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Monday, July 9th 2012, 4:44am

German Non-Ferrous Metals Companies

Repository for data pertaining to the subject.


Monday, July 9th 2012, 4:45am

Zinkhütte Harlingerode AG

This enterprise was founded in 1935 to construct a modern zinc smelting and refining facility at Harlingerode, located in the Harz Mountains between Oker und Bad Harzburg. Funding was provided by the Unterharzer Berg- und Hüttenwerke GmbH. It was designed to utilise state of the art flotation techniques for ore separation and the vertical retort process was used for smelting the ore; the first ores were smelted in 1936 and the full facility was completed in 1939. The current processing capacity of the plant is 60,000 tons of zinc and 20,000 tons of zinc concentrates per annum.


Monday, July 9th 2012, 6:40pm

Zinkhütte Münsterbusch AG

This firm is one of the oldest zinc works in the vicinity of Aachen, and began its activities in 1834 with the participation of the Belgian industrialist John Cockerill. The enterprise quickly became one of the major zinc roasting and processing plants in western Germany, and led the way in many technical developments. In the 1850s it was the first to adopt the so-called Rheinische Muffel, a superior roasting technique adapted to the local zinc ores. In the 1920s the firm developed the Thede-Verfahren – a method of effectively utilising low-grade ores and zinc dust to increase productivity, a method widely adopted throughout the industry. From the 1880s the firm operated a rolling mill and sold not only zinc ingots and concentrates but rolled zinc products. The firm’s present output is some 20,000 tons of zinc.


Friday, July 20th 2012, 8:59pm

Bleiberger Bergwerks Union AG

This mining firm was founded in 1872 to consolidate the lead and zinc mining establishments then operating in Austrian Carinthia and nearby areas; exploitation of these resources date from the medieval period, but it was only after the formation of the company that modern techniques, including hydraulic drilling, were introduced. In 1882 the firm built a concentrating works at Arnoldstein Slizza. Between 1892 and 1912 the concern electrified many of its operations, constructing its own power stations, including the Kraftwerk Roter Graben, which remain in operation to the present day. By 1914 the firm had acquired the last of the independent mine operations in the region.

While losing several of its properties to the victorious Allied powers in the Great War, the firm survived due to wartime profits. In 1930 it established a marketing and sales company, BBU-Handelsgesellschaft Metall und Farben AG, in Wien to control sales of its products outside the Austrian home market. During the 1930s the firm diversified its activities to include the production of paints and other coatings. In 1939 the firm acquired the Zinkhütte Neu-Erlaa in Wien, a processor of zinc ore; the following year saw the creation of a subsidiary, Kärntner Bergwerksgesellschaft to acquire the quicksilver mines of the Bergbau Buchholzgraben at Dellach in Drautal, the antimony mines at Rabant in Obernärntnen and the antimony mines at Schlaining in Burgenland.

The concern is one of the largest non-ferrous metals mining concerns in the Austrian provinces, employing more than seven thousand workers at its mines, plants and subsidiaries.


Sunday, July 22nd 2012, 10:24pm


This mine complex was first developed in 1575 under the patronage of Julius, Duke of Brunswick; today the mine and processing facilities are located between the town of Langelsheim and the village of Astfeld. It is one of the oldest lead and zinc mines in the Harz Valley, and remains an important supplier of those metals to the present. In addition, rare earths including arsenic, germanium, and indium are recovered for industrial use. It presently employs more than four hundred workers.


Sunday, June 16th 2013, 7:26pm

Grillo-Werke AG

This family-owned firm was founded in 1842 by Wilhelm Theodor Grillo, the proprietory of a hardware store in Mülheim an der Ruhr. His special interest was the zinc and the zinc paint industry, and in 1842 he founded a works to produce zinc white paint. Other combining with other members of his family, he went on to found a second works to produce paints in 1849, a zinc rolling mill at Neumühl in 1855, a works for the production of zinc at Oberhausen in 1873 and a second zinc works at Hamborn in 1881. The firm was organised as a joint stock company in 1893 with the shares held by various members of the Grillo family. The firm is one of Germanys largest producers of zinc-based products for commercial and industrial applications and a significant producer of sulphuric acid. In 1921 the headquarters of the firm shifted from Mülheim to Duisburg-Hamborn.


Friday, August 23rd 2013, 3:34am

Eduard Hueck und Compagnie KG

This firm, domiciled in Lüdenscheid in Westphalia, was founded in 1814 as the workshop of the Hueck brothers, who manufactured buttons and other small iron, brass and tombac items for sale in the region. In the years following the Napoleonic Wars the factory throve and in 1864 the partnership of Eduard Hueck and Company, representing the members of the Hueck family, was formalised. In 1879 a mechanised extrusion press was installed and the company moved in the business of rolling special shapes in brass and tombac, and later aluminium. A large scale brass rolling mill was erected in 1938. The present production facilities include a foundry with a capacity of 28,000 tonnes per year and rolling and extrusion mills with a capacity of 35,000 tonnes. It employs more than one thousand workers engage in the production of aluminium and brass shapes, rods, sections and billets.


