Niklaus Gerber is born at Thun near Berne, Switzerland. He later attends the Universities of Berne and Zurich, pursues his studies of chemistry in Paris and Munich and spends 2 years at the Swiss-American Milk Co. in Little Falls, N.Y. After returning to Switzerland hee soon becomes a pioneer in dairying aiming to improve the quality of milk. Dr. N. Gerber is today considered one of the most initiative professionals of the early days of the Swiss dairy industry.
Dr. N. Gerber founds his own dairy, named United Dairies of Zurich. By 1905 United Dairies of Zurich is one of the most modern dairies in Europe. Dr. N. Gerber Gerber is looking for methods to effectively test the milk, because the quality is very poor due to lack of hygiene and dilution with water during this time. Dr. N. Gerber's goal is to eliminate these problems with a view to turning milk products into first quality food.
ln the "Swiss Milk Journal" Dr. N. Gerber presents his "Acid-Butyrometry", a fast, simple and reliable analysis of fat content in the milk. Soon to be known as the "Gerber-Method" it conquers the dairy laboratories of the world. Originally meant to be used only in this own dairy, Dr. Gerber soon answers requests from milk processors from all over the world to sell his equipment. A separate company is formed to commerialise the Gerber test.
Gerber founds the "Dr. N. Gerber's Acid-Butyrometry Ltd., Leipzig". The location is selected for two reasons: First, the nearby glass blowing industry is capable of producing high quality butyrometers and second, the local company, Hugershoff, holds patent of a new circular centrifuge needed to run Gerber tests. The two companies merge to "Dr. N. Gerber's m.b.H Zurich and Leipzig" and produce and further advance the Gerber instruments.
Dr. N. Gerber suddenly passes away in 1914. His son, Walo N. Gerber takes charge of his father's companies. Due to World War I he founds a new company "Dr. Gerber and Sons" in Zurich for the marketing of Gerber Instruments.
Karl. Schneider enters the company as an apprentice. He later becomes sales manager, director and partner.
World War II cuts the subsidary of Leipzig from the export markets. K. Schneider sets up production facilities for the whole range of Gerber Instruments in Switzerland. Manufacture and sales are centralized at the parent company. Dr. N. Gerber's Co. in Leipzig survives, but comes under communist control and ist ultimately nationalized.
Walo N. Gerber dies during a trip to Africa. His son Jim Erik Gerber takes over the company. In order to compensate for the loss of the company in Leipzig, J.E. Gerber founds a branch in Munich for marketing to the German and Austrian markets.
Jim E. Gerber becomes the victim of an airplane crash. K. Schneider takes charge of the parent company in Zurich including all the rights belonging to the Gerber brand name. The manager of the Munich company takes over the local subsidary and later sells it to a competitor which from thereon carries the name of Dr. N. Gerber in his company name.
K. Schneider & Co. Ltd. successor of J.E. Gerber & Co produces and markets Gerber Instruments world-wide. Gerber Instruments continue to be indispensable in the dairy laboratory. Over the years more advanced methods have become popular for mass analyses particularly in industrialized countries. However the Gerber method remains in place. The Gerber test is still a preffered and reliable method for testing most diary products. It is ideal for laboratories with limited need for routine testing and extremely popular in countries without highly developed technical expertise. It is also used world-wide for calibrating sophisticated infrared instruments.
Hans Bühler joined the company and becomes managing director.
100 years Gerber Instruments - Just in time for the 100 year anniversary the new company building at Effretikon near Zurich is ready. The Bernese Institute for Dairy Technology commemorates the 100 year anniversary of Dr. N. Gerber, inaugurating a museum dedicated to its co-founder.
The company is renamed Gerber Instruments AG.