Robert Bosch and the Growth of the Automotive Industry

On this day, September 23, in the year 1861, the inventor of some of the most important parts of an automobile was born in Ulm, Germany. His name was Robert Bosch, the founder of the engineering firm Robert Bosch Gmbh.

Robert Bosch
Robert Bosch (Credit: wiki commons)

Robert Bosch was the eleventh of twelve children of a well-situated farmer couple in the southern part of Germany. After attending a technical school in the old city of Ulm, he went to work as a precision mechanic in several companies in Germany and the United Kingdom. He also went to the United States to work for Thomas Edison.

In 1886, Robert Bosch established his own “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering” in the city of Stuttgart. From his shop came the invention of the magneto ignition device that would hasten the development of the automotive industry.

In 1902, one of the shop’s engineers invented the high-voltage magneto ignition system with spark plug. With this product, Robert Bosch became the most important supplier of automotive products in the world. Soon, other products such as lighting systems, starters, horns, and diesel fuel injection were patented.

To better serve his overseas customers, Robert setup sales offices in many countries such as Great Britain, France, Italy, and the United States. By 1913, more than 80% of sales came from overseas customers.

Robert Bosch was one of the first industrialists to promote social responsibility. He provided training for his employees and introduced the eight-hour work per day. In 1940, he donated funds for the construction of a hospital in Stuttgart.

Robert Bosch died of complications in 1942 at the age of 80. He married twice and had 4 children, one of whom died in infancy.



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