Flashlite Magazine.

Update: 01.21.2017

The following article was published in Flashlite Magazine nr. 17 1993, Written by Gunter M. Solomon and translated from German by Ed van der Aa, Http://www.myphotoweb.com


Flashlite Magazine  was a private initiative of Gunter M.  Salomon as a collector of photographical equipment. Due to circumstances he was forced to end this initiative in 1993. Nr. 17 of the magazine was also the last edition of this magazine and we owe him thanks for the Gossen information that is in the last issue. Gunter M. Salomon past away around 1999. Flashlite Magazine was the predecessor of the current magazine "Photographic Cabinett" a magazine from "Gesellschaft für PhotoHistorica e.V." with a website at http://www.cabinett.de

Update November 17 2010.
I have tried to come in contact with mr. Gunter M. Salomon in 2010 but I heard he has passed away  about 10 years ago. After I was informed about this, I tried to find out where his pictures and the Gossen prototypes went to. After some digging and a number of email contacts with several people in Germany, I found that the prototypes were handed over by mr. Uwe Hitz to the Stadmuseum, museum of Erlangen.

An old enormous and very heavy graphical camera used at Gossen for production of scales en commercial papers went to the Photographic museum of Zeil am Main founded by Herr Dr. Gerhard Binder.  I like to thank all people who helped discover a little bit of the history of Gossen.

How long do selenium light meters last?

Actually this article was intended to be only be a note of a few lines in length. Often in our circles, as collectors of photographical equipment, the question arises how long the selenium light meters in our beloved collection items, will hold, And when the stock of the existing spare cells will be exhausted what will happen then? Also the question should be answered whether it was better to cover the honeycomb cells of the selenium exposure with opaque tape to protect against constant light (cameras in the glass cabinet), or whether it is better to switch off the exposure meters during constant exposure to light.

After several attempts at GOSSEN in Erlangen and also at METRAWATT in Nurnberg, to get a competent person to speak to about this subject, it turned out that the people who are familiar with selenium exposure meters either are retired or have died. The time of selenium exposure meter seems to be expired by now.

Finally, I still had a bit of luck to meet a former Gossen physicist,  who had witnessed the basic development of Selenium exposure meters, to speak to. According to his information the lifespan of the selenium elements is virtually unlimited. If the selenium element do give up,  it this is mostly due to inaccuracies in the precision of the production of the selenium elements. For example, in that time there were technical problems with the way of fixing the electrodes to the actual selenium elements.

With a defective selenium light meter the damage is usually not on the selenium element itself, but a mostly faulty measuring device. This raises then the problem for the collector if such a defective device needs to be repaired since there almost no spare measuring device any longer exists. Also such a measuring device is of a very complicated structure because  light meters are so called logarithmic measuring devices and these are designed with a linear scale. However, should the selenium element actually given up, here's good news: The company Dr. B. Lange in Berlin, sole manufacturer of selenium elements,  is in certain circumstances and with good reasons able to provide selenium cells in required necessary sizes. (Note: this was written in 1993)

Very damaging: Direct sunlight.

Particularly harmful for all selenium exposure meters with honeycomb window is direct sunlight: the structure of the honeycomb seem to appear as small focal lenses, which bundle UV light on the selenium element and this may result in destruction of the selenium element. The Selenium element does not tolerate UV radiation on the long-run. But when cameras with built selenium exposure meters are kept in a glass display case they are protected twice from the harmful UV light first, through the glass panes of the windows, and second, again through the glass of the showcase. According to Mr. Peter are those collectors covering the honeycomb of the selenium exposure meters cameras or keep  them in the dark quite right: The Selenium element is best stored in this way, unlike later used  CdS cells, selenium elements have  no "memory".

The merger of Gossen and METRAWATT.

