JF Weule

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A tower clock by Weule from 1877 in the Erlöserkirche , Lüdenscheid . It was retrofitted with electric elevator motors.
Inscription on the clock tower of the Christ Church in Plettenberg .
originally preserved tower clock (1903) in the Nicolaikirche Krimderode
Bell founder mark on the e-bell from 1951 of the Ev.-ref. Wölfersheim Church

J. F. Weule is the name of a tower clock factory and bell foundry in Bockenem in Ambergau that existed from 1836 to 1966 .


The company was founded on October 20, 1836 by the watchmaker Johann Friedrich Weule (1811–1897). In April 1847 a fire destroyed around 90% of all buildings in Bockenem. This event prompted Weule to set up a fire department in 1848 . The men's gymnastics club 1848 goes back to this gymnast fire brigade . On May 8, 1848, he accepted the contract to build a tower clock for the Marktkirche in Goslar , thus laying the foundation for a company that expanded successfully until 1953. He developed a watch that only had to be wound once a week (and no longer daily). It was delivered to St. Petrikirche in Buxtehude in 1857 .

Expansion and modernization

A new factory building at the Steintor was opened in 1862. The company founder handed the company over to his son Friedrich Weule (1855–1952) in 1879. This began around 1880 with the bell casting and in 1886 had the company equipped with a steam engine , which in 1898 also drove an electric generator . In 1888 Friedrich Weule began building his castle-like residence in Dillsburg. The site is raised about 3 km west of Bockenem on the edge of the Harplage forest area. Weule now exported its products worldwide.

No longer used chilled cast iron bells by Ulrich & Weule (1921) in front of the Warin town church

In 1900, electrification was extended to the elevators for the tower clocks. Around 1913, Friedrich Weule's son, the engineer Friedrich Weule jr. (1883–1954) took over the management. During the First World War he was drafted and his father represented him in the company, which now produced grenades and other military equipment.

In addition, from 1917 they began to cast iron chill-iron bells instead of bronze . During the First World War, bronze bells had to be given to the whole of Germany as a " metal donation " and were melted down to obtain material for armaments purposes. After the end of the war, for the rapid production of numerous replacement bells for the enormous war-related losses nationwide, chilled iron bells seemed to be the inexpensive alternative, even if the quality of bronze was not equal, especially since bronze was still rare. So in 1918 “Gebr. Ulrich ” founded the cooperative company Ulrich & Weule by master bell founder Heinrich Ulrich from Apolda .

After the war the son took over the management again. He further developed the company and brought it through the crisis years between 1930 and 1932. Friedrich Weule sr. later retired to the Dillsburg near Bockenem.

1933 to 1945

To mark the centenary in 1936, Friedrich Weules junior published a commemorative publication in which he presented himself as an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler . When the mayor of Bockenem was on leave due to the law to restore the civil service in April 1933 and then dismissed, Weule made himself available for the post. During this time he traveled to Berlin to apply to Adolf Hitler for honorary citizenship of Bockenem. After seven months, he resigned as mayor because he had to take care of his business. In 1936 a carillon was built for the Olympic Games in Berlin .

At the beginning of the Second World War , the tower clock factory was declared an important operation and later a labor camp was set up for around 30 Soviet prisoners of war. Around 120 people manufactured 10.5 mm projectiles for the artillery and, from 1942, also devices for the navy . The clock department made coffee kettles for field kitchens . On April 8, 1945, troops of the US Army reached Bockenem.

Continuation after 1945, end of 1966

Soon after the end of the war, tower clocks and bells were made again with around 85 employees. The majority went from bronze to iron casting. Due to the destruction during the war and also for the new buildings in the post-war period, there was considerable demand.

In 1951 a second partner got on board and attempts were made to build textile machines. But on March 18, 1953, the company went bankrupt . Friedrich Weule jun. had managed the company for 40 years before then. Around 140 employees became unemployed. Some were able to go back to their usual work on December 20, 1954, because the Wilhelmshütte from Bornum took over and continued the business. The company name Weule became Wilhelmshütte Werk Bockenem.

Helgoland bell (1952), today in the cemetery of the nameless on the Helgoland dune

Except tower clocks and bells dials, central clocks, building clocks were ringing machines and chimes built and sold. During this time Lower Saxony was mainly supplied. Especially that became known returnees bell in the border transit camp Friedland at Göttingen in 1949 and the Helgoland bell 1952. After the acquisition has been expanded the production program to hearth and furnace parts, but when the Wilhelmshütte 1966 also declared bankruptcy was not to keep the operation Weule.

In December 1970, the Bockenem Tower Clock and Local History Museum was founded, which has been collecting old Weule clocks and bells since then, exhibiting them in function and providing information on the company's history.

The factory building was initially used as a storage room after 1966 and gradually demolished from September 1979. An arson on June 13, 1980 caused great damage. Finally, in June 1987, the last buildings were demolished and only the bell tower that was worth preserving was given to the museum. J. F. Weule is remembered today by a street name on the former factory site and a tombstone in the Bockenem cemetery.

Tower clocks still in existence

See also


  • Ernst Fauer: Chilled iron bells from the Ulrich & Weule bell foundry . In: Apoldaer Geschichtsverein e. V. (Hrsg.): Apoldaer Heimat - Contributions to the nature and local history of the city of Apolda and its surroundings . Issue 36. Apolda 2018, p. 35-41 .
  • Manfred Klaube: War and post-war years in the provinces - Bockenem and the Ambergau 1939 to 1949. Bockenem 2008
  • Manfred Klaube: The Ambergau - economic, social and political history. City of Bockenem, Clausthal-Zellerfeld 2001
  • Manfred Klaube: The brown years - the Ambergau in the Nazi era. Clausthal-Zellerfeld 1995
  • Friedrich Freitag: From the Hainberg to the Vineyard - historical images from the Ambergau. 1952
  • Friedrich Weule jun .: 100 years of JF Weule (1836–1936) Tower clock factory. 1936

Web links

Commons : JF Weule  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Exact dates: (* April 18, 1811 in Alt Wallmoden ; † October 12, 1897 in Bockenem)
  2. Exact dates: (* January 8, 1855, † April 10, 1952)