The German "Rheinmetall" heavy engineering works was established the engineer Heinrich Ehrhardt in Düsseldorf in 1889 as the "Rheinische Metallwaren und Maschinenfabrik Aktiengesellschaft" (Rhein Metalwares and Engine Works Corporation) and registered on May 7th 1889. In the same year production starts in rented accommodation in Dusseldorf's Talstrasse and almost within a year they are employing 1,400 people producing 800,000 bullets a day. Then in 1901 a munitions factory was acquired in Sömmerda, a small town near Erfurt in Thuringia, Germany, on the Unstrut river. Following the first world war the Sömmerda factory started producing office machines, making typewriters, mechanical calculators, adding and listing machines and continued to further develop their machines upto the second world war in 1939-45.

Following the second world war, the Sömmerda factory then found itself in the newly formed East Germany, with development and production now continuing as a state-run enterprise, but using the pre-war Rheinmetall name and logo. In 1957, a group of young electronics engineers under the collective direction of Heinz Skolaude brought V.E.B. Büromaschinenwerk Sömmerda (1) into the age of electronics. In 1960 the name was changed to "Supermetall" and then later to the "Soemtron" name in 1962 when they exhibited at the Leipzig Fair of that year an electronic "Fakturierautomaten" (3) - the model EFA 380. 1963 saw the next model the EFA 381 with magnetic core memory.

The new brand name "Soemtron" appeared, composed from "SOEM"merda and Elek"TRON"ik and the long running legal dispute with the Düsseldorf Rheinmetall Group to the trademark "Rheinmetall" was resolved, along with use of the company logo and patent rights. Previously to this, machines were sold under the trade name "Supermetal". In 1966 V.E.B. Büromaschinenwerk Sömmerda then released the first of three electronic calculators. These models, with germanium transistors and "Ferritkernspeichern" (4), were produced in several versions, mechanical calculators ceased production in 1967 with the firm moving over to full production of electronic calculators and computers up until they ceased production in 1991.

Source :

More informations