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Analysis

History of the Drägermen

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 17:51

In the late 19th century the son of the founder of Dräger, Bernhard Dräger, recognized the potential of oxygen and created the company’s guiding principle: Technology for Life. Dräger carried out extensive research and development, and discovered that the principle of pressure reduction has applications as a basic technology that can be used in a variety of products, from soldering and welding equipment to ventilation and respiratory apparatus. In 1904 Bernhard Dräger conducted a series of tests to acquire data on the respiratory requirements of humans, resulting in the first serviceable breathing apparatus, which was then enhanced in close cooperation with mine rescuers. Two years later on March 10, 1906, there was an explosion on a coal mine near Courrières in France. Around 1,600 men were working underground at the time of the accident, and there was an immediate call for aid, with German mine rescue teams among those that responded to the emergency. This was one of the worst mining catastrophes in history: over 1,000 miners died due to fires, poisonous gases, collapsed mine walls, and floods. However, many workers were saved by the rescue teams, which were equipped with Dräger breathing apparatus. Bernhard Dräger also traveled to Courrières himself to experience the underground working conditions of the rescue teams firsthand. In the following years, Dräger equipment proved to be effective in numerous mining disasters in Europe and the US, and the company had such a technological edge in this field that US mine rescue workers became known as “Drägermen”. “Dräger has been in the mining sector for more than 100 years, and it is so closely linked with safety that a group working on proposals to improve safety in the Mexican mining industry named itself ‘Drägerman’,” says Tjerk Raske, Director General of Dräger Mexico.