Rudolf Hell

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rudolf Hell (center) presented his weather chart recorder at the exhibition "TELECOM - Progress for Everyone" in Kiel on December 12, 1968.

Rudolf Hell (born December 19, 1901 in Eggmühl / Upper Palatinate, today a district of Schierling ; † March 11, 2002 in Kiel ) was a German inventor and entrepreneur, primarily in the fields of communications and reproduction technology .

Hell is the inventor of the Hellschreiber (1929), Klischograph (1951) and digitally generated photo typesetting (1965). He has been awarded the Federal Cross of Merit with a Star, the Gutenberg Prize and the Werner von Siemens Ring . Hell is an honorary citizen of the state capital Kiel .

life and work

Rudolf Hell was born in the station building there in 1901, the son of the Eggmühl station master. His mother was the daughter of a farmer and brewery owner. He is the youngest of three sons. After four years of elementary school, he attended the Rudolphinum secondary school in Eger, where his favorite subjects were physics and mathematics . Already here one recognized his preference for natural sciences. The fascination of railways at his father's workplace and the beginning of the electrification of the railways shaped the desire to study electrical engineering .

From 1919 he completed an eight-semester degree in electrical engineering at the Technical University in Munich, which he completed in 1923 with the academic degree of Diplom-Ingenieur, in order to work as an assistant to Max Dieckmann from 1923 to 1929 . In 1925 he presented a photo-electric image decomposition tube for television that worked in principle but was unusable for practical use . Together with Professor Dieckmann, he presented a television system with a mechanical image splitter and a Braun tube as a receiver at the trade fair in Munich. In 1927 he did his doctorate on a direct display radio direction finder for aviation . An American company paid him a license fee of RM 20,000 for this.

Hell Morse code writer UR39C

In 1929 Hell founded his own company in Neubabelsberg between Berlin and Potsdam and introduced his Hellschreiber that same year . In 1931 he developed a new type of Morse code machine , while Siemens produced the Hellschreiber in large numbers. The company moved to Berlin-Dahlem, where it was partially destroyed in the Second World War .

In 1947 Hell founded Dr.-Ing. Rudolf Hell KG , company for communications equipment and electronic reproduction technology. The state capital of Schleswig-Holstein was henceforth his adopted home. From 1949 onwards, Hell became increasingly involved with image telegraphy and developed corresponding devices for the post office, press, police and weather services. With the invention of the clischograph in 1951, Hell ushered in a new era in printing technology. It was further developed over the years (Vario-Klischograph, Helio-Klischograph).

In 1961 the Hell-Werke expanded and opened a second location in Kiel- Gaarden . In 1963 the Chromagraph , a scanner , was introduced and in 1965 Rudolf Hell first introduced electronic typesetting with digital storage ( computer typesetting ), which was to revolutionize typesetting worldwide. In the same year, the Digiset digital typesetting machine was presented. After the Chromagraph DC 300 had its worldwide breakthrough in 1971 , Rudolf Hell retired from active management of his plant in 1972, but continued to work there.

The Dr.-Ing. Rudolf Hell GmbH developed the electronic image processing system ChromaCom in 1979 , before Siemens AG , which had owned shares since 1971, also took over the last 20% of the company in 1981 . In 1989, at the age of 88, Rudolf Hell finally left business life.

A year later, Siemens separated from the Kiel company and merged with Linotype AG. Linotype-Hell AG was created with main locations in Kiel and Eschborn near Frankfurt. The Kiel-Gaarden location was given up and since 1991 it has housed the technical faculty of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel . Linotype-Hell AG itself was taken over by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in 1996 ; the Eschborn site was closed and most of the Eschborn activities were relocated to Kiel. In 1997 the gravure printing activities were concentrated in Hell Gravure Systems GmbH, whose shares belonged to Heidelberg until 2002 and have been privately managed since then. Most of the rest was handled.

In 2002 Rudolf Hell died in Kiel at the age of 100 and was buried in the Eichhof park cemetery. He applied for 131 patents in his life.


"Hell is the Edison of the graphics industry."

- Hermann Zapf : Laudation for the Gutenberg Prize 1977
  • 1962 gold medal from the Vienna Photography Society
  • 1967 Great Cross of Merit for the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 1967 Gold Medal of the Society for Printing of the CSSR
  • 1968 Ullstein-Ring
  • 1968 Culture Prize of the City of Kiel
  • 1969 Segnatura AIGEC of the Union Italienne des Exports et Conseilleures Graphiques
  • 1973 Dr.-Ing. eh the Technical University of Munich
  • 1977 Gutenberg Prize from the Gutenberg Society and the City of Mainz
  • 1978 Werner-von-Siemens-Ring (Ring of Honor for Services to Science and Technology), in the presence of Federal President Karl Carstens
  • 1980 Large Federal Cross of Merit with a star
  • 1981 FDI medal (executives in the printing industry) for services to the graphic industry
  • 1981 honorary citizenship of the city of Kiel
  • 1987 Admission to the inventors' gallery of the German Patent Office in Munich
  • 1993: VDE honor ring
  • 2001 The city of Kiel renames the Siemenswall in honor of his life's work on May 15th in Dr.-Hell-Straße


  • Boris Fuchs, Christian Onnasch: Dr.-Ing. Rudolf Hell: the engineer of the century in the reflection of current events; his exemplary work. Ed. Braus, Heidelberg, 2005, ISBN 3-89904-163-1 .
  • Manfred Raether: Linotype - Chronicle of a company name . e-book (PDF); Schöneck 2009.

Web links

Commons : Rudolf Hell  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Patent DE450187 : Photoelectric image splitting tube for televisions. Registered on April 5, 1925 , published October 3, 1927 , inventors: Max Dieckmann, Rudolf Hell.
  2. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. Eh Rudolf Hell on the website of the German Patent and Trademark Office
  3. International Gutenberg Society: 1977 Rudolf Hell
  4. VDE ring of honor . Accessed January 31, 2018.