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Saturday, October 1st 2016, 10:30pm

Hannoversche Eisengiesserei und Maschinenfabrik AG

Founded in 1857, this concern functioned as a local iron works for more than fifty years before branching out into the manufacture of agricultural machinery shortly before the Great War. In 1930 it was reorganised as a joint stock company and adopted its current style; shortly thereafter it introduced a patented pipe-cleaning system for pipeline networks, which grew rapidly alongside the North German oil industry. The firm is presently organised in three departments – Foundry (component parts for numerous defence and industrial firms); Agricultural Machinery (mowers, tedders, potato harvesters, and other farm vehicles); and Pipe Cleaning (up to 1,000 mm in diameter).


Sunday, October 2nd 2016, 12:34am

Königsberger Maschinenfabrik AG

This firm was founded in 1892 to undertake the manufacture of industrial steam boilers and other steam machinery. In 1900 it diversified into the production of ice and refrigeration equipment for commercial cold storage facilities. The disruption of the Great War caused the firm to re-orient its production from industrial to marine applications, undertaking to produce auxiliary machinery for the ships of the Imperial Navy.

In 1923 the firm was reorganised and work concentrated on the production of industrial steam turbines and mill equipment. From the latter 1920s the firm resumed the production of refrigeration and ventilation equipment for commercial and marine applications, becoming a significant sub-contractor in the construction of fruit carriers for the expanding Handelsmarine. It has also re-introduced the manufacture of marine boilers of Lamont design under sub-contract to the Schichau Works.


Monday, October 31st 2016, 11:22pm

Dippe Maschinenfabrik AG

This firm was founded in 1840 by Ferdinand Voigtländer as a machine-tool factory and copper smithy in the town of Schladen in the district of Wolfenbüttel. In 1865 the works were sold to entrepreneur Fritz Dippe and engineer Adolf Wittenberg. The partnership was converted into a joint-stock company in 1899. Activities included production of complete facilities for the sugar, chemical, chemical, potash, and iron industries, boiler construction, construction of water turbines, and stationary steam engines. During the Great War it constructed portable bridges repairing railways in the forward areas. In the postwar period diversification saw the firm develop a line of lathes and machining centres, as well as undertaking subcontract work for the automotive industry.


Tuesday, December 20th 2016, 8:08pm

Leichtmetallwerk Bernhard Berghaus KG

This firm was organised in 1925 to undertake the fabrication of light metal components for the automotive and aviation industries. A factory was erected at Rackwitz, near Leipzig and production commenced the following year. The firm quickly established a relationship with the Junkers concern and supplied airframe components for many early Junkers aircraft. Following construction of an aluminium casting and foundry shop the primary output of the firm shifted to cast components for automobiles, with the Auto-Union concern becoming a second major customer. At the present time some nine hundred employees are engaged in the manufacture of various metal parts under subcontract as well as a proprietary line of office furniture.


Thursday, January 2nd 2020, 4:31am

Maschinenfabrik Liezen und Gießerei AG

The province of Styria had long been known for its high-grade iron ore deposits, with small-scale iron works existing since the 13th Century. In 1939 the Schmid-Schmidsfelden family of industrialists re-established a works at Liezen to undertake the production of iron foundry products, the Schmidhütte Liezen. Buoyed by the expanding economy the firm prospered and by 1945 the plant employed more than 1,100 workers, and its facilities included a steelworks and foundry building of over 10,000 square metres, a second building of more than 7,500 square metres, with metal treatment (cleaning, annealing, etc.) facilities, an engineering workshop and even its own power generation facilities. In 1948 the privately-owned Christian Pfeifer Maschinenfabrik of nearby Wörschach was acquired; continuing to operate as a subsidiary this facility manufactures grinding mills and components. The main facility at Liezen continues the manufacture of iron and alloy castings and forgings.


Saturday, January 4th 2020, 3:10am

Industriewerke Warchalowski AG

Jakob Warchalowski laid the foundations for the company in 1858 with the formation of a machinery works in Wien, Maschinenfabrik J. Warchalowski. Initially the firm concentrated on the production of boilers and steam stationary steam engines for industrial applications. Under the guidance of the founder’s sons the factory became an early manufacturer of internal combustion engines, finding a ready market across the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1913 the firm was restyled as Industriewerke Warchalowski, Eissler und Compagnie, employing at that time more than two thousand workers. During the Great War the factory manufactured Hiero aircraft engines under license to the order of the Austro-Hungarian military.

