Christian Louis Berger (1842–1922) was born at Stuttgart, and was descended
from men who made arms and armor for the royal family of Würtemberg. He
apprenticed with Christian Saeger, a local maker of surveying instruments and
analytical scales, and worked in other instrument shops in Germany and England.
Moving to Boston in 1866, Berger worked for E. S. Ritchie & Son and then for
John Upham. In 1871 he joined with George Louis Buff, and began trading as Buff
In 1898, after an acrimonious dispute over the roles that their sons would
play in the business, Buff and Berger parted company. Berger acquired the assets
of Buff & Berger, began trading as C. L. Berger & Sons, purchased a
30-inch dividing engine from William Würdemann, built a new factory in Roxbury,
and continued to produce instruments for engineers and surveyors. Although C. L.
Berger & Sons remained successful throughout the first half of the 20th
century, they could not adjust to the electronic revolution that swept the
instrument enterprise in the postwar period, or compete with inexpensive
instruments from abroad. The Chicago Steel Tape Company purchased the remains of
C. L. Berger & Sons in 1995.