History. More than 110 years of experience in braking technologies.

1905 to 1944: Founding and rise


  • Georg Knorr founds Knorr-Bremse GmbH in Berlin

1918 to 1926

  • Air brakes for freight trains developed
  • The company rises to become the largest brake manufacturer for rail vehicles in Europe


  • The first air brakes for commercial vehicles are patented

1931 to 1939

  • The Hildebrand-Knorr braking system becomes the standard in 17 countries
  • In 1939 90% of all German 7-16 t trucks are equipped with Knorr-Bremse systems

1945 to 1984: Post-war period and reconstruction


  • Base plant in Berlin confiscated and dismantled after WWII

1945 to 1953

  • Development and production of braking devices resumes in West Germany
  • New company headquarters established in Munich

1960 to 1980

  • KE control valve becomes UIC standard
  • Knorr-Bremse enters the US market with the AAR DB-60 valve for rail vehicles

1985 until today: Expansion through concentration

1985 to 1990

  • 1985: Takeover by Heinz Hermann Thiele
  • Restructuring and concentration on braking technology for rail and commercial vehicles
  • Breakup of the legal corporate structure and creation of two divisions

1990 to 2000

  • Creation of an international production group through subsidiaries and acquisitions
  • Joint venture with VEB Berliner Bremswerk and Robert Bosch GmbH
  • Takeover of NYAB and IFE
  • Large-scale production of pneumatically-operated disc brakes for commercial vehicles begins

2000 until today

  • Global presence expanded
  • Knorr-Bremse develops into one of the world’s leading braking technology companies
  • Takeover of Westinghouse, Bendix, Zelisko, Microelettrica, Merak
  • 2015: 110-year anniversary of the company
  • Joint ventures in the booming Chinese and Russian markets
  • 2016: Entering the steering system business with Knorr-Bremse SteeringSystems
  • 2017: Acquisition of Kiepe Electric: a step toward electrification