The firm survived the Great War and the breakup of the Dual Monarchy though it underwent conversion to a joint-stock company under the present style. Resumption of manufacture of industrial engines began in 1919 and in 1922 the firm introduced its first air-cooled industrial diesel engine. A line of small diesel engines, with output of 15, 25, and 50 PS was available from 1925, while its first 200 PS industrial diesel was introduced in 1933. Presently the firm is a major manufacturer of engines of all kinds for industrial uses, its production being exported widely across the globe.


Saturday, January 25th 2020, 8:57pm

Badische Maschinenfabrik Durlach AG

In 1855 Johann Georg Sebold applied for and received a license to operate a mechanical workshop in the town of Durlach in the Grand Duchy of Baden, wherein he began the manufacture of match-making machines, pumps, steam boilers, and other machine tools. In 1866 an expanded factory was constructed on a large plot of land on the then outskirts of Durlach. Friedrich Neff joined the firm in 1872 as partner and manager of the newly established foundry, a necessity to ensure the flow of castings required for the manufacture of sewing machines. In 1880 the founders transformed the company into a public limited company under the present style. By the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 the firm’s product range had expanded to include manufacture of machines for brick factories, steelworks and tanneries. At that time more than one thousand workers were employed. The firm survived the vagaries of the wartime economy and the financial distress of the immediate post-war period by diversifying its production to include manufacture of components for the expanding automotive industry, which accounts for nearly half of its present output.


Saturday, January 25th 2020, 9:29pm

Vereinigte Walz und Röhrenwerke AG

The antecedents of this firm date back to the mid-Nineteenth Century when Christian Friedrich Boecker and his brother-in-law Ludwig Backhausen founded the Friedrich Boecker Phillips Sohn & Compagnie wire and cold-rolling mill in Hagen-Hohenlimburg. Initially the firm produced flat wire employed in the manufacture of hoop skirts, a popular item of attire of the time. In 1908 the neighboring plants of Friedrich Boecker Phillips Sohn and Friedrich Koenig zu Hohenlimburg merged to form Vereinigte Walz- und Röhrenwerke. The latter firm had existed since 1873 and expanded from modest beginnings as a hammer mill, introducing a wire drawing shop in 1880, the production of bar iron in 1885, and the construction of a cold rolling and tube mill. In 1915 a new tube mill was established at Wickede in the Ruhr district.

Today the firm operates as a producer of specialty wire and tubes for the automotive, aviation, and defence industries, operating four facilities in the western industrial region.


Tuesday, February 4th 2020, 4:26am

Maschinenfabrik Pekrun AG

The firm was founded in 1896 in Coswig, Saxony, by Hermann Arthur Pekrun, an engineer and machinist. Pekrun adapted British patents for worm-gear drives that were employed first in automobiles produced by the firm (1909) and subsequently in motor trucks manufactured at the nearby works of Emil Nacke. Pekrun gave up the manufacture of automobiles in 1911, concentrating instead on the development of drive train technology.

By 1914 the original factory employed six hundred workers, and during the Great War an expansion of the works was undertaken with government assistance. Despite the difficulties of the post-war era the firm survived and continued to expand; by 1927 the work force had grown to more than a thousand and Pekrun worm gear boxes featured in many German truck and motorbus designs. More recently Pekrun has developed hydraulic transmissions for use in marine and armoured vehicle applications.


Tuesday, February 4th 2020, 5:12pm

Kaltenbach Maschinenbau KG

Of Lörrach in Markgräflerland, the company was founded in 1887 by the mechanical engineer Julius Kaltenbach to undertake the manufacture of specialist machine tools. The firm diversified into the manufacture of agricultural machinery and tooling following the Great War, but has since returned to its core of machine tools, including industrial band sawing machines, circular sawing machines, plate cutting and drilling centres, and punching machines. Its products can be found in such diverse industries as the automotive sector, crane manufacture, the furniture industry, and rolling mills. Leadership of the family-owned firm passed in 1926 to Hans Kaltenbach, son of the founder, and in 1945 to Dieter Kaltenbach, grandson of Julius.


Wednesday, February 5th 2020, 6:53pm

Dorst Keramikmaschinen-Bau und Anlagenbau AG

In 1865 Georg Dorst founded a village smithy in Oberlind in what was then the Duchy of Saxony-Meiningen, with six employees. It prospered, serving the needs of the Thuringian toy and porcelain industries, and by 1891 it employed more than sixty workers, at which time the firm was converted into a joint-stock company and adopted the style Maschinenfabrik vormals Georg Dorst AG. The additional funds raised by the issuance of shares allowed the firm to install steam engines with which to power its machinery and expand its product line. By 1897 the firm’s sales catalogue included references more than one hundred different machine types and noted the export of machine tools throughout Europe, South America, and Asia.

