Famous German Inventors

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite German Inventors

 1 
Wernher Von Braun
(Known as Father of Rocket Science)

Wernher Von Braun
4
Birthdate: March 23, 1912
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wyrzysk, Poland
Died: June 16, 1977

German-born American aerospace engineer and space architect, Wernher Von Braun, worked in Nazi Germany's rocket development program as a young man. After World War II, he moved to the United States where he became a pioneer of rocket and space technology in the nation. In his later career, he became director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center.

 2 

Johannes Gutenberg
4
Birthdate: 1400 AD
Birthplace: Mainz, Germany
Died: February 3, 1468

Credit goes to Johannes Gutenberg for transforming book-making from manuscripts to the printed form as he introduced the movable-type printing press in the 15th century. The German printer and publisher’s invention contributed to mass communication during the Renaissance. He was not successful in his business and was exiled during the later years of his life.  He was also a goldsmith.

 3 
Rudolf Diesel
(Inventor of Diesel Engine)

Rudolf Diesel
4
Birthdate: March 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1913

Rudolf Diesel was a German mechanical engineer and inventor best remembered for inventing the Diesel engine. After Diesel's demise, his engine became an important substitution for the steam piston engine. The engine became widespread in applications, such as agricultural machines, submarines, ships, and trucks. His life inspired the 1942 biographical film Diesel, in which he was played by Willy Birgel.

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 4 

John B. Goodenough
4
Birthdate: July 25, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jena, Germany

John B. Goodenough is an American solid-state physicist and materials scientist. He is credited with developing the lithium-ion battery. In 2019, he became the oldest person to receive a Nobel Prize when he was honored with the prestigious award for his work on lithium-ion batteries. He is also a recipient of the Copley Medal and the National Medal of Science.

 5 
Joseph Pilates
(Physical Trainer and Inventor of the 'Pilates' Method of Physical Fitness)

Joseph Pilates
4
Birthdate: December 9, 1883
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mönchengladbach, Germany
Died: October 9, 1967

Joseph Pilates was a German physical trainer. He is credited with developing and popularizing the Pilates method of physical training. Originally a bodybuilder and gymnast, Pilates studied the movements of animals, especially cats, and modeled his fitness training based on this. He was featured in a documentary movie titled A Movement of Movement.

 6 
Robert Bosch
(Entrepreneur, Inventor, Artisan)

Robert Bosch
3
Birthdate: September 23, 1861
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Felkirchen
Died: March 12, 1942

The founder of the German engineering and technological MNC Bosch, Robert Bosch was born to a farmer in a south Germany village. He is also remembered as one of the first Germans to introduce 8-hour work days. He also invented the high-voltage spark plug and magneto for automobiles.

 7 
Gunther von Hagens
(Anatomist who invented the technique for preserving biological tissue specimens called plastination)

Gunther von Hagens
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alt-Skalden, Reichsgau Wartheland, Germany
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 8 
Otto Lilienthal
(Known for successful gliding experiments)

Otto Lilienthal
3
Birthdate: May 23, 1848
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Anklam, Germany
Died: August 10, 1896

 9 
Ralph H. Baer
(Inventor)

Ralph H. Baer
3
Birthdate: March 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rodalben, Germany
Died: December 6, 2014

Born to a German Jewish family, Ralph H. Baer and his family escaped to New York later. He went from working in a factory to becoming an engineer. While working at Sanders Associates, he developed the idea of playing games on TV and later created the first video game console.

 10 
Karl Benz
(Entrepreneur)

Karl Benz
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1844
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mühlburg, Karlsruhe, Germany
Died: April 4, 1929

Karl Benz was a German engine designer, automotive engineer, and entrepreneur.  He designed the Benz Patent Motorcar, for which he received a patent in 1886. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe before venturing into developing motorcars. His Benz Patent Motorcar is widely regarded as the world's first production automobile. 

 11 

Justus von Liebig
3
Birthdate: May 12, 1803
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: April 18, 1873

German chemist Justus von Liebig is best known for his research on organic compounds and his contribution to biochemistry and agriculture. The Copley Medal-winning scientist initially studied pharmacy but later switched to chemistry. As a professor, he stressed on laboratory-based teaching of chemistry and separating it from pharmacy, opposing traditional methods.

