In 1951 the brothers Erwin and Arthur Braun take over the company of their father Max Braun, a mechanical engineer, who established a small engineering shop in Frankfurt/Main in 1921. The younger generation continued to produce state-of-the art radios and audio equipment, and soon became well known for its ‘high-fidelity’ audio and record players, including the famous SK line. They create honest, unobtrusive and functional devices, which had nothing to do with the everywhere offered fashionable, asterisk radios.
The first radio, the “Kleinsuper SK 1”, designed by the art historian Dr. Fritz Eichler and the technician Arthur Braun became a first component for sets and was very successful in this range up to the seventies.
The design communicate precision and solidity in restrained elegance: a closed cuboid, a simple Bakelite frame, a perforated plate, two unlabeled buttons, a big circular frequency scale – a geometric game of circle and rectangle.
This device was following in its best sense the principles of “good shape” and “New Building” – arrangement, harmony and industrial production in the tradition of the Deutscher Werkbund and the Bauhaus.
Five radios of this type followed: first in the colours light blue and green colour, graphite and cream resp beige, later in graphite and light gray.
The technically advanced model of “Kleinsuper SK2” for UKW and MW came on the market still in 1955, in the following year the SK3, since 1958 the SK2-US for the American market, in 1959 was brought out another SK2/2 and 1961 the SK25. Size and type of the little radio stayed without change except on technical details and a slightly varied frequency scale.
Yet in 1955 the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm (HfG) received orders for redevelopment the audio and record players and already eight months later the company presented the newly developed program on the “Düsseldorfer Funkausstellung” (1955). The presentation at the booth designed by Otl Aicher stirred national and international sensation. First representatives of the new line were the SK 1 and SK 2 and the radio-record player-combination the PK-G. The SK 1 had proved as a lesson for all other designs. Easily the type was set to other devices resp complementary others on the basis of this piece.
For the new program Braun receives the Grand Prix of the XI. Triennale in Venice in 1957. In the same year the most architects select Braun devices for their exemplary living areas at the Berlin Interbau – in conjunction with Knoll-furniture (Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia) and Rosenthal-flatware.
The founders of the Braun Designs next to Fritz Eichler were Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher, Hans Gugelot, Albrecht Schultz and Herbert Hirche. Very soon the architect Dieter Rams came to Braun and he led the division from 1961 on, Rams was named abroad „Mr. Braun“. With him the “Braun-Design”, got the reputation as best German postwar design.
In: Deutsche Warenkunde: Eine Bildkartei des Deutschen Werkbunds, Darmstadt 1955-1961.
Cp. continuing: Jo Klatt, Günter Staeffler (Hg.): Braun+Design Collection. 40 Jahre Braun Design – 1955 bis 1995.
A.o. in: Deutschen Rundfunk Museum (DRM), Berlin; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.