In the aftermath of the Great War the firm patented a hollow extrusion process for ceramics, and this soon became the firm’s principal area of activity. Output included machines for the fine ceramics industry, specialist machinery for chemical, paint, pencil, and glass factories, and general machinery for the production of porcelain, earthenware, wall and floor tiles, and similar stuff. In 1942 the firm adopted its current style in recognition of its ties with the ceramics industry.


Thursday, February 6th 2020, 2:24am

Koppers Ingenieur-und-Anlagenbau AG

The Koppers concern, headquartered in Essen, is one of the world’s leading companies in the construction of coking and chemical plants. It is a leader in coal gasification technology and designs and constructs plants for the petrochemical industry.

The company was founded in 1901 by Heinrich Koppers, who had formally worked for the competing firm of Dr. C. Otto und Compagnie. Koppers’ revolutionary concepts for the recovery and processing of coal tar products from coke ovens quickly allowed the Koppers firm to attain a dominant position in the market supplying iron and steel plants around the globe, particularly in the burgeoning steel industries of Tsarist Russia and Imperial Japan. In 1907 the concern established a subsidiary in the United States, undertaking the manufacture of coke ovens at Joliet, Illinois. This factory would, in 1912, be sold off to American investors led by industrialist Andrew Mellon, which continues its separate existence until today.

During the Great War the concern not only continued to construct coke ovens for other firms but constructed its own coke and chemical plant at Dahlhausen near Essen; this facility would be shut down after the Armistice and not reopened until 1932. In 1938 the concern patented the Koppers-Totzek process for entrained-flow coal gasification, widely used in the manufacture of synthetic petroleum products. In addition to coke ovens and associated by-product processing equipment, the firm also designs, constructs, and outfits plants for the aluminium and petrochemicals industries.


Saturday, February 8th 2020, 1:18am

Centralheizungswerke AG

This concern was founded in 1884 as the Hannoversche Centralheizungs-und Apparate-Bau-Anstalt by the Hannover entrepreneur Julius von Königswarter to undertake the construction of central heating systems. The original factory was located at Hüttenstraße 23, Hannover-Hainholz. The company adopted its current style in 1903. In time leading up to the outbreak of the Great War branch and representative offices would be opened in Berlin, Warsaw, Köln, Frankfurt-am-Main, Leipzig, Wien, Amsterdam, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Mannheim, Görlitz and Saarbrücken. Products manufactured included cast-iron equipment for heating, ventilation, drying, evaporation, and bathing systems, as well as finned tubes, steam boilers, and radiators. The factory operated its own iron foundry with a capacity of 9,000 tonnes per annum. During the Great War the firm, like many in Germany, was engaged in various aspects of war production.

In 1924 the engineer Theodor Heimeier joined the firm and oversaw the diversification of production into the manufacture of valves and other fittings from bronze, complementing the traditional output in cast iron. Heimeier also led the firm into thermostatic regulating valves under the brand ‘Mikrotherm’. Other products include a thermal actuators for heating systems, room thermostats, balancing valves for hydraulic systems, and overflow valves.


Sunday, February 9th 2020, 10:50pm

Sondermaschinenfabrik Alfing Kessler GmbH

Founded in April 1911 by engineers Karl Kessler and Franz Dopfer this enterprise operates as a specialised machinery factory for the production of drop forgings. The factory is located in Wasseralfingen, near the city of Aalen. A branch factory in Abtsgmünd was erected in 1938 to house a pair of 63-tonne hydraulic counterblow forging hammers. The firm is engaged in production of crankshafts for the automotive, aviation, and defence industries – crankshafts of up to four metres in length can be produced in the firm’s Abtsgmünd plant, while the Wasseralfingen specialises in the production of ready-to-install crankshafts from 0.3 to 1.5 metres in length. The total number of workers employed exceeds 1,200.


Wednesday, February 12th 2020, 3:34am

Junkers Warmwasser-Apparatefabrik AG

This enterprise was founded in 1895 by Hugo Junkers in Dessau, to undertake the manufacture of appliances such as water heaters and other inventions of the founder.

