August Horch

August Horch ( born October 12, 1868 in Winningen, † February 3, 1951 in Munchberg, Upper Franconia ) was a German mechanical engineer and founder of the automobile company Horch and Audi.


Horch came from an old winery and forging family. After his school education at the age of 13 years Horch learned in the smithy of his father, first as a blacksmith and built his first means of: a dreirädiges penny-farthing. From 1888 to 1891 he studied at the technical Mittweida and worked from 1891 to 1899 as a mechanical engineer in Rostock, Leipzig and Carl Benz in Mannheim. August Horch was his life, never held a driving license or a driving license.

Horch & Cie.

In 1899, August Horch, the company Horch & Cie. in the Ehrenfeld district of Cologne in 1900 and built his first automobile with his self-developed " and smooth motor ." Because of its investor Moritz Bauer Horch moved the operation in 1902 to Reichenbach im Vogtland. In 1903 he introduced the first German car with a four-cylinder engine from the model 3 ³ with a displacement of 2382 cm and a power of 22 hp ( 16 kW).

Through his association with Paul Fikent, Zwickau City Council and President of the newly founded in 1903 in Zwickau, Saxony West Saxon -Thuringian Automobile Club ( SThAC ), he was here as a travel attendant Club member. The city was also the seat of the county captaincy. In 1904 he moved the company to Zwickau, where on May 10 as A. Horch & Cie. Motorwagen Werke Actiengesellschaft was entered in the commercial register. The difficult Herkomer competition in which, among other things, certain slopes had to be overcome, won the 1906 Zwickau lawyer Rudolf Stöss on a Horch car. In 1907 Horch & Cie. in Horch 26/65 PS the first six-cylinder engine in front. After that, it came as a result of missing following success in the automotive competitions to disagreements with the supervisory board. Horch left the company early in 1909, because he had due to its low equity, no decision power.

Horch founded Audi

With his fellow investors Fikent Paul and his nephew Franz in sight, he founded the Horch -Werke in Zwickau a second company, the August Horch automobile Werke GmbH, which was registered on July 16, 1909 in the commercial register of the city of Zwickau. Then it came with his former company because of the brand name Horch litigation, August Horch lost in the last instance before the Imperial Court in Leipzig. A son Franz Fikentschers invented as a consequence of the dispute the brand name "Audi", that is the translation of the imperative " hark! " ( Audi = hear = hark! ) Into Latin On April 25, 1910, the company was automobile plants in Audi GmbH. renamed. Initially, the business was limited to maintenance and repair work, while listening together with engineer August Hermann Lange, who also came from the Horch AG, a new car designed. in July 1910 Horch provided the first Audi from. 1915, the company was in a corporation and went as Audi Werke AG Zwickau public.

Expert in Berlin

After the establishment of joint-stock company Horch had little influence on business decisions, so he left the active business. From 1920 to 1933 he worked as a " public employee and sworn motor vehicle expert for all types of vehicles in the field of Industry and Commerce Berlin Chamber " and " Sworn expert for the chamber and the Berlin Regional Court ". In addition, Horch held several honorary positions during this time. Among other things, he was a member of the racing line for the first Avus race ( 1921), Member of the Board " AUKA " to Koordininierung the automotive exhibition in 1923, since January 1924 Director of the Standards Committee of German Industry, since November 3 eV 1924 the first President of the German road etc. in 1922 awarded him an honorary doctorate from TU Braunschweig.

During the 1920s, August Horch got into economic difficulties, which he tried to counter with a chicken farm on the Mosel. However, this company brought him considerable losses. Added to this was the poor health of his wife, so he had to sell his house in Berlin in the autumn of 1931. After 1932, the Saxon automobile manufacturer DKW, Horch, Audi and Wanderer Union AG were merged based in Zschopau retroactive to November 1, 1931 the new company car, the Board convened in 1933 by August Horch in the Supervisory Board. 1935 was the monthly fee RM 500.00; 1938 - had as a listening finance the care of his seriously ill wife in a home - it was increased to RM 1000.00.

1939 appointed the town of Zwickau August Horch an honorary citizen.

The period after 1945

After the war, there were left-wing circles, the August Horch as "Nazi" vilified and claimed that he had only thought of to prolong the war in order to increase its profits. Thus, the honorary citizenship of the city of Zwickau him should be withdrawn. Horch, however, was neither a member of the Nazi Party nor did he have influence on the production of armaments, so that the city council did not meet the request.

In early July 1945, Horch moved to Upper Franconia, where he first found his foster daughter and longtime housekeeper Else Kolmar accommodation in Helmbrechts until three months later an apartment in Munchberg offered. The planned return to Winningen not let the French occupation forces. Horch wife died on March 26, 1946 at the nursing home in Berlin, a few days later, his son Eberhard. In the summer of 1948, married Horch Else Kolmar, who came from a Jewish family and had remained thanks Horch awareness spared from Nazi persecution.

The car in 1949 after a first foundation in 1948 again founded Union GmbH in Ingolstadt paid tribute to the life's work of the now 81 -year-old August Horch, by calling him to the Supervisory Board. The community Winningen honored him in 1949 by an honorary citizen.

In Munchberg, in Winningen as well as in other cities and towns the streets are named after him. His tomb is located in the cemetery of his birthplace Winningen.


  • Honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Braunschweig in 1922
  • August Horch in Zwickau in 1939 an honorary citizen
  • The Landesmuseum Koblenz is dedicated to the works Horch own department.
  • The public observatory in Drebach (Erzgebirge) calls the planetoid discovered in 2000 by August Horch SS44. He now bears the official name ( 62190 ) August Horch.
  • A museum in the School of Horch birthplace Winningen shows, among other things, an exhibition on his life's work.
  • Renaming of the vocational school Andernach in August- Horch - school 2005
  • After August Horch was named streets in many cities and towns, including in Bremen, Erkelenz, Gifhorn, Kaiser Esch, Koblenz, Cologne, Lüneburg, Mainz, Munich, Mountain, Munich, Münster, Polch, Reinsdorf, simmering and Winningen.