Werner Von Siemens was trained as an engineer and in 1846 invented his first telegraph machine and, having gone into business with Johann Georg Halske to establish the Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske in Berlin. They began laying telegraph networks in Europe, the first being in 1848 when they linked Berlin to Frankfurt. Within a few years they were building a telegraph network in Russia and by the 1870s the company had built a telegraph from London to Calcutta and was working on a transatlantic cable. The company then diversified into electrical lighting and electric railways and street cars. In 1890 Von Siemens handed over the firm to his brother Carl and by the turn of the century the company was already listed on the stock exchange. This was followed by the invention of the first successful filament lamp and in 1910 Siemens went into automobile production with a car called the Protos. During World War I the company worked for the German government and as a result suffered serious losses after Germany's defeat. The company quickly recovered, largely thanks to the establishment of a light bulb company called Osram. It also became involved in telephone networks and the development of radio receivers. At the same time the company diversified into power generation and traffic lights. The firm also expanded operations to build electric locomotives and in the 1930s was involved in the development of mass production of the television, through its Telefunken subsidiary. Expansion continued with the development of the electron microscope and other measuring equipment. World War II proved to be another setback for the company with 80% of the value of the business being wiped out. The company transferred its operations from Berlin to Munich and in the 1950s began researching into data processing techniques, electrical appliances and medical developments. The company built its first computer in 1959. With the dwn of the electronic age Siemens remained at the forefront of technological developments with microchips, ever-faster computers and in the late 1990s mobile phones. In 2001 the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company became involved in Formula 1 in 1998 as a partner of the McLaren F1 team and as a partner of Formula One Management.