Hartmann & Braun was founded in Germany in 1879, becoming a leading supplier of instrumentation devices by the turn of the century. In the 1920's, Hartmann & Braun expanded its offering to control equipment, and has since become a leading supplier of both instrumentation and control equipment to the German and pan-European markets. Much of Hartmann & Braun's growth can be traced to strategic acquisitions, beginning with a series of geographical actions taking the company into key markets throughout Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.
In 1951, the group acquired controlling interest in Schoppe & Faeser, a leading German producer of automation equipment for the power industry. Other significant actions included the 1988 purchase of Applied Automation, a US-based leader in analytical products, and the 1991 acquisition of Sensycon, a leading German supplier of temperature measurement devices. Hartmann & Braun became part of the ABB product catalog with the acquisition of Elsag Bailey in 1999.