Werner von Siemens laid the foundation for today’s Siemens AG in 1847 with his design for the pointer telegraph. The 30-year-old inventor hit upon an idea for substantially improving the electric telegraph developed by Charles Wheatstone and William Fothergill Cooke.
Together with precision mechanic Johann Georg Halske, he established the telegraph construction company “Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske” to manufacture his new device. The 10-man company began operation on October 12, 1847, in a building in a back courtyard in Berlin.
In 1848, the young company won a contract to build Europe’s first long-distance telegraph line. Extending largely underground from Berlin to Frankfurt, the roughly 670-kilometer link went into operation in February 1849. In March, the Frankfurt Parliament elected Friedrich Wilhelm IV German Emperor. Thanks to the new communications technology, the news from Frankfurt reached Berlin in just one hour.
Siemens is especially well-positioned today in digitalization thanks to several forward-looking acquisitions in the 2000s. The most important of these was UGS Corp., an American specialist in digital product data management, computer-assisted design and production process simulation, offering end-to-end systems and solutions all along the value chain. UGS was an excellent complement to Siemens' existing automation capabilities.
The company was integrated organizationally into Siemens' Automation and Drives unit as the “UGS PLM Software” Division. Legally it was integrated into the US regional company, Siemens Corp. With UGS, Siemens could now offer hardware, software and support for the Digital Factory, all from a single source.
Other acquisitions would follow. In 2012 there was LMS, a provider of mechanical simulation software; in 2016, it was CD-adapco, a specialist in simulation software for flow mechanics; and in 2017 came Mentor Graphics, a maker of software for semiconductor design. All in all, over a decade, Siemens invested some 10 billion US dollars, and strengthened its lead in features for the Digital Factory.