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Ertel-Werk für Feinmechanik · (bac)

Ertel-Werk, previously known under different names, was a developer and manufacturer of high-precision mechanical instruments, founded in 1802 in München by Georg von Reichenbach. The company was taken over in 1834 by Traugott Leberecht Ertel – he had been with the company since 1804 – after which it was renamed T. Ertel & Sohn. The company was taken over in 1890 by August Dietz and in 1928 by Walter Preyß. In 1935 it was renamed Ertel-Werk für Feinmechanik.

At the outbreak of World War II (WWII) – in 1939 – the company started producing goods for the German war effort. In 1941 they were assigned the manufacturer code (bac). During the war, Ertel was one of the manufactuers of Enigma cipher machines, which were produced for the German Army (Wehrmacht) under licence of Heimsoeth und Rinke in Berlin. Enigma machines made by Ertel had their own serial number range – with the letter 'E' added as a suffix – and were typically housed in a Panzerholz case or in a wooden case with a canvas carrying strap at the side.

Ertel products on this website
Heeres Enigma (Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe)
Panzerholz case
The image on the right shows an Enigma-I cipher machine in Panzerholz case, with serial number A01262/bac/44E. The plugboard is covered by a metal sliding planel, whilst the spare parts are stowed behind a hinged lid inside the dust cover.

This type of enclosure is often attributed to the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), but this is not necessarily correct. They were also used by the German Army (Heer).

 More about the Enigma I

Enigma cipher machine in Panzerholz case, made by Ertel-Werk in München

Wooden case
Apart from Panzerholz storage cases, Ertel also made wooden cases with a hinged flap at the front, similar to the regular Enigma cases. They were used for Enigma machines made by Ertel, but were also supplied as replacement cases for the Enigma machines from other manufacturers.

Wooden cases made by Ertel have a canvas carrying strap at the right side, rather than a leather or metal handle at the rear. Furthermore, the manufacturer code (bac) is usually present inside the top lid.

 More about the Enigma I

Rare oak wooden transport case from Ertel-Werk, with canvas carrying strap.

  • 1802
    Mathematische Werkstatt (mathematical workshop)
  • 1804
    Mathematisch mechanisches Institut (mathematical mechanical institute)
  • 1834
    T. Ertel & Sohn
  • 1921
    Ertel-Werke A.G. für Feinmechanik
  • 1935
    Ertel-Werk für Feinmechanik
  • 1802
    Founded in München by Georg von Reichenbach as Mathematische Werkstatt
    Partners: Joseph Liebherr, Joseph van Utzschneider
    Products: geodetic instruments
  • 1804
    Renamed: Mathematisch mechanisches Institut
    Employees: Joseph von Fraunhofer, Traugott Leberecht Ertel
  • 1821
    Taken over by Traugott Leberecht Ertel
    Products: high-end measuring equipment
  • 1834
    Renamed: T. Ertel & Sohn
  • 1890
    Taken over by August Diez
  • 1912
    New partner: Adolf Hahn
    Products: military instruments
  • 1916
    Taken over by Samuel Weikersheimer
  • 1921
    Renamed: Ertel-Werke A.G. für Feinmechanik
    Products: cinema equipment
  • 1928
    Taken over by Walter Preyß
  • 1935
    Renamed: Ertel-Werk für Feinmechanik
  • 1939
    Production of war goods
  • 1941
    Production of Enigma cipher machines
  • 1957
    Carl Robert Preyß director
    Moved to Puchheim (near München)
    Products: construction surveying instruments
  • 1984
    Closed down
  1. Meisterwerke der Feinmechanik
    Product history of Ertel-Werk in M#chen and Puchheim (German).
    Stadt Puchheim, June 2019.
  1. Wikipedia (Germany), Ertel-Werk
    Visited 16 May 2022.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Monday 16 May 2022. Last changed: Sunday, 05 June 2022 - 15:23 CET.
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