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Siemens & Halske:

Indo-European telegraph line London to Calcutta 1870

After a construction time of only two years, Siemens & Halske began operating the Indo-European telegraph line (Indo-line) in 1870. The route was over 11,000 km long and extended from London to Calcutta.

A dispatch to Teheran required only one minute, while it took a sensational 28 minutes to reach Calcutta.

Siemens & Halske History

Siemens was founded by Werner von Siemens on 12 October 1847. Based on the telegraph, his invention used a needle to point to the sequence of letters, instead of using Morse code. The company, then called Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske, opened its first workshop on October 12.

In 1848, the company built the first long-distance telegraph line in Europe; 500 km from Berlin to Frankfurt am Main. In 1850 the founder’s younger brother, Carl Wilhelm Siemens started to represent the company in London. In the 1850s, the company was involved in building long distance telegraph networks in Russia. In 1855, a company branch headed by another brother, Carl Heinrich von Siemens, opened in St Petersburg, Russia. In 1867, Siemens completed the monumental Indo-European (Calcutta to London) telegraph line.[5]

In 1881, a Siemens AC Alternator driven by a watermill was used to power the world’s first electric street lighting in the town of Godalming, United Kingdom. The company continued to grow and diversified into electric trains and light bulbs. In 1890, the founder retired and left the company to his brother Carl and sons Arnold and Wilhelm. Siemens & Halske (S&H) was incorporated in 1897. In 1907 Siemens had 34,324 employees and was the seventh-largest company in the German empire by number of employees.[6] (see List of German companies by employees in 1907)

In 1919, S&H and two other companies jointly formed the Osram lightbulb company. A Japanese subsidiary was established in 1923.

In 1906, the Osram incandescent lamp was developed; its name was formed from the German words OSmium, from the element osmium, and WolfRAM, from the element tungsten (called wolfram in many languages and an alternative name in English). The British company General Electric Company imported Osram filaments for their own production of light bulbs. In 1920, Auergesellschaft, Siemens & Halske, and Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) combined their electric lamp production with the formation of the company Osram.


Type Corporation

Industry Lighting

Founded 1906

Headquarters Munich, Germany

During the 1920s and 1930s, S&H started to manufacture radios, television sets, and electron microscopes.


1.      a b c d e “Siemens AG Annual report”. 2009.

2.      “Siemens AG Annual report”. Retrieved 2009-10-03.

3.      “”. Retrieved 2008-01-12.

4.      “Siemens AG – Annual Report”. January 2008. Retrieved 25 February 2008.

5.      “Siemens history”. Retrieved 2008-01-12.

6.      Fiedler, Martin (1999). “Die 100 größten Unternehmen in Deutschland – nach der Zahl ihrer Beschäftigten – 1907, 1938, 1973 und 1995” (in German). Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte (Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck) 1: 32–66.

7.      Ardnacrusha – Dam hard job – Sunday Mirror, August 4, 2002


9.      BBC – Zyklon controversy

10. – Ravensbruck

11.  United Nations Security Council meeting 4943 page 7 on 15 April 2004 (retrieved 2007-09-06)

12.  “Board member arrested in new blow for Siemens”.

13.  Associated Press quoted by Forbes: Nokia-Siemens Venture to Start in April, March 15, 2007

14.  International Herald Tribune: Bribery trial deepens Siemens woes, March 13, 2007

15.  Agande, Ben; Miebi Senge (2007-12-05). “Bribe: FG blacklists Siemens”. Vanguard (Vanguard Media). Retrieved 2007-12-07.

16.  Taiwo, Juliana (2007-12-06). “FG Blacklists Siemens, Cancels Contract”. Thisday (Leaders & Company). Retrieved 2007-12-07.

17.  Siemens to spin off SEN into JV with Gores Group

18.  “Hi-tech helps Iranian monitoring”. BBC News. 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2010-04-07.

19.  Washington Times



22. a b EU cracks down on electricity-gear cartel, EurActiv, 25 January 2007 (English)

23.  Lichtblau, Eric; Dougherty, Carter (2008-12-16). “Siemens to Pay $1.34 Billion in Fines, The New York Times”. Retrieved 2008-12-16.



26.  “The New York Times”. 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2007-05-15.

27.  “New organizational structure of Siemens AG as of January 1, 2008”. Retrieved 2008-03-08.

28.  [1]

29.  Power Generation, Power Transmission & Distribution

30.  Siemens VDO


Further reading

●     Weiher, Siegfried von /Herbert Goetzeler (1984). The Siemens Company, Its Historical Role in the Progress of Electrical Engineering 1847–1980, 2nd ed. Berlin and Munich.

●     Feldenkirchen, Wilfried (2000). Siemens, From Workshop to Global Player, Munich.

●     Feldenkirchen, Wilfried / Eberhard Posner (2005): The Siemens Entrepreneurs, Continuity and Change, 1847–2005, Ten Portraits, Munich.

Siemens & Halske:

Indo-European telegraph line London to Calcutta 1870

“A dispatch to Teheran required only one minute, while it took a sensational 28 minutes to reach Calcutta.”


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