Loebl, Dr Herbert, 1923 - 2013, OBE, businessman, philanthropist

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Loebl, Dr Herbert, 1923 - 2013, OBE, businessman, philanthropist

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1923 - 2013


Herbert Loebl moved to the North East of England as a refugee from Nazi Germany and remained in the area for the rest of his life, becoming an important industrialist in the region and a major employer. Loebl specialised in the production of high-tech scientific equipment focussed mainly on the newly emerging medical laboratory analysis market. Loebl’s many products include the Microdensitometer used to visualise the properties of DNA, the Chromoscan for identifying chromosomal regions in genomic studies, the Magiscan method of image analysis, collaboration with the Ford Motor Co. to produce the “Commuta” battery electric car, and one of the first analogue computers, the “Sunderland Computer”.

Loebl later became a pioneer of technology transfer, working with universities in the area on research. In 1973 he set up Enterprise North, which became the prototype for government support agencies for businesses around the country.

Loebl's engineering companies were particularly notable as major exporting enterprises. Joyce, Loebl & Co. exported 70% of its products and by 1967 5% of the freight handled at Newcastle airport came out of Joyce Loebl group factories. In 2011 Loebl founded the Herbert Loebl Export Academy at Newcastle University for the promotion of exports.

Herbert Loebl was widely decorated at home and abroad for his commitment to industrial development, and to the education of his employees. In 1967 the firm Joyce Loebl & Co received the Queen's Award for Industry. Herbert Loebl was awarded an OBE in 1973 for Services to Exports, the Citizen's Medal of the city of Bamberg in 1996, the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1997and the Bavarian Order of Merit in 2001. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by Newcastle University and in 2010, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the North East Business Executive.


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