During my research it revealed a startling fact: When I auditioned the first time in Erlangen, showed the factory, - located in the middle of town - and in better times  approximately 2,500 employees counted, rather empty. Except for a porter were almost no people on the territory and  I learned that the company Gossen and METRAWATT had merged. Both companies were for many years direct competitors in the field of measurement and control technology,  and even in the same region. The shareholders, the brothers Rochling KG, had the merger of two companies decided with the departure from GOSSEN from his Erlangen area to Nurnberg as result. The new company name is now Gossen-METRAWATT. The activities were as good as shut down at the end of April 1993 since  the administration, development and production were transferred to METRAWATT in Nurnberg-Langwasser. The first move took place on July 7, 1992 and was the internal dept.  PHG 6, the production of electronic exposure meters.

The history of Gossen and the discovery of the primordial Lunasix

A stroke of luck …

In my further research I discovered on  a man who we owe to that we have the unique pictures here showed in this story. It is Mr. Uwe Hitz, and he acts as a kind of  "Executor". Due to the merger, and as he at that time had just the "right" age, he took the offer to retire early on, and on two days a week he has for some time engaged in GOSSEN the "estate-work up, at least what still remains. At the beginning of the 70s was the management not only on "distance" to the employees and would no longer have the close human contact (as Paul Gossen time to practice), but also had tons of - today for collectors valuable archive material be destroyed.  This applies also to other companies (hear from Kodak similar story), where an expensive archive seems no longer acceptable, a pity to us as collectors.

For some time the merger was in the air, Uwe Hitz had on all possible departments secured special instruments that were not moved or no one wanted to have anymore. He was also able to save at least partial some archive material. In that time Uwe Hitz was formerly ‘Dipl.-Ing.’ (engineer) in the development and the last years in charge of documentation,  including the development and design of user manuals.

since August 1987 Uwe Hitz, in addition to its "normal" activities, also served as editor of GOSSEN chronicle, an in-house staff magazine. In the last two issues (issue 41, August 1992 and very last issue at all, the issue 42, December 1992) he has the history of the company GOSSEN  researched and published. Did you know that in GOSSEN in the early 50's also produced typewriters? Attentive readers from Flashlite will remember the quizzes in flashlite in issue No. 12 of Nov. 91, because there was a Gossen "Tippa" than to win a second prize.

Because the company GOSSEN also manufactured many other products besides photo technical devices for one or the other are in our audience is of interest, with friendly the approval of Mr. Hitz, "Gossen-Geschicbte" printed on pages 22-27, for which we thank him very much.


The historical story of Gossen as far as this has been reconstructed with the available information.

