Carl Kretz was born on in 1932 in Vienna. He completed studies of electro-technology and field tele-communications technology at the Technical University in Vienna and graduated in 1960.
After finishing his study he continued to work at the institute of the university. He also worked as an research and development engineer with ELIN in Austria and then with Landis & Gyr in Switzerland, where he was responsible for developing electronic equipment for automatic product monitoring.
Kretztechnik AG, an Austrian enterprise, was founded in 1947 by engineer Dr. Paul Kretz at Zipf, Austria as a small manufacturer of resistance-welded wired goods which included potato baskets, milk bottle carriers and glass balloon baskets. There was a good market for these products after the second World war.
In 1953, with his knowledge in engineering, foresight and a desire to go after more sophistication, Paul Kretz acquired a small company developing ultrasonic equipment for material testing. Soon Kretztechnik became a strong developer of non-destructive ultrasonic metal flaw-detecting equipment, including automated systems for rails and steel bar castings, and sharing the market with companies from Britain, Germany and France.
The company very quickly specialized itself in the development and manufacturing of ultrasonic systems adapted for human medical diagnosis. In the mid 1950s diagnostic A-scopes for ophthalmologic and neurologic applications were launched, the equipment being modified from the flaw-detector line. There was at that time only a small number of reports on the use of ultrasound as a diagnostic tool from the United States and Europe. (One may also recall that Austrian doctor Karl Dussik at the University of Vienna was widely considered as the first physician to have employed ultrasonics in medical (neurological) diagnosis in the mid 1940s).
In 1965 Carl Kretz joined his uncle Paul as as Head of the Research Department, then working on semi-conductor technology pertaining to non-destructive testing. In close co-operation with Dr Ossoinig, Alfred Kratochwil and others, and from 1965 to 1972 various A- and B- mode scanning devices for ophthalmology, neurology and the abdoman were introduced.
In 1974 the grey-scale Combison 202 was produced which set an European standard in B-scan image and technology. The required scan converters were produced in the Kretz factory to overcome the difference in the number of scan lines in the television monitors used in the United States of America and Europe. Subsequent to this development all manufacturers of ultrasound equipment made use of this technology. Under Carl Kretz's unyielding dedication and foresight, 1977 saw the production of the Combison 100, the real-time mechanical sector scanner.
For the next last 20 years, Kretztechnik continued to pioneer research and promote new technologies in sonography. In 1984 the company presented the software-steered computer sonography system, the Combison 320. Prior to that they marketed the prototype 310A, which was the Company's turning point into the fully electronic transdudcer designs. Another trend-setting development was the introduction of transvaginal and transrectal endosonography.
In 1989 Kretztechnik presented the world's first 3-Dimensional ultrasound system in serial production, the Combison 330. The rest was history in 3-D ultrasound ....... .
The work and inventiveness of Carl Kretz not only determined the success of the development of the company Kretztechnik, but also influenced tremendously the development of ultrasound equipments in general. Carl Kretz retired in 1994. He spent his retirement working with various facets of telecommunications. He was given the prestigious Ian Donald Gold Medal in Technical Development from the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG) in 1999. Kretztechnik now runs a large museum at its Zipf premises exhibiting its past 50 years' inventions and development. It is "the History of Ultrasound" under the roof of a single company. Kretztechnik's acheivement in the development of ultrasonography can only be described as phenomenal.
*Image of Dr. Carl Kretz courtesy of and copyrighted DEGUM
Other images courtesy of Kretztechnik®, zipf, Austria.
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