ISGUS: The History

Celebrating 132 years since its foundation, ISGUS started out manufacturing patrol clocks for watchmen in the late 19th century, before growing into one of the world's leading providers of time and attendance, and access control solutions.

The ISGUS brand is synonymous with carrying out continuous research and development to improve its product, having a presence in many sectors of industry where it's paramount to monitor the employees' time and attendance, and control access to the premises, offering customers software as both a purchased licence, and software as a service in their own data centre.

From humble beginnings, with two employees and two apprentices, ISGUS now has offices all over the world including in the UK, the United States and Canada.

Early days

Launched in Schwenningen, in the Schwarzwald-Baar district of Germany, in 1888, by watchmaker Jakob Schlenker-Grusen, the company was originally known as J Schlenker-Grusen after its founder. The company name was shortened to JSGUS and later ISGUS.

With just two staff members, and then a little later an additional two apprentices, the company began building watchmen control clocks and suspension springs. The watchman control clock was used to monitor the patrol of night watchmen. A key was inserted into the tamper-free key station clock and the time was recorded.

The clocks were used to log the time of each patrol, as the guards were required to carry out regular patrols. The design was patented in 1892, when Schlenker-Grusen's son, Alfred, joined the firm as an apprentice.

In 1902, ISGUS began making pigeon timers for racing competitions. This was a big sport in the Ruhr area in the early 20th century. The pigeons' flight time was recorded in days, hours and minutes. The German Federation for Letter Pigeons awarded ISGUS first prize in a competition open to all companies to design a pigeon timer.

Key milestones

It was considered a social advance when apprentices' contracts at ISGUS, from 1907 onwards, also provided free board and lodgings. An additional payment (known as "pocket money") was granted from the third year of an apprenticeship.

In 1921, ISGUS opened its own in-house printing department to make clock cards for companies, enabling clients to keep a check on their employees' time keeping. The department produced up to 15 million clock cards annually.

ISGUS launched its fully-automated working time recorder, PERFECT, in 1950. In a metal space-saving casing, it was the start of a whole product range. The time recorder had a mechanical programming device mounted on the front. The excellence of the construction principle led to numerous patents.

1974 was a major milestone in the company's history. ISGUS revealed the world's first electronic time and information system, Time-on-Line 400, at the Hanover trade fair. The system placed employees' details on a magnetic core memory. ISGUS developed software and time recording terminals, so the workforce could log their attendance by using contact cards.

ISGUS launched Time-on-Line 100 in 1980. The first microprocessor-controlled time management and information system was made possible by the rapid development of microelectronics. This enabled smaller, more cost-effective and efficient systems to be developed quicker.

In 1985, ISGUS released ZEUS® - the first software solution for personal computers with the operating system MS-DOS. This was followed by the second generation ZEUS® software for Windows in 1994. The system was extended to cover access control, plant data collection, staff scheduling and ERP communication.

21st century

In 2008, ZEUS® was made available as an ASP solution for the first time.

Installing two access control systems and an accreditation solution for web-based visitors, in 2010, ISGUS handled the security during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The following year, ISGUS revealed the new terminal series for access control, IT4000, in a modern smartphone look. The ZEUS® app for mobile time and data recording via smartphones was made available.

In 2013, ISGUS celebrated its 125th anniversary, while the company's sales and service centre north in Hanover celebrated its centenary.

Creating completely web-based software, with the option of using software as a service in the ISGUS Cloud, the new generation of ZEUS® was unveiled in 2017.

It has taken more than a century of expertise, development and state-of-the-art technology for ISGUS to find itself at the forefront of time and attendance and access control solutions.