September 1 1919 Establishment of P. Gossen & Co, K.-g by the at that time 46 years in age engineer Paul Gossen and Limited partner Otto Cohn Banker in Nurnberg. Deposit for partnership 60.000 Mark. Corporate subject; production and sales of electrical measuring equipment. Location of the company is Baiersdorf, Bayer, Germany. Start of company in workshop and production 3 employees, Willi Bachman, Wilhelm Striegel and Andreas Link.
October 1919 7 employees
October 1920 28 employees
February 9 1921 Relocation to Erlangen in a former laundry and bathing-house, Bismarckstrasse 21 (Bismarck street)
End 1921 35 employees (6 apprentices)
1924 / 1925 Company under control.
may 6 1929 Outlet of the limited partner Otto Cohn from Nurnberg and entry of Rosa Gossen as partner with a deposit of 50.000 RM (Reichs mark).
1934 253 employees. Move to acquired building in the Sedanstrasse 20
1936 333 employees
1937 Office in Berlin, Unter den linden
Establishment of the 'betriebs-unterstutzungs-kasse e. V. (company fund) ' Purposes of the fund is the additional financial aid to the employees for the social insurance
1939 Acquisition of the factory building in the Gluckstrasse, the former brush factory Kranzlein (later Tippa production)
1939 - 1945 Conversion of the production to measuring equipment for army, air force and Navy. Gossen became a war factory. Relocation of a part of the production to a bomb free beer cellar in the Burgberg (a mountain in the north of Erlangen, holds a number of beer cellars))
June 28 1940 Conversion of the company in a GmbH wit directors Paul Gossen and his wife Rosa Gossen. Capital 1.500.000 Reichsmarken. Managing directors are Ing. Paul Gossen and Dr. Karl Klarner (son in law). The parts of ground and the buildings in the Sedanstrasse 20 and Ostliche Stadtmaurstrasse 30 are not included in the GmbH and are rented by the company from the shareholders.
1939 / 1940 Acquisition of the buildings in the Nagelsbachstrasse 25
February 22 1941 openings ceremony of the factory buildings and the office buildings in the Nagelsbachstrasse 25
June 30 1942  Death of Paul Gossen. Change of company capital due to legal succession. Successors are Rosa Gossen and the children Charlotte Klarner, Elisabeth Seiler and Hans Gossen.. (Charlotte, Elisabeth and Hans are the children of Paul and Rosa. By marriage they are named to the Husband).
July 1942 around 1000 employees
April 16 1945 (at 17:00) Entry of the American army in the factory III Nagelsbachstrasse
June 4 1945 Start of the factory clean-up
mid 1945 Resumption of the production of exposure meters initially only for the American occupation with aprox. 80 employees
August 10 1945 The American military government let the managing employees go only after 'Entnazifiziering' (Denazification) they van restart with their activities.
June 20 1948 'Währungsreform'. 900 employees aprox. 400 of them are fugitives.
1948 - 1949 Establishment of de Tippa-activities in the Gluckstrasse (for production of the small typing machine Tippa) Conversion of the share capital to DM (Deutsch Marken) list of opening balances from 1.500.000 RM to 2.100.000 DM
1950 Number of employees is aprox. 1200
Marz 5 1952 Pension commitment for all employees of a amount of 100 DM
1953 Extension of workspace in Berlin by rented space an Kurfurstendamm and at the same time acceptance of the production of exposure meters. Number of employees in Berlin: 1953 17, 1955 52, 1958 80, 1965 263.
1953 Purchase of the guest house  'Barengarten' Rathsbergerstrasse 2
1954 Purchase of factory I in the Sedanstrasse 20 of the heiresses of Gossen
June 1 1955 Purchase of the Factory and the surrounding ground of the company Weber & Ott, Erlangen (north of the mein building)
August 1 1955 Establishment of the repair services for exposure meters in department in Frankfurt. 1956, Increase of repairs of meassuring equipment
1956 Reconstrustion of the in 1954 acquired homes and bussiness houses n the Nurnbergerstrasse 47 into workshop and office buildings
December 1957 2030 employees of which 80 in Berlin
1957 Construction and completion of the multi purpose hall 'Pegon'. Sales of the factory Ostliche Stadtmaurestrasse / Gluckstrasse (Tippa-factory) by the heiresses to the University.
1959 acceptance of the production in Eschenbach in Oberpfalz. Obtaining of the buildings an the land
1960 Obtaining of the branch in Berlin of the cloth company Hentschel & Co in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Wilhelmsaue 36
Juli 15 1960 Registration of the capital from 2.100.000 to 6.120.000 DM in the commercial register (own resources)
1960 / 1961 Take-over and increase of the repair services in Frankfurt in own hands and reconstruction to a branch
mid 1961 Reconstruction of the former gactory buildings of the company Weber & Ott
1961 Purchase of the former construction area of the town of Erlangen situated at the Tauschweg adjecent to a piece of land  north of the Sedanstrasse (Neuer Markt)
October 30 1963 Transfer of the company shares to the company Siemens & Halske, Munchen (30%) and the company Bergmann AG, Berlin (70%)
1964 / 1965 Construction of a new shupment building
1965 Bergmann AG purchases the rest of 30% from the Gossen GmbH shares from Siemens & Halske.
1966 In total now 2471 employees
1969 Construction of en 'entrance south' for the manufacturing of electronic equipment
Since Dec. 1960 The comapny name has changed to "Gossen GmbH"
1970 Construction of the "entrance Nord" for the reasearch departments and acceptance of goods
1973 Construction of a new factory in Eschenbach
Januari 1974 2142 employees, Erlangen: 1657, Eschenbach: 276, Berlin: 193, Frankfurt 16
1976 Termination of the factory in Berlin
1976 Establishment of a large store room in the Nagelsbachstrasse
1977 The old factory in the Sedanstrasse is closed down.
End 1979 In total now 1683 employees of which 264 in Eschenbach
End 1988 In total now 1233 employees of which 163 in Eschenbach
since 1990 The company Gossen GmbH belongs to the Gebr. Rochling KG
End 1991 Total number of employees is now 900 of which 189 in Eschenbach branch
1992 / 1993 Fusion of the company Gossen GmbH and Metrawatt GmbH.

