On 1st April 1949 Karl Bertram Elektro-, Maschinen- und Gerätebau was founded in Breslauer Straße 70 in Bevern. Karl Bertram quickly judged the general feeling that people wanted to improve their living standards following the shortages of the second world war. He realised that there was an opening for an electrical company which combined repair work and the production of electrical appliances. Without the support of Karl Bertram's parents, who's father was also an electrician, he would never have achieved the first step in setting up his own business. They allowed him to use their barn, arranged the necessary start capital and worked with him when necessary.
Karl Bertram did his master in skilled electrical installation diploma in 1951. His qualifying piece of work was a starter motor which was sold to the Aminius Shipyard in Bodenwerder.
At the beginning of the 1950s demand for electrical installations in private homes grew, due to society's increasing prosperity. Karl Bertram and his family were no longer able to meet the demand on their own, so he took on his first employee.
A deciding factor in the company's developement was its contact with C. Müller KG, an iron foundry and machine casting company. In the mid-1950s, C. Müller KG was asked by the Weser Plywood Works in Holzminden to develop machines for use in the production and processing of pared veneer. Karl Bertram provided the specific control units and automation for these machines. In accordance to the technology at the time, Bertram's first electronic controls were produced using pipes. The machines and mechanisms supplied by C. Müller KG and Karl Bertram were of such high quality that demand grew extremely quickly worldwide. Producing these control units opened new doors for Bertram. Control units were developed for a number of industries, eg chemical, food, rubber and glass.
Karl Bertram decided to branch out further by building electrical generators from their conception to the finished product. These electric generators were run by a diesel engine and supplied to the nearby Weser sandstone quarries.
Incedentally, Karl Bertram built the predecessor to today's juke boxes and table football tables that are in the pubs and restaurants in the area.
The ever increasing types of work and demand lead to a lack of space. It was decided in 1960 to erect a new building with offices and a workshop on the opposite side of the road to the house. At the time, the building was considered very modern and was built in the shed style. Karl Bertram moved into the new premises in 1963.
The work in conjunction with C. Müller KG intesified in 1963. Complete production lines for pared veneer were developed and installed in many countries including Singapore, Africa, the philippines, Israel and China.
The company was then also supplying even more regional companies with switch cabinets and providing repair work and maintenance on electrical installations. By the end of the sixties, 30 people were employed by Bertram. The workshop was enlarged in 1972 by two sheds, in order to provide the necessary floor space.
In the mid-1970s C. Müller KG was declared bankrupt. This resulted in a new direction for Bertram. The company started to develop more and more automation solutions for a variety of industries.
Conveyor systems, developed for a local machine factory, were fitted with the necessary automation technology by Bertram. This was Bertram's first experience with the newly available SPC units. These SPC units enabled the required automation control units to be produced. The company succeeded in conquering new positions in the market, eg. in the glass, food, dye and chemical industries.
The New Building
The company continued to develop its automation technology in the 1980s and started to offer a complete package for hardware and software planning, the configuration and production of specialised orders, and the installation and operation of complete systems. This wide spectrum also included the construction of mechanical units and components.
The company reacted to the increasing demand for quality control systems with the most up-to-date CCD-technology, in the mid-1990s, by developing tailor made software tools. Thus creating the image processing department. The company was then structured into the three sections: electrical engineering, image processing and plant construction.
Space, once again, became a problem, as a result of the growing spectrum of work and the increasing demand. A further extension to the existing building was not approved, so it was decided to move the company into the Birkenweg Industrial Estate. The new premises in Philipp-Reis-Straße 3 is architecturally interesting. It has plenty of space and the offices were designed based on the latest ergonomic guidelines. This pleasant working atmosphere ensure that Bertram continues to flourish with its innovative lead.