• Obituary: Herbert Knauer, 1931-2024
    Herbert Knauer, 2022. (Photo: Knauer)
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel greeted the Knauer couple in 2021 (Photo: Knauer)

Company News

Obituary: Herbert Knauer, 1931-2024

Jan 24 2024

Dr-Ing Herbert Knauer, the founder of Knauer, a prominent lab equipment manufacturer based in Berlin, passed away at the age of 92. Dr Knauer's passion for chemistry and his visionary concepts for high-tech laboratory measuring instruments have left an sinificant mark on the global laboratory industry.

According to the official announcement by Knauer, Dr Knauer peacefully departed at his home, surrounded by his family, on Thursday 18 January 2024. Reflecting on this loss, Carsten Losch, Managing Director of Knauer, shared: "Dr Knauer was not only our esteemed founder but also an exceptionally open personality, a mentor, and an advisor. He generously shared his vast knowledge and experience, shaping the company's trajectory."

Born in Berlin Karlshorst in 1931, Herbert Knauer's journey began with a deep-rooted passion for chemistry. Graduating from high school at 17, he initially pursued business administration at the Technical University of Berlin before redirecting his focus to chemistry. In 1958, he earned a doctorate in engineering, delving into ion reactions in absolute diethyl ether.

Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, Dr Knauer, alongside his wife Roswitha, founded Knauer on 1 October 1962, in Berlin-Schmargendorf. What started as a humble venture in their home's kitchen evolved into a pioneering company, initially gaining recognition for electronic temperature measuring devices and later for osmometers.

In the early 1970s, recognising the potential of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) technology, KNAUER transitioned into developing HPLC system modules. Under Dr Knauer's guidance, the introduction of modular HPLC systems in the 1970s set industry standards, contributing to the global adoption of this analytical technology.

Awards, including gold medals at the Leipzig Trade Fair and the Berlin-Brandenburg Innovation Prize, celebrated Knauer's innovation under Dr Knauer's leadership. In 2000, he transferred company shares to his daughter Alexandra Knauer, marking a new chapter. He continued to contribute actively, witnessing the company's expansion into new business areas, such as systems for lipid nanoparticle production.

Dr Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, honoured Dr Herbert Knauer on September 10, 2021, recognising Knauer as a ‘jewel of the German SME sector’.

Dr Knauer's legacy lives on through his daughter Alexandra, the workforce's growth, and the company's continued success. The company expresses confidence that his profound impact on the realms of science and technology will endure as an everlasting testament.

Herbert Knauer is survived by his wife of 61 years, Roswitha, and cherished daughters and grandchildren, embodying a life dedicated to family, science, and technological progress.

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