Founding year of the workshop "Feinmechanischen Werkstatt"
In 1870, the "university mechanician" Florenz Sartorius founded the company as a precision mechanical workshop, "Feinmechanische Werkstatt F. Sartorius." With business growing and after many moves, he took over the shop of a mechanical specialist, who was relocating from Goettingen, in 1872.
Sartorius's well-filled order book meant that the workshop constantly needed to be expanded. Income earned through additional business in all types of non-laboratory-related articles, such as sets of cutlery, provided the investment funds for expansion.
The first short-beam analytical balance was built
A fast-growing market for accurate analytical balances had emerged in the chemical industry, which was developing at an explosive rate. However, customers had to live with construction-related disadvantages, such as complicated operation and long-drawn-out weighing procedures.
It was clear to Florenz Sartorius that only the introduction of light-weight, short balance beams with a highly durable construction could reduce the time it took for these to stabilize. He solved the problem with time-consuming stabilization by developing a short-arm balance beam with a triangular shape and a high level of stiffness. Moreover, he reduced its weight by using aluminum, a highly innovative material at that time.
The Membrane Filter Company "Membranfiltergesellschaft" was founded
On May 30, 1927, the Membranfiltergesellschaft m.b.H. for production of membrane filters was founded in Goettingen. Among the share owners was the Nobel Prize laureate for chemistry, Richard Zsigmondy.
He provided his patents as capital in the company, and was entrusted with "senior scientific management."
The company's primary business objectives were "research, development and manufacture"; the objectives "sale and distribution of membrane filters and the associated apparatuses" were considered secondary.
Manufacture of the first filter devices
Starting in the mid-1940s, decisive breakthroughs were made, above all in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in the fields of sterile filtration and microbiological testing of liquid media and gases.
Through further intensive cooperation with research and industry, Sartorius accomplished pioneering work on an exceptionally broad basis. As a result, further new products were introduced, especially filter devices as well as the development of standard methods for various applications.
A further result of this work is reflected in the plethora of scientific publications on the subject of membrane filtration.
The beginnings of microbiological analysis
As most of the water supply piping had been destroyed during World War II, people were exposed to the considerable risk of contracting diseases, primarily cholera.
Here is where Sartorius helped to alleviate this situation by providing filters for testing drinking water. These were the beginnings of the development of microbiological analysis, one of Sartorius's core areas of expertise.
Sartorius shares knowledge
Already at an early stage, Sartorius set standards in the publication of scientific and technical literature and in the organization of training courses and seminars for its own employees, customers and other persons interested. Cutting-edge innovations were thus documented, and gave a broad circle of users access to new applications.
Intensive training courses for specialists were held at Goettingen's training center and, increasingly throughout Germany, by Sartorius instructors who traveled.
Launch of a new generation of balances
With the SELECTA, Sartorius brought an entirely new generation of balances out on the market. A metal housing and important additional features ensured that this lab balance was a great success.
A translated quote excerpted from the 1953 company brochure:
SELECTA fast analytical balance featuring "Standard," "Rapid" and Semi-Micro" models. An instrument that meets all the demands of modern weighing technology. Fully mechanized placement of weights on the weighing pan and readouts projected in one viewing direction. Easy to operate.
Sartorius develops a range of hemofiltration products for people with kidney failure
In the '60s, Sartorius worked in very close cooperation with leading specialist clinics and hospitals to develop a range of hemofiltration products for patients with renal insufficiency. The filter units used for hemofiltration were ultrafilters with a crossflow construction that served to separate human blood into its solid constituents (red and white blood cells and platelets) and into blood serum in which harmful substances are present in solution.
In this case, the filters were a special design of dynamic ultrafiltration elements.
Sartorius is involved in the Apollo 11 mission
In 1969, a very special assignment that was performed in the technical application laboratory at Sartorius caused quite a stir worldwide. Apollo 11 had collected samples of moon rocks during its space mission, and NASA made sure that only the top scientific institutes in the world could conduct experiments on this extremely rare material.
At Sartorius in Goettingen, the absolute surface of 20.2 mg of moon material was measured. The Sartorius Gravimat weighing system, which had a level of precision that was attainable only at Sartorius, was used in this analysis.
First subsidiaries founded worldwide
At the beginning of the 1970s, Sartorius began to establish its own subsidiaries abroad, in addition to pursuing its traditional strategy of having the company represented across the globe together with its cooperation partners. The major objective in doing so was to be able to provide services to our customers locally at even shorter notice.
Country-specific regulations in the context of weights and measures legislation governing weighing instruments also played a role in this effort.
The first subsidiary was founded in Austria in 1971, followed by companies in the Netherlands, Great Britain and France.
The company's U.S. subsidiary was incorporated as of 1975 – starting in a hotel room in San Francisco. A production plant for filter technology was founded in Puerto Rico in 1982 and focused on supplying the U.S. dollar market.
First manufacturer of pleated filter material in membrane filter cartridges
Sartorius was the first manufacturer of membrane filter cartridges featuring pleated filter material, also called "filter media" – i.e., arranged in a zigzag shape – a space-saving design well known in air filter technology.
This innovation set today's standards for membrane filter cartridges that have remained state-of-the-art up to this very day. The challenging aspect was to find a construction that could be sterilized in-place. In other words, the filter cartridge, installed in a filter housing, would have to withstand temperatures of more than 121°C for a relatively long time under pressure.
The first completely modular series of laboratory balances
Sartorius developed the first completely modular-designed and configurable series of laboratory balances. Each balance can be easily configured by menu to meet the specific requirements of customers. At the same time, Cubis is the first lab balance to feature automatic leveling, "Q-Level." This is an innovation that makes users' everyday work much easier, while increasing measurement certainty.