On April 17, 1906 the brand name of OSRAM was entered in the Trademark Directory of the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin. The name was created from the materials used to produce filaments - initially Osmium and later Wolfram. It was to become one of two leading lighting manufacturers in the world, but also holds a claim to fame as the first radio manufacturer in Japan.
Osram is a truly global company with world sales of $4.7 billion in 2007 and over 40,000 employees. Headquartered in Germany, Osram's General Lighting Division accounts for nearly half of sales. 16% of sales are in automative lighting, with the remainder in Ballasts and Luminaires, Opto Semiconductors, Precision Materials and Components and Display/Optic.
The company has a long history of innovation. In 1925, it launched Bilux the first fully developed car headlight lamp that offered both high beam and dipped beam from a single light source. Recently it launched Night Beam, the brightest headlamp in the world.
Osram has been pioneering in energy efficiency, and was one of the first to launch an energy-saving lamp for the home, the Dulux EL energy-saving lamp which consumes 80% less electricity than a standard lamp. In 1985 OSRAM became the first manufacturer to integrate the electronic control gear (ECG) in the base of an energy saving lamp.
Its New Product Development Programme has also looked beyond simply providing a light source. In 2005, the Puritec UV system from OSRAM was launched, which purifies drinking water with the aid of ultraviolet light. The process is economical and does not involve any chemicals, which has transformed life in drought-stricken areas and helped thousands of campers and travellers.
Future developments could be more exciting still. Still at the laboratory stage, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors has developed a transparent white Organic LED tile with superb light output and outstanding performance. This opens the way to illuminated partitions and canopies, and the integration of these light sources in a wide variety of applications on the general lighting market.