Man of God and engineer
Philipp Matthäus Hahn was born in 1739 in Scharnhausen as the son of a protestant minister. He learned Latin already at the age of four, a year later Greek and Hebrew. Like his father, he became a minister, but also devoted himself to chemistry, physics, mathematics and astronomy. A self-taught technical genius, he invented clocks, scales, astronomical and computing machines which even today rate as ground-breaking engineering achievements.
Hahn is credited with inventing the the first fully functioning computing machine capable of all four basic arithmetical methods in 1779. His astronomical instruments precisely indicate seconds, minutes, day, month, year with leap years and the exact positions of the planets. One of his clocks even reached the Chinese imperial court as a diplomatic gift.
Duke Karl Eugen, who dubbed him “God’s watchmaker”, would have liked to have him as a professor in Tuebingen. Hahn however declined the well-paid professorial chair, preferring to remain a minister. He spent his final years from 1781 in a well-endowed vicarage in Echterdingen, intensively pursuing his research until his death in 1790.

Engineering, a key industry

Engineering in the Stuttgart region is characterised by niche markets, special machinery and customised equipment. A wide range of high quality products is developed and manufactured in the area.
Ground-breaking inventions like the drill, office copier or disk laser originated in the Stuttgart region. A strong metal processing industry grew up around the automotive pioneers. Nowadays, traditional companies and young high tech start-ups share the arena. Innovative thematic fields include mechatronics, nanotechnology, laser technology or surface technology. More than 3,600 patent applications every year continue to substantiate the Stuttgart region’s reputation for inventiveness. Stuttgart and its surrounding area form one of Europe’s strongest research communities, with what has proved to be a winning combination of basic and applied industrial research and development institutes, resulting in a fast turnaround of scientific findings into specific products.
Aside from car making, the aerospace, medical engineering or commodity sectors all benefit from future-focused solutions aimed at swift, precise and reliable production.
The production engineering cluster in the Stuttgart region, centred around mechanical engineering, was identified by the European Cluster Observatory as the most significant cluster in this sector of technology in the whole of Europe. The region’s Economic Development department has set itself the goal of networking this outstanding potential of players even more intensively and of promoting the implementation of innovations.

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Window sealing in car assembly – a Duerr high-precision process


Inclination scale that works without weights

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Computing machine by Philipp Matthäus Hahn based on the stepped drum principle which achieved 11-figure results


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