Monday, October 21st 2013, 8:45pm

Graphitwerk Kropfmühl AG

This firm was established in May 1916 to acquire several graphite mines in the vicinity of Kropfmühl, near Passau, in Bavaria. The principal property acquired was the mine owned by Anna Langheinrich KG, which had been in operations since 1870. The mining of graphite in the vicinity of Kropfmühl was first begun in 1730, but it was not until the latter portion of the Nineteenth Century that it was properly exploited. Langheinrich firm had grown to prominence due to its patents for the purification of graphite, and the owners of that firm maintained a controlling interest in the new venture. Discoveries for new uses for graphite have increased the demand for this mineral and the continuing prosperity of the firm, which operates the only graphite mine in Germany, is assured.


Sunday, July 27th 2014, 6:17pm

Vereinigte Aluminium-Gießereien Singen-Teningen-Villingen AG

The Aluminium-Walzwerk Singen was founded in 1912 by Robert Victor Neher and Erwin Lauber to produce aluminium foil and similar goods. The factory at Singen was established in that same year; the first rolls of aluminium foils were produced in August 1912. Production ceased during the Great War but was resumed in 1919, with aluminium foil, strip and sheets being manufactured. A new hot rolling mill was constructed in 1920, and a new rolling mill, capable of producing fifty tons of foil per month, was placed in service in 1922.

In 1924 the concern acquired the Breisgau-Walzwerk Teningen, which had been founded in 1910. The works at Teningen were used to produce printed aluminium foils suitable for food wraps, which became a major part of the concern’s production programme. To complement the production of aluminium sheets and foils, the firm constructed at Villingen an aluminium foundry and forge to manufacture cast and machined parts for the automotive and aviation industries. The foil finishing firm of Kluge und Winter was acquired in 1930. In 1932 the firm constructed its first continuous rolling mill, a decisive step forward in the technology of rolling aluminium strip.

The Tonerdewerke Martin in Bergheim was acquired in 1934 and re-equipped to produce aluminium forgings and pressings; three forging presses were installed that year and a further three in 1935. The majority of the shares of the Polish “Tantal” works were acquired in 1937.


Tuesday, August 5th 2014, 1:26am

Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke AG

This firm was formed in 1930 through the merger of Heddernheimer Kupferwerk und Süddeutsche Kabelwerk AG and Berg-Heckmann-Selve AG at the prompting of the Metallgesellschaft AG, who held prominent shareholdings in both firms. The capital of the new company was RM 30,000,000, and at the outset it operated factories in Hedderheim, Gustavsburg, Mannheim, Nürnberg, Köln, Altena, Werdohl and Duisburg.

The facilities of the Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke in 1930 comprised:

Werk Altena – Metal finishing
Werk Duisburg – Copper and copper alloys
Werk Frankfurt – Copper, copper alloys and specialty metals
Werk Gustavsburg – Aluminium and other light metals
Werk Hedderheim – Copper and copper alloys
Werk Köln – Metal finishing
Werk Mannheim – Aluminium and other light metals
Werk Nürnberg – Metal finishing
Werk Werdol – Copper and copper alloys

In the early 1930s the Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke undertook the production of propellers for the expanding German aero industry, and in 1932 opened a factory in Aschaffenburg to specialise in their manufacture.

In 1933 nickel-working plants were acquired in Laband and Schwerte, and a subsidiary, Vereinigte Deutsche Nickelwerke AG, was organised to consolidate their activities and expand their production capacity. A second subsidiary, Aluminiumwerke Nürnberg GmbH, was organised the following year to erect a major aluminium smelting facility in that city. To further expand the fabrication of light metal components for the aircraft industry a third subsidiary, Vereinigte Leichtmetallwerke AG, was organised in 1936, and opened plants in Bonn and Hannover-Linden.

In 1938 it acquired the shares of the Continentale Metall GmbH of Frankfurt, a firm involved in the development of plastics for a variety of applications, and in 1939 it took a half-interest in the Vereinigte Aluminiumgiessereien Villingen GmbH, an aluminium stamping works.

