Press information

03.04.2006 Overview

Anniversary of the trademark on April 17, 2006

100 years of OSRAM – light has a name

It is one of the most traditional brand names in the world, synonymous with light around the globe and first saw the light of day one hundred years ago. On April 17, 1906 the brand name of OSRAM was entered in the Trademark Directory of the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin. Who would have thought 100 years ago that one day the name would stand for one of the largest lighting manufacturers in the world with sales of 4.3 billion euros? “Who would have thought that 100 years ago? That’s the slogan that we are using throughout our trademark centenary celebrations in 2006”, said Martin Goetzeler, President and CEO of OSRAM.

86.924: This was the register number in the Trademark Directory, the start of an exciting story in the history of German industry. The brand name of OSRAM was “born” in 1906 and registered by Deutsche Gasglühlicht-Anstalt (also known as Auer-Gesellschaft). 13 years later (on July 1, 1919) it became part of a company name: OSRAM Werke GmbH Kommanditgesellschaft. At the time, Auer-Gesellschaft, AEG and Siemens & Halske AG combined their lamp production activities; since 1978 Siemens has been the sole shareholder. In 1919, the world famous picture logo with the light bulb also made its first appearance. “Today, the stylised lamp in our picture logo is a symbol not only for light but also for good ideas - and our passion for intelligent light”, said Martin Goetzeler. The world famous name from 1906 was created from the names of the two material that were needed at the time to produce filaments – initially Osmium and later Wolfram (or tungsten as it is now more commonly known).

International perspectives since the very beginning
Just a few years after the company was founded, offices were opened in various European countries and also in Rio der Janeiro and Shanghai. This global mentality has remained intact. OSRAM now has a worldwide presence with 49 factories in 19 countries. “Our 38,000 employees on every continent are working to provide better light for a better quality of life for customers in about 150 countries”. To ensure that OSRAM remains one of the world’s most successful brands in the lighting sector for the next 100 years, the company is investing more than five percent of its turnover in research and development each year. One of the main areas on which OSRAM is focusing its attention is opto-electronic semiconductor light sources such as light emitting diodes (LEDs).

From light bulbs to high-tech products
“OSRAM is a light bulb manufacturer” - this statement is certainly true but not the complete picture. Classic light bulbs now account for only about three percent of worldwide sales. “We have developed into a high-tech company in the lighting industry. Opto-electronic semiconductor light sources now account for 11 percent of total sales. Electronics are also playing a more and more important role”, explained Martin Goetzeler. According to the OSRAM boss, electronic control gear can not only extend the life of lamps by as much as 50 percent but also reduce energy consumption for lighting systems by up to 30 percent. Chips for tiny energy-saving opto-electronic light sources, known as light emitting diodes (LEDs), are developed and fabricated in Regensburg in the world’s most advanced optical chip factory. There are now LEDs from OSRAM that are powerful enough to be used in mini projectors.

Intelligent lighting solutions from the very beginning
OSRAM has been working on intelligent lighting from its early days. As long ago as 1925, the company launched Bilux, an innovative car headlight lamp that offered both high beam and dipped beam from a single light source. OSRAM also has a long tradition of setting standards in cinema lighting. The XBO cinema lamp, which was launched in 1954, was so successful it was presented with an Oscar® in 1983. It is still used today for various applications including effect lighting.

With the launch of the OSRAM Dulux EL in 1985, OSRAM pioneered energy-saving lamps for the home. OSRAM was the first manufacturer to integrate the electronic control gear (ECG) in the base of an energy-saving lamp. And innovative halogen lamps such as the OSRAM Ministar, the world’s smallest halogen reflector lamp, provide light where space is tight.

Light from OSRAM also helps improve our quality of life, often in ways that we hardly even notice. Without lighting that offers excellent colour rendering for example we would be bound to choose the wrong colour pullover in the shop - and be disappointed when we got it home. Without sensors we would have even more problems parking, and without modern spotlighting the film and TV industries would be back in the dark ages.


Highlights from 100 years of the OSRAM brand

Who would have thought 100 years ago that producing light would give rise to so much creativity? Over the past 100 years OSRAM has enlightened the world with numerous innovations - here are some highlights:

  • In 1925, Bilux was launched, the first fully developed car headlight lamp that offered both high beam and dipped beam from a single light source. In 1971 the H4 halogen lamp set new standards in vehicle lighting. At the start of the 1990s OSRAM presented the first xenon headlight lamps; in 2005 it launched a headlight system that was entirely mercury free.
  • The OSRAM fluorescent lamp from 1936 had a diameter of 38 millimetres. As a result of continual development, a slim fluorescent lamp with a diameter of just 7 millimetres was presented for the first time in 1993.
  • In 1954 the curtain went up for the XBO xenon high-pressure lamp for cinema projection and effect lighting. In 1983 it was presented with an Oscar®, followed in 1987 by another for the HMI lamp.
  • In 1968 the first high-intensity Powerstar HQI high-pressure metal halide lamps saw the light of day. They were used at the 1972 Olympics in Munich to provide the right light for TV coverage. Having undergone continual development, their modern equivalents will be illuminating Olympic stadiums in China in 2008.
  • In 1980 OSRAM launched the Quicktronic electronic control gear. It not only saved energy it also extended the life of the lamps connected to it and made living and working under fluorescent lamps much more enjoyable by offering flicker-free light. With the launch of the OSRAM Dulux EL energy-saving lamp, OSRAM pioneered energy-saving lamps for the home. In 1985 OSRAM became the first manufacturer to integrate the electronic control gear (ECG) in the base of an energy-saving lamp.
  • In 2001, OSRAM adopted a pioneering role in thin-film technology; this technology ensures that almost all the light that is generated in the chip is available for the application. Without it, products such as Ostar would not be possible. This high-power light source is suitable for use in mini projectors and small beamers.
  • The world’s smallest halogen lamp, the Ministar, was launched in 2004. The reflector is not fitted outside the lamp but is integrated in it. It has given luminaire manufacturers enormous freedom of design.
  • Launched in 2005, the Puritec UV system from OSRAM is used to purify drinking water with the aid of ultraviolet light. The process is economical and does not involve any chemicals. This makes life much easier for campers and long-distance travellers - and gives people in drought areas of the world the chance to store water and purify it as they need it.

About the company

OSRAM is one of the two leading lighting manufacturers in the world. In the year ending September 30, 2005 the company, headquartered in Munich, achieved sales of 4.3 billion euros, 88 percent of which came from outside Germany. OSRAM is a high-tech company in the lighting sector. Around 40 percent of sales comes from innovative products. This global player employs more than 38,000 people worldwide, supplies customers in some 150 countries and has 49 production facilities in 19 countries.

Press contact:


Reglindis Pfeiffer
Tel: +49-89-6213-2305
Fax: +49-89-6213-3457