The historical story of the products of Gossen company.

1919 Hotwire-instruments for measuring electrical currents and voltages
1921 Measuring equipment with moving coil meters, moving iron meters were there already
1924 Isolation meters with manual generator, Vibration tachometers for mounting on motors (resonance measurement)
1925 Groundvoltage-Asymmeter for determining ground voltage asymmetry in moving current networks (Deutsches Reichs Patent -DRP- nr. 475070)
1926 Mavometer, first multi purpose meter with mountable front and side resistors (DRP 477 983) the first big commercial results. During the year  several different versions for DC and AC current and voltages were build. Also for performance and resistance measurement. The meters were build more than 30 years.
1927 Measuring equipment for thermo elements
1928 Gossen uses the dry rectifier (Copperoxide-rectifier) for AC current measurement with a moving coil meter element in the production of measuring equipment. Experts had in that time the opinion that this was not suitable.
1930 precision moving coil norm instrument (+/- 0.1%) housing and ground plate in polished nut wood (8.6 Kg in weight).
1932 Development of the photo electrical exposure meter OMBRUX. The meter was showed in March 1933 with the initial name PHOTOLUX at the show in Leipzig. In the 'Photographischen Rundschau' (a magazine) issue 7 April 1933 you will find an article about the "Photo- und Kinomesse in Leipzig" (Photo- and Cine exposition). With the header "Exposure meters" does one explain how the new equipment with the photo cell works and he writes then "such devices are shown by the company P. Gossen & C0, Erlangen well known by their Mavo meter and the company Muller &Ziegler, Nurnberg.
1933 Test equipment for testing radio tubes "System Gossen"
1935 Universal measurement equipment PUm 1 with 3 separate meters for measurement of AC and DC current and voltage and also high frequency AC current.
1936 SIXTUS, the more measurement sensitive, cosmetic better looking and for  the experience better suitable exposure meter is a replacement for the Ombrux. In 1949 the more developed Sixtus 2 is brought on the market.
1939 Semi automatic aperture controller for cine camera's
1939 to 1945 Conversion to high volume production of measurement equipment for the news report (radio) and the army.
1947 Development of the switchable multi purpose measuring equipment "UVA"  with build in front and side resistors
1948 The Tippa, the at that time smallest typewriter has been developed and goes in production in 1950. Until January 1951 already 10.000 machines have been constructed. The production ended in 1959
1949 Rotating field display with pointer measurement.
Construction of first temperature controller with the use of measurement equipment
1950 The elegant light meter Sixtomat and his further developments Sixtomat J for subject and light measurement (1952), Sixtomat X3 with extra filter determination for color exposures (1954). Production last for 25 years and is with 2.500.000 the best sold exposure meter ever.
1952 Kelvilux, color temperature meter
1953 Majosix, enlarger exposure meter
1954 Microsix, exposure meter for use with microscope
1954 Built-in exposure meter for photo equipment leading manufacturers, going in mass production
1956 Color temperature meter Sixticolor for determination of the correct correction filter for color photography
1956 Transistor tester for checking of PNP and NPN transistors
1958 Stabilizer, first in Germany made stabilized DC power supply with transistors
1958 Universal AC multipurpose "Uphi" also suitable for measurement of performance.
1959 Strom-Konstanter delivers constant DC current independent of the load
1959 / 1960 Full automatic aperture controller for cine camera's of Kodak USA and Eumig, Vienna
1959 KOAG frequency relays for controlling hoisting crane motor
