- The very first instrument
Even before founding the company, Dr. Lothar Rohde and Dr. Hermann Schwarz developed their first measuring instrument for Hermsdorf-Schomburg-Isolatoren-Gesellschaft (Hescho). The young engineers had received reports about new ceramic materials that exhibited very low dielectric losses at high frequencies. But a number of national and international institutes commissioned by Hescho had all come up with different dissipation factors. Rohde and Schwarz immediately embarked on developing a test setup that in no time at all was able to produce highly accurate results. It was an interference wavemeter with a wide range (6 m to 3600 m wavelength), and at the same time the first measuring instrument for RF ceramic compontent.
- Official founding of company
Everything started in an apartment of 120 square meters in Munich’s Thierschstrasse. Dr. Lothar Rohde and Dr. Hermann Schwarz rented it in the summer of 1933 to set up an electrotechnical laboratory. On November 17 the Physikalisch-technisches Entwicklungslabor Dr. L. Rohde and Dr. H. Schwarz (Physico-Technical Development Laboratory) was then entered in Munich’s official company registrar. Originally the two co-founders only intended to develop measuring instruments under contract for the electrical engineering industry – they did not think of actually manufacturing. As the demand for complete and ready instruments increased, they moved into high volume production.
- First export success
The young company had now become known through publications in scientific journals. Although the articles were mainly in German, at that time this was the international language of physics. Consequently, just six months after the company was founded, and without advertising or the help of a network of representatives, the first order arrived from abroad. A British manufacturer of insulating materials wanted a dissipation factor meter (50 MHz to 200 MHz) to measure dielectric losses on ceramic materials. In the same year, in addition to the laboratory, a workshop was also rented in Thierschstrasse, thus doubling the size of the premises.
- The first foreign office
As early as 1935, REMA Leo Haag S.A. in Spain started to sell instruments from the Physikalisch-technisches Entwicklungslabor (Phsyico-Technical Development Laboratory) established by Dr. Rohde and Dr. Schwarz. The first project was the sale of an WIP interference wavemeter to Dirección General de Correos y Telecomunicaciones, the Spanish PTT administration. That makes REMA the company’s oldest foreign representative.
- Expanding into production – the first move
In August 1937, just four years after it was established, the company moved into a former bread factory at Tassiloplatz near Munich’s Eastern Station. By then, the enterprise had grown to 35 employees, and it had developed 24 different instruments. Buying these new premises in the first place was a bold undertaking because the price was about twice the assets shown on the company’s balance sheets in 1936. As it turned out, the investment was the right step – to begin with there was enough space, but very soon even more rooms had to be rented for extra personnel to meet the constantly increasing demand.
- Reference project – the first portable crystal clock
As big as a cabinet and enormously expensive, such were the crystal clocks in those days. Development of the first portable crystal clock, weighing only 36 kg, spread the fame of Rohde & Schwarz far beyond the borders of Germany. This standard frequency source was accurate to within +-0.004 seconds a day, and in addition to being portable was relatively inexpensive. The precise time and frequency standard was used, among other things, as an astronomical clock, ship’s clock, standard clock for factories and power stations, as a synchronization aid in test shops, in laboratories and also to calibrate carrier frequencies.