Subsidiary companies of the firm include:

Aluminiumwerke Nürnberg GmbH, Nürnberg (primary aluminium manufacture)
Continentale Metall GmbH, Frankfurt (plastics)
Vereinigte Aluminiumgiessereien Villingen GmbH, Villingen (aluminium fabrication)
Vereinigte Deutsche Nickelwerke AG, Laband (nickel and specialty metals)
Vereinigte Deutsche Nickelwerke AG, Schwerte (nickel and specialty metals)
Vereinigte Leichtmetallwerke AG, Bonn (light metal components for aircraft)
Vereinigte Leichtmetallwerke AG, Hannover-Linden (light metal components for aircraft)

Affiliated companies of the firm include:

In Germany

Vereinigte Wiener Metallwerke AG, Wien (copper and copper alloys)


Aluminium Ercbanya es Ipari Reszvenytarsasag, Budapest, Hungary (Bauxite mining)


Tuesday, August 5th 2014, 1:35am

Norddeutsche Affinerie AG

This firm was founded in 1866 in the city of Hamburg as smelter and refiner of copper and other precious and non-precious metals, carrying on the business of Beit and Compagnie, who had operated metal refining works in the city for nearly a century, and the Elbhütten Affinier und Handelsgesellschaft, a firm in which the House of Godeffroy had a strong interest. At the time the firm’s focus was on the smelting of precious metals with the recovery of copper as a byproduct; over the years that emphasis would reverse.

In 1910 the firm’s activities were relocated in new facilities in the Peute district of Hamburg, and at the same time its capital was enlarged – the metals trading firms of Metallgesellschaft AG and Deutsche Gold und Silberscheideanstalt AG taking significant shares of the new stock issues. The firm was able to weather the vicissitudes of the Great War and in the postwar period its executive director, Felix Warlimont, the firm’s facilities were expanded and modernised. By the mid-1930s, the company's product range had greatly expanded; besides electrolytically purified copper, silver, gold, and platinum, it produced, nickel, tin, antimony, selenium, lead, and other metals, as well as alloys, copper powder, metal salts, and sulphuric acid. Slag from the smelting process was sold as construction material. In 1940 the firm opened its first continuous casting line for copper products.

In 1928 the firm acquired a majority stake in Chemische Fabrik von J.E. Devirent AG, Zwickau, and relocated its activities to Hamburg. In the late 1930s this subsidiary introduced Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), the basic chemical ingredient for many pesticides.

In 1935 the firm acquired Zinnwerke Wilhelmsburg GmbH, a smaller Hamburg-based copper smelter, and coordinated that subsidiary’s activities with that of the parent firm. Two years later the firm acquired Hüttenwerke Kayser AG, a major recycler of copper products.

Subsidiary companies of the firm include:

Chemische Fabrik von J.E. Devirent AG, Hamburg (inorganic chemicals)
Hüttenwerke Kayser AG, Lünen (copper and metals recycling)
Zinnwerke Wilhelmsburg GmbH, Hamburg (copper and zinc smelting)


Tuesday, August 5th 2014, 2:33am

Dürener Metallwerke AG

This firm was founded late in 1890 as one of Germany’s first manufacturers of aluminium and aluminium products. It was a leader in applying light metal technology to aircraft and automotive applications, and well before the Great War produced the frames required for Zeppelins as well as light metal castings for their engines. In 1909 the firm patented duralumin, the first aluminium-copper alloy, which is used extensively in aircraft construction.

To meet the expanding demand for duralumin and similar alloys the firm established new factories in Berlin and in Waren, in Mecklenburg. At this time the firm employs more than 12,000 workers at its three facilities and remains a leader in metallurgical research.

Factories of the firm include:

Dürener Metallwerke AG, Berlin-Witenau
Dürener Metallwerke AG, Düren
Dürener Metallwerke AG, Waren


Wednesday, August 6th 2014, 3:34pm

Westfälische Kupfer und Messingwerke AG

In 1836 Caspar Noell founded a workshop for the production and sale of copper, brass, bronze and light alloy semi-manufactures. In 1898 the Noell factory merged with that of Christian Fißmer to form the current enterprise. From 1890 forward the firm engaged in the manufacture of ammunition components, and played a significant role in munitions production during the Great War. In the immediate postwar period it concentrated its efforts on light alloy stamping and brass wire production, acquiring in 1927 the Märkische Drahtwerke in Oberrahmede to bolster its capacity and expertise in that field of work. From 1934 it resumed the manufacture of ammunition components under contract to the Heer. In 1939 it purchased the firm of Becker und Compagnie, of Langenberg, to bolster its cartridge-making capacity.

Subsidiaries of the firm include:

Westfälische Kupfer und Messingwerke AG, Werke Hohenlimburg (copper and alloy semi-manufactures)
Westfälische Kupfer und Messingwerke AG, Werke Langenberg (copper and alloy semi-manufactures, cartridge cases)
Westfälische Kupfer und Messingwerke AG, Werke Lüdenscheid (copper and alloy semi-manufactures, cartridge cases)

Märkische Drahtwerke AG, Oberrahmede (brass and bronze wire)


Wednesday, August 6th 2014, 4:00pm

Wieland-Werke AG

In 1820 Philipp Jakob Wieland joined the Ulm bell foundry of his uncle Thomas Frauenlob, and led the firm to diversify into the production of copper and bronze wire, strip, rods and shapes. In 1841 the workshop moved to Herrlingen where new mills were constructed. A second mill, in Vöhringen, was acquired in 1864, which was equipped for brass rolling and wire pulling. Extrusion mills were introduced at Herrlingen in 1901, at Vöhringen in 1904. In 1919 the general partnership of the Wieland and Frauenlob families was converted into a joint stock company and the current corporate style adopted.