 12 

Ferdinand von Zeppelin
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1838
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Died: March 8, 1917

 13 
Wilhelm Maybach
(Engineer, Entrepreneur, Inventor)

Wilhelm Maybach
3
Birthdate: February 9, 1846
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Heilbronn
Died: December 29, 1929

Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1780
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hof, Germany
Died: March 24, 1849

German chemist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner was born amid poverty but managed to get training as an apothecary. After his university education, he taught at the University of Jena. His discovery of the fact that certain chemical elements were similar later led to the development of the periodic law of chemistry.

 15 
Emile Berliner
(Inventor)

Emile Berliner
3
Birthdate: May 20, 1851
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: August 3, 1929

 16 
Charles Proteus Steinmetz
(Mathematician, Electrical engineer, Engineer, Scientist, Inventor)

Charles Proteus Steinmetz
3
Birthdate: April 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: October 26, 1923

 17 
Hans Geiger
(Physicist)

Hans Geiger
3
Birthdate: September 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Neustadt, Germany
Died: September 24, 1945

 18 
Hugo Junkers
(Engineer)

Hugo Junkers
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rheydt, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia
Died: February 3, 1935

 19 
Gustave Whitehead
(Aerospace engineer, Engineer)

Gustave Whitehead
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1874
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Leutershausen
Died: October 10, 1927

 20 
Peter Henlein
(watchmaker, inventor)

Peter Henlein
3
Birthdate: 1485 AD
Birthplace: Nuremberg
Died: July 31, 1542

 21 
Otto von Guericke
(Scientist and politician who established the physics of vacuums and discovered an experimental method for clearly demonstrating electrostatic repulsion.)

Otto von Guericke
3
Birthdate: November 30, 1602
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Magdeburg, Germany
Died: May 21, 1686

Otto von Guericke was a German inventor, scientist, and politician. He made several significant contributions to the development of the Scientific Revolution. He is also credited with inventing the first air pump which he used effectively to study the phenomenon of vacuum. His studies and observation helped reveal the fact that light unlike sound can travel through a vacuum.

 22 

Karl Ferdinand Braun
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1850
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fulda, Germany
Died: April 20, 1918

Karl Ferdinand Braun was a German electrical engineer, inventor, and physicist. He made significant contributions to the development of radio and TV technology. In 1909, he jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physics with Guglielmo Marconi for their contribution to the development of wireless telegraphy. His work led to the later development of radar, smart antennas, and MIMO. 

 23 
Hugo Schmeisser
(Inventor, Engineer)

Hugo Schmeisser
3
Birthdate: September 24, 1884
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Jena
Died: September 12, 1953

 24 
Karl Drais
(Inventor, Forester)

Karl Drais
3
Birthdate: April 29, 1785
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Karlsruhe
Died: December 10, 1851

 25 
Hans von Ohain
(Physicist)

Hans von Ohain
3
Birthdate: December 14, 1911
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dessau, Duchy of Anhalt, Germany
Died: March 13, 1998

 26 
Johann Philipp Reis
(Physicist, Inventor)

Johann Philipp Reis
3
Birthdate: January 7, 1834
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gelnhausen
Died: January 14, 1874

 27 
Hennig Brand
(Merchant)

Hennig Brand
3
Birthdate: 1630 AD
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: 1710 AD

Apart from being an army officer and a physician, Hennig Brand was also an alchemist who was constantly looking for the mythical philosopher’s stone. His research led him to discover phosphorus by accident, which he kept a secret, though it was later formally discovered by Robert Boyle from England.

 28 
Felix Wankel
(Inventor, Engineer, Politician)

Felix Wankel
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lahr
Died: October 9, 1988

 29 
Alfred Einstein
(Physicist)

Alfred Einstein
2
Birthdate: March 14, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: April 18, 1955

 30 
Felix Hoffmann
(Chemist, Inventor, Pharmacist, Non-fiction writer)

Felix Hoffmann
3
Birthdate: January 21, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ludwigsburg
Died: February 8, 1946

Felix Hoffmann was a German chemist best remembered for re-synthesizing diamorphine, which was later popularized as heroin. Hoffmann is also known for synthesizing aspirin, although it is still unclear whether he synthesized it on his own or under the direction of Arthur Eichengrün. In 2002, Felix Hoffmann was inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame. 

