Gretag AG 1943 - 2004

Nationality:
Swiss
based:
Zurich, Zurich canton, Switzerland

Gretag AG was initially established as Dr Edgar Gretener AG in 1943. Gretener was one of the developers of the Eidophor large screen video projector which was marketed by his company. However, the company gained success through its series of hi-end cipher machines which were developed for the Swiss Army, and the colour image processing equipment for the printing industry. When Gretener died in 1958, the company was taken over by CIBA Holding AG at which point its name changed to Gretag AG.

In 1959, the sale of the Eidophor large screen projectors was moved to a new company, EIDOPHOR AG, run by Gretag AG and Philips. By the 1960s, the company produced a wide variety of products which became confusing for staff and consumers, so CIBA divided the products into categories that were each supported by a business group. The variety of products continued to increase so that, by the 1980s, the successful crypto side of the business became overshadowed by the photographic side. CIBA were also becoming unsettled with the crypto side of the business due to its associations with espionage and doubtful regimes. In 1986, the decision was made to sell the "Authorities" business group under which the majority of the crypto side of the business fell, and it was sold in 1987 to OMNISEC.

The remaining civil crypto-market within the company became increasingly less significant. Eventually, CIBA decided to sell of the entire crypto side of the business which was sold in 1991 to AT&T. It then became known as Gretag Data Systems AG. This proved to be fairly unsuccessful for AT&T and so was sold again in 1995 to Information Resource Engineering Inc. (IRE). The name of the company was changed again at this stage to Gretacoder Data Systems AG. In 1999, IRE changed its own name to SafeNet and in 2002 decided to change the name of Gretacoder Data Systems AG to SafeNet Data Systems. However, due to competition, the company was failing and, despite injecting capital into the business, the company was liquidated in 2004.