The 1892 Hugo Junkers designed and patented a calorimeter, an instrument for measuring the calorific value of gases, which proved to be the first of many heat engineering devices he would go on to create. In 1894 he designed and patented a ‘liquid heater’ based on the calorimeter principle. To undertake the production of these (and other) devices, Junkers entered into partnership with Robert Ludwig to open in 1895 a factory in Albrechtstrasse, Dessau.

In 1896 Junkers introduced a wall-hung water heater that would function without need of a chimney connection – the hot gas column in the combustion chamber was sufficiently powerful to draw the necessary combustion air. The firm produced this and other heating equipment – such as low-pressure steam heating systems, warm air stoves, gas heating stoves, and gas heating elements for fireplaces and radiators. On December 16, 1911, the 100,000th gas device from Junkers was manufactured. In the same year, the company already employed 220 people.

During the Great War the firm’s civilian production was discontinued for the duration. However, at the close of hostilities, production of heating equipment was resumed in a new facility in Junkersstrasse. The new factory was expanded several times, with a new administration block completed in 1928. The first electric water heaters were brought to the market in 1924, representing a significant expansion of the firm’s product line. The corporate strategy of offering inexpensive, energy-efficient and high-quality products proved to be a wise choice. Between 1920 and 1929, annual sales rose from 14,000 to 99,000 units. On October 12, 1927, the firm manufactured its 500,000th gas appliance.

The NEA 38 hot water generator, which Junkers launched in 1928, was a nationally and internationally pioneering redesign. A characteristic feature of this new device was the accessibility of the inner body without removing the exhaust pipe. This device was characterized in particular by the accessibility of all parts during operation by the diagonal separation of the housing and removable front wall. The NEA 38 made it easy to clean and check the functions, as well as easy installation and removal of the fittings, the burner and the inner body. The housing was enamelled on the outside and inside, making it easy to clean. Further product innovations would follow, including improved ignition-safe gas switches, a coal-fired furnace with a steel jacket, a new gas central heating boiler, and a heat selector for the water heater to ensure a largely constant outlet temperature regardless of the respective gas and water pressure. Junkers gas appliances were exported to almost all European countries. In 1933 the firm joined with British partners to form Ascot Gas Water Heaters Ltd. of Neasden, near London, where licence production Junkers-designed heating equipment was undertaken.

In recent years the firm’s product line of gas appliances had expanded to include stoves, cookers, ovens, and steam boilers. Output exceeds 250,000 units per year, with more than half the output being exported. More than 3,200 workers are employed in appliance manufacture in the Dessau works.


Friday, February 21st 2020, 10:46pm

Deutsche Maschinen-und Werkzeugfabrik AG

This firm was founded in 1883 when Theodor Keil founded it as a foundry in Glauchau under the name Eisengießerei Glauchau. In 1909 the foundry merged with the Wotan-Werke in nearby Leipzig and entered into the production of machine tools. The firm survived the financial stresses of the Great War and its aftermath, and in 1928 began the production of grinding machines of proprietary design. In 1929 the Zimmermann-Werke of Chemnitz was acquired to expand the firm’s production base, adopting at that time the present style.

Its products include cylindrical grinding machines, surface grinding machines and roller bearing grinding machines, as well as specially designed grinding machines to meet customer requirements. By 1943 the firm had manufactured more than 100,000 grinding machines, marketed world-wide under the “WOTAN” name. Production is undertaken at factories at Glauchau, Leipzig, and Chemnitz.


Thursday, March 5th 2020, 1:38am

Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Leipzig AG

This enterprise was founded in 1946 though the fusion of three machine tool manufacturers in the Leipzig region under the aegis of the Dresdener Bank. The core around which the enterprise formed was the Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Krebs, which had been founded in 1901 by Johannes Krebs to manufacture milling machines and other devices for metalworking. In 1917 his son Arno took over direction of the firm upon the death of the founder. The Krebs firm survived the turmoil of the end of the Great War and in its aftermath established an international reputation for their standardised milling and grinding machines, which were widely exported. Upon the retirement of the younger Krebs in 1937 the firm was reorganised as a joint stock company and gravitated into the orbit of the Dresdener Bank. The Krebs factory was located in the district of Leipzig-Mockau.

The second component of the enterprise is the former Leipziger Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Pittler AG, which had been founded in 1889 by Julius Wilhelm von Pittler. It had been converted into a joint stock company in September 1895 and by 1939 had grown to be the largest continental European manufacturer of turret lathes. Its principal works was located in the district of Leipzig-Wahren. The other element of the enterprise is the Leipzig- Plagwitz factory formerly belonging to the firm of Müller & Monday, which had been founded in 1920 to undertake the repair and manufacture of planning machines.