1961 Lunasix, the first exposure meter in the world with a CDS photo resistor. With a until now unexpected dynamic range and was for a long time the top exposure meter on the market. In 1966 further development as system exposure meter Lunasix 3. 3 different adapters were made and the meter is still in production (note: 1993)
1961 mid frequency load transformers
1962 Mavotronic, electronic relays for monitoring and control
1962 S-P Adapter device for danger free serial and parallel switching of Konstanter
1963 Pantatherm, electronic temperature controller for plastic production and process control
1965 Konstanter with voltage and current control (U-I Kenlinie)
1966 Kfz tachometer (Kfz- kraft fahrzeug = truck or lorrie) for Otto engines in mass production
1966 Pantatherm M,  electronic temperature controller with very stable magnet amplifiers
1968 Kfz service meter of the PAN series for tacho dwell-angle voltage and resistance measurement
1968 EHG tester for testing the safeguard measures conform VDE 0720/0730
1969 Sixtron electronic, flash exposure meter
1969 DSP konstamter, digital quick programmable DC power supply for built-in purposes in measuring and testing equipment
1971 Ignomat, for tacho and ignition time adjustment for Kfz. Zyklomat contact free tacho meter
1971 Panlux, illumination and light density meter
1972 Pantatherm E, S, W, modulair analog temperature controller
1972 Digem, digital measuring equipment fitted with Nixie tubes
1973 Reg 5 A, electronic power controller for EVU, Go-mat 0100 first universal test equipment for testing safeguard measures conform VDE 0100, Mini tester 0701/0804 for testing conform VDE 0804, Checkpan and Ampan for service of Kfz.
1974 Labocolor, Color analyzer for color enlargements
1974 BOP Konstanter, voltage and current power source and surge
1975 Pantatherm D, Digital temperature controller
1976 Digem-serie Digital measuring equipment with LED display, Dinalog series, electronic light band display
1977 Profisix, Exposure meter with Silicon photo element  with 10 extra adapters developed for this meter
1977 Fi/Fu safeguard switching test equipment conform VDE 0413, Eor electronic ground shorting relais for EVU
1978 NSR konstanter grid switching controller
1979 built-in test equipment and MESSCONTACTER program series '80' new construction for efficient production
1980 Labosix, digital darkroom computer, Florasix exposure intensity meter for optimization of the illumination for plants in closed rooms.
1980 UOP konstanter voltage and current source and surge with computer interface. mavotronic D and Limitronic N electronic measuring relays
1981 Lunasix F, exposure meter for continues and flashlight
1982 Ignition tester for Kfz diagnosis
1983 Mastersix, Microcomputer controlled exposure meter with digital display, Mavolux digital, digital illumination and light density measuring equipment
1983 Pantatherm D4, microcomputer controlled 4-chanell temperature controller
1984 Pantatherm D01 and D16, microcomputer controlled self adapting temperature controller
1984 LSP konstanter switched broad range equipment for laboratories use
1985 Mavo Monitor, for light intensity measurement of TV tubes
1986 Go-mat, electronic safeguard test equipment with micro computer controlled program
1986 Digem, digital testing equipment, uP controlled and system ready
1987 Spotmaster, uP controlled 1 degree spot exposure meter
1988 pantatherm  KR4 PS 4-channel temperature controller with free programmable control
1989 MSP- konstanter, computer controlled power source
1990 Variosix F, uP controlled exposure meter for continues light and flash light, extra 5 degree adapter
1990 SSP Konstanter, computer controllable power source with high output performance due to switched mode use
1991 Colormaster 2F and 3F 2-color and 3-color color temperature meters
Copyright © E. van der Aa 2010, All rights reserved. Updated jan 5 2017