Alexandre Horowitz

Engineer, inventor and entrepreneur to the last day

Alexandre Horowitz graduated in 1927 as both a mechanical and electrical engineer. At the age of 25, Horowitz entered the Philips radio factory in Eindhoven. He had been appointed personally by Anton Philips to the Research Department, at the head of various drawing offices and development groups. Among other things, he developed a new rotary switch for the radio and was involved in the development of the Dutch ‘knijpkat’, a dynamo lamp. Horowitz was fascinated by American shavers that he saw, but he felt that they did not work well enough. He developed a shaver in his own image. Thus, in 1939, the first Philishave with a completely new basic system - rotating blades - was presented to the public.

In 1948, Horowitz founded the company NV Polynorm together with some associates. The Polynorm system made it possible to quickly assemble prefabricated elements into a house or commercial building on the construction site. There was a great need for fast system construction after World War II. However, production was not profitable enough and Polynorm’s core business was changed. 

From 1958 to 1974 Horowitz was Professor of Mechanical Processes at the Faculty
of Mechanical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology. An important part of his research concerned tillage and associated equipment. Among other things, this led to an innovative spading machine that Vicon took into production. After his retirement, Horowitz focused entirely on his work for
the engineering firm Centre for Concepts in Mechatronics, which he had started with three others in 1969.

The versatile engineer and inventor died during a business trip in 1982. More than 130 patents bore Horowitz’s name.