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C.L. Berger: A History

July 1, 2012

There were many great men that initially came to America in pursuit of an opportunity to reach out and grab something, that something being success, and it was an opportunity that they would never be offered in Europe where dreams of owning property or intellectual property seemed hopeless and futile. Many of these immigrants had nothing, save what they had stashed away to book passage to the United States, and making this journey was an “all in” play that would make them or break them. Many of these great immigrants found their success with only their wits and imagination, coupled with passion and talent.

That being said, it may be surprising to learn that Berger was not of this breed, but rather was from a proud German heritage that carried with it resources and entitlement. Often, it is much harder to leave behind everything for the opportunity to acquire something, when the prospect of losing everything carries with it the loss of privilege and prosperity. It could be argued that it must have been harder for men like this, men with a proud family lineage and upper middle class money, to uproot and take a chance on the United States, or at least when contrasted against men with nothing, who also had nothing to lose.

Berger was a well-travelled man and could have set up shop anywhere, but instead chose to settle in the United States. Although it is hard to speculate on the inexplicit motivations of a man, the fact of the matter is that whether or not he was influenced by the need to earn a self-made success, not handed to him through provisioned entitlement, his choice to settle in the U.S. was a demonstration that the potential rewards outweighed the risk.

In 1842 Christian Louis Berger was born in Struttgart, Germany, and Christian enjoyed all the comforts of his well to do family and the notoriety of a storied and prosperous German genealogy. His family, descendants of a royally appointed family, which were charged with crafting the royal arms and royal armor for the royals and aristocrats in Wurttemburg, Germany. Christian began his training at the young impressionable age of 14 years old. As he travelled a decade long apprenticeship across Europe, he was afforded the opportunity to learn from multiple European manufacturers of precision instruments. This apprenticeship included the much-lauded F.W. Breithaupt & Sons of Cassell, Germany.

In the year 1866, Christian Louis Berger immigrated to the United States of America, and later began his own establishment to produce and manufacture his own precision instruments. He named his company C.L. Berger & Sons, and set up shop in Roxbury, Massachusetts. It was not long before Berger’s precision instruments became widely acclaimed as the very best available, in fact his instruments were used in the building and construction of such great modern marvels as the Panama Canal, Grand Coulee, the Boulder Dam, and the remarkable Golden Gate Bridge.




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