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Peter K. Bloch

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Biography

Peter K. Bloch founded Branson Instruments, which developed applications for ultrasound technology in a variety of medical and commercial settings.

Bloch was born in Floss, Germany, and came to the United States in 1938 to escape Nazi persecution. He graduated from the Columbia University School of General Studies. During the war, he served with the United States Army ski troops.

In 1946, Bloch, Norman Branson, and Robert O. Fehr started Branson Instruments in a garage in Danbury, Connecticut. The company built devices that tested the strength of ship hulls, turbines, and railroad wheels, cleaned watches, welded plastic toys, and quilted bedding fabrics made of synthetic materials. It applied ultrasound in medical settings, including creating a fetal monitor and developing a non-invasive technique for breaking gallstones.

Bloch and his partners sold the company to Smith Kline & French for $12 million. The business was later sold to Emerson Electric Company.