In the postwar period the Vöhringen works was re-equipped with electric induction furnaces and began production of hot-rolled brass sheet, strip and shapes; the mill was equipped for continuous casting of brass billets and ingots in 1933.


Wednesday, August 6th 2014, 7:10pm

Metallwerk Plansee AG

This firm was founded in 1921 by the noted metallurgist Paul Schwarzkopf, who opened a small works in the Tyrolean town of Reutte. A pioneer in non-ferrous metallurgy Schwarzkopf’s firm produced molybdenum and tungsten wires for the lighting industry as well as for the nascent wireless industry. He also pioneered the new field of powder metallurgy and did much research into high temperature alloys. The firm is currently engaged in the production of non-ferrous wires and tapes for the electronic industry and the manufacture of specialised components for the aero engine industry.

Affiliated companies of the firm include:

American Electro-Metal Corporation, Yonkers, New York, United States (metal alloys and wires)
Elektro-Metall AG, Seon, Switzerland (tungsten and copper alloys)
N.V. Vereenigte Draadfabricken, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (tungsten wires)


Wednesday, August 6th 2014, 10:50pm

Osnabrücker Kupfer und Drahtwerk AG

Formed in 1873 as the partnership of Witte und Kämper, the firm became a joint stock company in 1890. It a manufacturer of copper and other light metal forgings, centrifugal castings, cable, insulated and bare wires and wire products. At the present time it employs more than four hundred workers.


Thursday, August 7th 2014, 1:35am

Brökelmann Aluminium KG

This light-metals fabricating company was founded in 1910 by Friedrich Wilhelm Brökelmann, an entrepreneur in the town of Ense-Höingen. In the years before the outbreak of the Great War it was one of the German Empire’s premier manufacturers of aluminium household goods. During the hostilities it was contracted by the Prussian War Ministry to manufacture components for the aircraft industry, but quickly resumed its accustomed production in 1918. In the post-war period it moved to the manufacture of aluminium sheets and stamped metal parts, constructing its own rolling mill in 1936. Today, with more than two hundred workers, it is a major subcontractor for the aircraft and automotive industries, manufacturing component parts on custom order.


Sunday, October 25th 2015, 7:51pm

Nickelhütte Aue AG

This firm was established in 1635 as the Blaufarbenwerk Niederpfannenstiel by the early entrepreneur Veit Hans Schnorr, under a privilege from the Count von Schönburg. Blaufarbenwerk – or Blue-colour works – mined and processed blue paint for use in glassmaking, using the pigment cobalt blue. The demand for blue pigment peaked in the mid-Eighteenth Century and the concern fell upon hard times; it survived due to the development of inexpensive alloy materials used in cutlery – nickel silver. The firm continued the research of metal alloys through the Nineteenth, including cupronickel, and in the present century has developed high strength metal alloys for use in a number of applications. It employs more than 800 workers in the mining, processing, and smelting of pure non-ferrous metals like nickel, copper, cobalt, molybdenum, vanadium and tungsten.


Tuesday, August 9th 2016, 10:06pm

Stolberger Zink Bergwerke AG

In 1838 the Metallurgische Gesellschaft zu Stolberg was founded as a joint-stock company of merchants and mine owners. It was the first of a long line of metallurgical enterprises in Stolberg that combined the mine properties and metal smelting. Also involved were, among others, Cockerill's brother John as well as Friedrich Thyssen, manager of an Eschweiler wire factory, and Salomon Oppenheim, the Cologne banker. Among the assets of the company were shares in the St. Heinrich Munsterbusch zinc smelter, the Herrenberg calamine mines, the Diepenlinchen lead and zinc mines as well as minor interests in the lead and zinc mines at Breinegerberg and Büsbacherberg.

The 1853 merger with the Rheinisch-Westfälischen Bergwerksverein brought access to the rich lead and zinc deposits at Ramsbecker, while in 1855, William von der Heydt of the Elberfelder banking family took charge as general manager. The concern took over the Büsbacherberg-Brockenberg ore mine in the midst of the financial crisis of 1873 and in 1909 it also acquired the Emser Blei-und-Silberwerk AG.

In 1927 it adopted the current corporate style. Today the firm remains one of Germany’s leading non-ferrous metals firms and is a leading producer of zinc, lead, copper, and silver for industrial uses.