International Success 1882-1907
Christian Gottlieb Erbe (1855-1907)
|It was the age of Bismarck. Central Europe was being gripped more and more by the Industrial Revolution when Christian Gottlieb Erbe took over the shop and business of his father in 1882 at the age of 27.
Previously he had worked as an apprentice (optician) in Stuttgart. Then, like his father, he travelled and extended his training for several years as a journeyman apprentice. He worked in Vienna, Berlin, Holland, and Freiberg in Saxony.
Unlike his father, who preferred to do everything alone, feeling that no assistant could do it right, Chr. G. Erbe hired numerous helpers. He had made the acquaintance of some of them during his journeyman years and brought them to Tübingen from Berlin and Freiberg.
He was able to build on his father’s contacts with the University institutes in Tübingen. His openness for technical innovations led him to significantly broaden the line of products and commercial articles.
Chr. G. Erbe also presented his products at various trade shows at home and abroad, where they drew attention because of their solid and precise construction down to the last detail. They often received prizes, e.g. at the International Trade Show in Antwerp and at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicgo. In the year 1901, Chr. G. Erbe was appointed Purveyor to the Royal Court.
After Chr. G. Erbe died in 1907, his wife Pauline took over the direction of the business with the support of their son, Christian Otto, who was only 23 years old at the time.
|A wide range of batteries and induction coils for medical use was developed and produced by Chr. G. Erbe. Some of these are still preserved in the company’s historic collection. Even today, they impress any student of precision engineering with their solid craftsmanship and design.|
|The ophthalmoscope “Tübinger Model” was regularly taken by Chr. G. Erbe even in those early days to the ophthalmological congress in Heidelberg, where he displayed his products f|
|The Pristley Smith perimeter, with its adjustable chin rest, is an example of the ophthalmological instruments which were already being offered in those days.|
|Microtomes made it possible to produce thin tissue sections for bacteriologic and histologic studies. Chr. G. Erbe worked intensively on these instruments, and produced ever better versions. His models drew much attention to themselves because they functioned so reliably but were nevertheless uncomplicated in construction and thus affordable even for students. The Microtomes were soon well known and they were exported to many other countries. The slaughterhouses of Sydney and Chicago, for example, used Erbe microtomes to make tissue sections for the Meat Inspection Board.|
|This forehead lamp is one of the many optical instruments which Chr. G. Erbe constructed. Lamps for illuminating the operating field were also part of his line of products, along with the instruments which his father had already produced.|