Emil Moritz Rathenau

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Emil Moritz Rathenau

Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Death: June 20, 1915 (76)
Berlin, Germany
Place of Burial: Berlin, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Moritz (Moses) Abraham Rathenau and Pauline Therese Rathenau
Husband of Mathilde Rathenau and Mathilde Rathenau-Nachmann
Father of Edith Andreae; Walther Rathenau; Erich Rathenau and Edith Andreae
Brother of Albert Moritz Rathenau and Oscar Rathenau

Occupation: entrepreneur and industrialist, a leading figure in the early European electrical industry, Maschinenbauingenieur und Unternehmer, Gründer der AEG
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Emil Moritz Rathenau

Emil Moritz Rathenau (December 11, 1838 – June 20, 1915) was a German entrepreneur and industrialist, a leading figure in the early European electrical industry.

Biography[edit] Rathenau was born in Berlin, into a wealthy Jewish merchant family based in that city. He was the son of Moritz Rathenau.

In 1865, Rathenau was a partner in a factory, during which time (while traveling abroad) he recognized the possibilities of the then newly emerging electrical technology.

In 1881, he attended the International Exposition of Electricity, Paris and saw Thomas Alva Edison's invention of the lightbulb for the first time.[1] Realizing that a lot of money could be made with electricity, he acquired the rights to manufacture products based on Edison's patents with the help of a bank group. The bank advised him to partner with his competitor Werner von Siemens. Since both were followers of the idea of monopoly they signed a contract of trust (monopoly) where Siemens was producing and selling generators and Rathenau built power stations and laid cables. In 1883 he founded the "German Edison Corporation for Applied Electricity" (Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft für angewandte Elektricität), which in 1887 changed into the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft(General Electricity Incorporated) abbreviated AEG. On February 19, 1884 Rathenau and the magistrate of Berlin signed an agreement on the electrification of Berlin.[1] While he financed the deal, Rathenau's private company was also allowed to use public streets for the electricity lines. The city received 10% of the income for giving its authorization. Peter Becker, a German energy expert has called this Germany's first private-public partnership and after the first power station of Berlin went online and illuminated the 'Gendarmenmarkt' at night, the Berlin model became influential throughout the German Empire.[1]

In 1903, Rathenau was appointed general manager of AEG. Together with his competitor and business partner, they formed the Telefunken Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie mbH. Rathenau held numerous positions on. the supervisory board of Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft und der Elektrizitäts AG vorm. W. Lahmeyer & Co.

Rathenau was married in 1866 to Mathilde Nachmann, daughter of a Frankfurt banker. One of his sons was the famous Walther Rathenau, a Weimar-era industrialist, politician, and progressive economist. Walther was assassinated in June 1922 by gangsters of the extreme right-wing. He had another son named Erich Rathenau and a daughter Edith.

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Emil Moritz Rathenau's Timeline

December 11, 1838
Berlin, Germany
September 29, 1867
Age 28
Berlin, Germany
August 26, 1871
Age 32
Berlin, Germany
January 18, 1883
Age 44
Berlin, Germany
January 18, 1883
Age 44
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
June 20, 1915
Age 76
Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany