Loewe, Ludwig (1837–1886) and Isidor (1848–1910)

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LOEWE, LUDWIG (1837–1886) and ISIDOR (1848–1910)

LOEWE, LUDWIG (1837–1886) and ISIDOR (1848–1910), German industrialists. They were born in Heiligenstadt, Thuringia, sons of an indigent teacher. Ludwig Loewe founded in 1869 his first factory, L. Loewe … Co. Commanditgesellschaft, and became a wealthy machinery merchant in Berlin. In 1860 he was elected to the city council, in 1876 to the Prussian Landtag, and in 1878 to the Reichstag; he was first associated with the Fortschrittspartei and later with the Deutsch-Freisinnige Partei. In 1870 Ludwig visited the United States and studied modern American business and mass production methods. By introducing these into his sewing machine factory he set a pattern which led to a vast improvement in German industrial techniques. In 1872 he began to manufacture rifles for the German army and later exported them on a large scale.

Isidor Loewe joined his brother's firm in 1875 and became its general director in 1886. After Ludwig's death he effected a merger with the Mauser factory in order to fulfill orders for over a million rifles for Prussia and Turkey. In 1892 the antisemite Hermann *Ahlwardt wrote several scurrilous pamphlets on "Jew rifles" as a symbol of a "Jewish world conspiracy," accusing Loewe of being a traitor to Germany by using such poor materials that the rifles were a greater hazard to the user than to his enemy. Ahlwardt was charged with libel and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Further mergers resulted in 1896 in the formation of the Deutsche Waffenund Munitionsfabrik A.G., with the largest rifle factory in the world. In 1892, together with an American company, Isidor Loewe established a firm which built electric streetcars for German and Belgian cities. He also made automobiles and began to manufacture aircraft.


K. Zielinziger, Juden in der deutschen Wirtschaft (1930); F. Wegeleben, Die Rationalisierung im deutschen Werkzeugmaschinenbau (1924). Add. Bibliography: ndb, 15 (1987), 77–78.

[Samuel Aaron Miller /

Bjoern Siegel (2nd ed.)]