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History: Robert Bosch

Always active, even in his free time

The Man — Nature lover, hunter, and farmer

6 mins read

As early as his apprenticeship years in Ulm, Robert Bosch honed his shooting skills using a Flobert rifle bought and paid for with his own pocket money. However, with sparrows the only quarry in his sights at this early stage, it would take another 20 years and more before he became a “real” hunter. Yet Robert Bosch was not simply a huntsman; he was also concerned with preserving and maintaining stocks of game. In addition to his passion for hunting, he also pursued his keen interest in agriculture at the Bosch Farm in Mooseurach.

Drawing of a stag — symbol for Robert Bosch's passion for hunting.

Stalking

Hunting was an ideal hobby for Robert Bosch. The silence that had to be maintained while stalking suited his taciturn nature, and he could spend time in the outdoors he so loved. However, after a successful hunting trip, he let his hair down and joined in hearty renditions of hunting songs. Robert Bosch did not have many close friends, but those he did could depend on him completely. His closest friendships were reserved for the men who shared his passion for hunting.

Robert Bosch and his licensed hunter Seraphin Schöll (1941).
Robert Bosch and his licensed hunter Seraphin Schöll (1941).
Robert Bosch (far right) with three other hunters and their trophies (c. 1938).
Robert Bosch (far right) with three other hunters and their trophies (c. 1938).
Robert Bosch (right) with traveling companions outside a hunting lodge in Sweden (1917).
Robert Bosch (right) with traveling companions outside a hunting lodge in Sweden (1917).

Robert Bosch invited visitors on hunts in order to get to know them outside work. If any guest was unlucky enough to disappoint his host, it more or less put to rest any hopes of a business relationship with Bosch.

Robert Bosch and fellow hunters around a campfire (1938).
Robert Bosch and fellow hunters around a campfire (1938).
Robert Bosch and Hermann Bücher (Chairman of the management board of AEG), 1933.
Robert Bosch and Hermann Bücher (Chairman of the management board of AEG), 1933.
Robert Bosch on a hunting trip (1938).
Robert Bosch on a hunting trip (1938).
Drawing of a cow — Robert Bosch was interested in agriculture as well.

Farming peaty land in Bavaria

Robert Bosch’s close affinity with nature was also evident in his decision to get involved in agriculture. In 1912, Robert Bosch had acquired shares in a company that planned to use the Ekenberg process of electrolytic hydrogenation to produce peat for use in the manufacture of fuel. But the process proved economically inviable. This setback fueled Bosch’s entrepreneurial ambition. “Back then, it seemed to me a great feat to transform a mere bog into a land of milk and honey.”

Aerial photograph of the Bosch Farm (1935).
Aerial photograph of the Bosch Farm (1935).
Breeding calves at the Bosch Farm in Mooseurach (c. 1927).
Breeding calves at the Bosch Farm in Mooseurach (c. 1927).
Robert Bosch on the Bosch Farm, 1932. After the National Socialists seized power, he withdrew ever more often to the Bosch Farm.
Robert Bosch on the Bosch Farm, 1932. After the National Socialists seized power, he withdrew ever more often to the Bosch Farm.

Robert Bosch wanted to apply the principles that governed his industrial projects to his agricultural activities. He drained the moor, purchased modern agricultural machinery, introduced the newly developed silo feed process, and a hygienic milking system, and marketed the farm s produce directly around Munich’s outskirts — yet still the Bosch Farm was not self-sufficient. After the death of her husband in 1942, Margarete Bosch continued to run the Bosch Farm with the aid of administrators. In 1976, the decision was made to cease agricultural work. The land once wrested from the moor has been undergoing a process of renaturalization since 1986. The Bosch family now operates a small organic farm business again on the site.

The Bosch Farm’s booth at the agricultural exhibition in Munich (1933).
The Bosch Farm’s booth at the agricultural exhibition in Munich (1933).
Left: Robert Bosch attached great importance to hygienic practices that improved the quality of his farm’s milk, butter, and cheese (1930). Right: The produce from the Bosch Farm was also advertised professionally (1931).
Left: Robert Bosch attached great importance to hygienic practices that improved the quality of his farm’s milk, butter, and cheese (1930). Right: The produce from the Bosch Farm was also advertised professionally (1931).
To professionally cultivate the soil, large machines were procured (around 1930).
To professionally cultivate the soil, large machines were procured (around 1930).

Supplement

Supplement 1: Robert Bosch — His life and work

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