 31 
Siegfried Marcus
(Former inventor who built four of the world’s earliest gasoline-powered automobiles)

Siegfried Marcus
3
Birthdate: September 18, 1831
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Malchin, Germany
Died: July 1, 1898

Starting his career as a mechanic at age 12, Siegfried Marcus grew up to be one of the most legendary engineers and manufacturers of his time. His experimental creation, known as Marcus's second car, was the first automobile with a four-cycle engine and the first that used gasoline as fuel.

 32 
Carl Wilhelm Siemens
(Electrical Engineer)

Carl Wilhelm Siemens
2
Birthdate: April 4, 1823
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gehrden, Germany
Died: November 19, 1883

German-British inventor and electrical engineer, who revolutionized the steel-making and glass-making industries, is best remembered for using the Siemens-Martin process to create the regenerative furnace. His achievements earned him accolades such as the Albert Medal. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society and was knighted shortly before his death.

 33 
Karlheinz Brandenburg
(Inventor, Engineer, Audio engineer, University teacher)

Karlheinz Brandenburg
2
Birthdate: June 20, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Erlangen

 34 

Wilhelm Schickard
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1592
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Herrenberg, Germany
Died: October 24, 1635

 35 
Gerd Binnig
(Physicist)

Gerd Binnig
2
Birthdate: July 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Nobel Prize-winning German physicist Gerd Binnig invented the scanning tunneling microscope, with fellow Nobel laureate Heinrich Rohrer. As a child, he devoted a lot of time to music, playing the violin and performing for an orchestra. He spent most of his scientific career with the IBM research team.

 36 

Walter H. Schottky
2
Birthdate: July 23, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: March 4, 1976

 37 

Paul Gottlieb Nipkow
2
Birthdate: August 22, 1860
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lębork, Poland
Died: August 24, 1940

 38 
Theobald Boehm
(Inventor)

Theobald Boehm
2
Birthdate: April 9, 1794
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: November 27, 1881

 39 
Oskar Barnack
(Inventor)

Oskar Barnack
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lynow, Germany
Died: January 16, 1936

Oskar Barnack was a German photographer and inventor. He is credited with building a device, which would later become the first successful 35mm still-camera. Barnack developed the camera, which was named Leica, at the Leitz Company where he was working as an engineer. Oskar Barnack is also credited with creating news images, which he made with his 35 mm camera.

 40 
Alois Senefelder
(Actor and playwright who invented the printing technique of lithography in the 1790s)

Alois Senefelder
2
Birthdate: November 6, 1771
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: February 26, 1834

 41 
Anton Flettner
(Engineer)

Anton Flettner
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hattersheim am Main, Germany
Died: December 29, 1961

 42 

Claudius Dornier
2
Birthdate: May 14, 1884
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kempten, Germany
Died: December 5, 1969

 43 

Ottmar Mergenthaler
2
Birthdate: May 11, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bad Mergentheim, Germany
Died: October 28, 1899

Christian Friedrich Schönbein
2
Birthdate: October 18, 1799
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Metzingen, Germany
Died: August 29, 1868

German chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein is best remembered for his discovery of ozone and the fuel cell. He also discovered guncotton, or nitrocellulose, as a result of a kitchen accident. He was an apprentice at a chemical firm at 13 and grew up to teach at the at the University of Basel.

 45 
Hans Lippershey
(optician, physicist, inventor)

Hans Lippershey
1
Birthdate: 1570 AD
Birthplace: Wesel
Died: August 31, 1619

 46 
Ernst Stuhlinger
(Scientist)

Ernst Stuhlinger
1
Birthdate: December 19, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Niederrimbach, Germany
Died: May 25, 2008

 47 
Friedrich Gottlob Koenig
(Best Known for His High-Speed Steam-Powered Printing Press)

Friedrich Gottlob Koenig
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1774
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Eisleben, Germany
Died: January 17, 1833

 48 
Viktor Meyer
(Chemist)

Viktor Meyer
1
Birthdate: September 8, 1848
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 8, 1897

Heinrich Daniel Ruhmkorff
1
Birthdate: January 15, 1803
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hannover, Germany
Died: December 20, 1877

 50 
Berthold Schwarz
(Alchemist)

Berthold Schwarz
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Freiburg, Germany