Braun GmbH, once Braun AG, is a German company popular for producing a wide range of consumer products. They were once a part of the Gillette Company. In fact, they were part of Gillette from 1984 up until 2005, and Gillette had actually maintained a controlling interest in Braun since 1967. Today, they are a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble. However, in 2012, DeLonghi bought the rights to create products that featured the Braun brand for their small appliances. Procter & Gamble still owns the overall business, though.
Of course, to understand Braun, one must look further back in history to the beginning of the company.
Max Braun was a mechanical engineer, and he had a small shop dedicated to engineering in 1921. This shop, in Frankfurt, Germany, produced a number of different items. Some of the first items to come out of the shop were parts for radios. They started to become more successful and popular in those early days. They eventually moved into a larger facility, and it was at that point that they were able to do more than just make radio components. They started making the entire radio, and this led them to become one of the top radio manufacturers in Germany. In 1932, they created one of the earliest iterations of a combination record player and radio. They became successful enough that Max Braun received the award for special achievements in phonographs at the 1937 World Fair.
After World War II, the company was able to return to making products for the consumer market. They continued to make radios and a variety of other audio equipment. It was not long before they started to get into the realm of hi-fi players, which helped to make them even more popular. They started to produce a number of other types of items at this time as well, including slide projectors, which would become a very important part of their business.
One of the other products they created after the war, and one that people would come to instantly associate with the brand, was the electric shaver. Interestingly, they developed their first shaver in 1938, but they were unable to produce it until 1951 because of the war. Today, their shavers are some of the most popular and trusted in the world, and they have done wonders to help solidify the reputation of this brand as one that continually makes high quality products.
Braun became a publicly traded company in 1962. A year later, they started to distribute microphones ?although they did not manufacture them ?in Germany. They distributed microphones from Shure, an American company. In 1967, Gillette Group bought the company. It was at this point that they became Braun AG. Under Gillette, Braun spent the ?0s focusing more on their consumer appliances. They were making more radios, clocks, coffeemakers, and shavers during this period, and they discontinued their slide projectors and hi-fi products by the ?0s.
By 1998, they had once again become a private company. At this point, they were one of the top manufacturers of home appliances and electronic goods, and they had a stellar reputation among customers as a company that delivered quality. In 2005, Procter & Gamble bought the company. Three years later, they discontinued the sale of most appliances from Braun. The only items they continued to sell in the North American market were the shavers and electric toothbrushes. Their toothbrushes now fall under the Oral-B brand name. Europe was a different story, though. Many products in a large number of categories are still available there and bearing the Braun brand.
Other companies generally handle the other pieces of the business, such as health and wellness products and small appliances, clocks, and watches. Those companies, such as DeLonghi and Zeon still put out items that bear the Braun brand in Europe.
The brand still has a great reputation worldwide, and people associate it with quality in terms of function as well as design. They make quality products from an aesthetic standpoint, and they are durable enough to last as well. The reputation they built will likely continue to grow stronger, particularly in the realm of shavers.