3rd generation

Beginning of the HF-Technology 1907-1965

Christian Otto Erbe (1884-1965)

Christian Otto Erbe Christian Otto Erbe, born in 1884, joined the company’s management in 1907, a year of economic crisis in Germany. The early death of his father compelled him to put aside his plans to study at the university, but he never abandoned them completely. He attended the Higher College for Experimental Physics under Professor Paschen and in particular studied optometric problems. He concluded his studies by earning a degree at the School for Opticians in Jena, Germany. Chr. O. Erbe directed the company during difficult times. The First World War, the subsequent economic crisis with worldwide inflation and depression, and then the Second World War constantly put the company’s existence to the test. The situation was exacerbated by heavy burdens in the family; two of his sons fell in the Second World War. Nevertheless, the craftsman’s business of his father developed steadily under his management into a true industrial plant. Chr. O. Erbe was also Chairman of the Trade Association for Surgical Instruments and Medical Service Companies in Southern Württemberg.

Chr. O. Erbe was intensely involved in local and regional politics. He received the majority of votes in the Tübingen municipal elections of 1946. In 1948, he became First Deputy of the Municipal Town Council and thus Deputy to the Chief Mayor. He was a member of the Constituent Provincial Assembly of Southern Württemberg and was Director of the Tübingen Museum Association, the Tübingen Citizens’ Association, and the Board of Tourism. He was honored with the Federal Service Cross (First Class) for his personal dedication and was made an honorary citizen of the city of Tübingen.

When Christian Otto Erbe died in 1965 he left behind a solidly established company.
ERBOTHERM 900 One of the first high-frequency diathermy units for warming tissue by means of high-frequency electric current was the ERBOTHERM 900, first built in 1923. The high-frequency generator of this unit was equipped with a tungsten spark gap for which Chr. O. Erbe took out a patent in 1931. The high-frequency current was conducted via contact electrodes directly through the body. With this step in a technological area which was still in its infancy at that time, Chr. O. Erbe laid the foundation stone for the company’s future product development.
The portable X-ray apparatus The portable X-ray apparatus aroused special interest among surgeons, since it could also be used directly at the patient’s bed. The unit’s export to many other countries confirmed its success. The tungsten spark gap gave rise to the X-ray unit in 1925.
Aiming device for electrocoagulation of Gasser’s ganglion This aiming device for electrocoagulation of Gasser’s ganglion was developed by Chr. O. Erbe in 1928. It was attached to the head of the patient and made possible an exact adjustment of spatial coordinates for inserting the coagulation needle.
Units for high-pressure local anesthesia Units for high-pressure local anesthesia – on the left a model from 1928 – were created in collaboration with Prof. M. Kirschner, M.D., Director of the Tübingen Surgical Clinic.
Equipment for the electrocoagulation of Gasser’s ganglion Erbe developed a complete equipment for the electrocoagulation of Gasser’s ganglion, based on the ideas of Prof. M. Kirschner, M.D. Electrocoagulation of Gasser’s ganglion, i.e. the ganglion of the branches of the trigeminal nerve, had to be carried out with highfrequency current in severe cases of trigeminal neuralgia.
ERBOTOM Multiplex The ERBOTOM Multiplex electrosurgical unit contained two generators: a tungsten spark gap for cutting and coagulating, and a vacuum tube generator, which improved the cutting characteristics of the spark gap. This combination proved so useful in actual practice that it was still being used in the 1970’s.