The Robert Bosch Corporation has gone from humble beginnings to being one of the largest companies in the world. With more than twenty divisions and over 250 subsidiary companies incorporating a wide range of industries, this conglomerate has contributed countless innovations, affecting the lives of millions of people every day.
Founded by Robert Bosch (1861-1942), the company was first formed to make magneto ignition parts for rapidly advancing internal combustion engines. After developing a reputation for a quality product in Europe, Bosch began operations in the US in 1906.
Within eight years, the Bosch Magneto Company in the US grew to the point that 70% of the entire company's revenues were generated in the US. However, because of it's German heritage, the United States government, at the outset of World War I, expropriated and sold off the assets of the Bosch Magneto Company. After the war, the company re-formed and rebuilt, but was once again expropriated at the outset of World War II. After WWII, Bosch rebuilt and re-gained the rights to use their name and trademarks worldwide.
Although Bosch has grown substantially over the years, they still maintain their automotive heritage. This is no where more evident than in their logo, designed by Gottlob Hohnold in 1921, depicting an "armature in a circle" and which originally bore the word "Germany." Although the automotive market is only one portion of the company's worldwide foothold, it still uses the logo on nearly all of it's products, including power tools.
An interesting side note about the company's ownership: more than 90% of the shares in the company are held by a charitable foundation. This foundation oversees a number of charitable functions, not the least of which is the Carnegie Bosch Institute for Applied Studies in International Management in Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business.
Most of Bosch's profits are turned back into the company, which allows them to have a higher percentage of profits devoted to research and development than other public companies, which must devote a large percentage of profits to shareholder dividends.
Not only does Bosch manufacture woodworking tools under their own name plate, but they also own Skil Power Tools, Dremel, Vermont American, Freud, RotoZIP and more. Under the Bosch trademark, they offer woodworking machines such as compound miter saws and table saws, plus handheld woodworking power tools including circular saws, jigsaws, corded and cordless drills, numerous styles of sanders, reciprocating saws and more. Beginning in 2009, Bosch announced a line of pneumatic compressors and nailers as well.
Bosch is credited with innovations that include a number of woodworking power tools available today. For instance, in 1946, a Bosch employee inserted a blade into his wife's sewing machine, and the idea for the jigsaw was born. A year later, in 1947, Bosch introduced the first jigsaw onto the market.
A more recent example of Bosch innovation came in 2003, when Bosch introduced the first 12-inch sliding compound dual-bevel miter saw with all up-front bevel and miter controls.
Source: The Bosch Group (http://www.bosch.us)