßtechnik GmbH and still exists today at its place of origin.
The historic building has since been taken over from Nokia by Möhling GmbH & Co KG – a leading international manufacturer of fasteners. It has been the headquarters of GRAETZ Strahlungsmeßtechnik GmbH since its foundation in 1949.
Although GRAETZ Strahlungsmeßtechnik GmbH can look back on an eventful company history, it has remained an owner-managed, medium-sized company for more than 20 years.