United Glanzstoff factories

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Thread counter with glossy fabric logo

The United Glanzstoff-Fabriken AG was a German company in the legal form of a stock corporation , whose works produced artificial silk . The headquarters of the AG was Wuppertal-Elberfeld , the main factory was in Oberbruch (today a district of Heinsberg ). In the vernacular , the work was only called glossy fabric (or glan (n) fabric). The name of the AG was officially Glanzstoff AG from 1966.


Share of Vereinigen Glanzstoff-Fabriken AG for over 1,000 marks from December 1916

In 1897 the chemist Max Fremery and the engineer Johann Urban applied for a patent for their process of producing threads from cellulose dissolved in copper (II) hydroxide and ammonia water ( Schweizer's reagent ) . This was the hour of birth of German rayon . Fremery and Urban initially used their copper silk as filaments in their incandescent lamp manufacture. For this purpose they founded the first production company in Oberbruch (city of Heinsberg ). On September 19, 1899, the United Glanzstoff-Fabriken AG was founded in the Bergisch-Märkische Bank zu Elberfeld with an initial capital of 2 million marks and headquarters in Aachen. The company's headquarters were relocated to Elberfeld in 1901 . In 1902, Fremery and Urban closed their light bulb factory. The most important buyer of the copper silk was now the Bergische trimming industry. They quickly recognized the further potential of artificial silk, acquired the viscose patent in 1911 and made it ready for production.

In 1927 the American subsidiary American Glanzstoff Corporation was founded, which resided in Elizabethton ( Tennessee ). In 1925 JP Bemberg AG (now Enka GmbH ) took over the majority of the shares in Vereinigte Glanzstoff-Fabriken AG, which had been in existence since 1916 through contractual agreements with Bemberg worked together.

From then on, the production of rayon and related products such as Perlon , Nylon or Dralon and polyester brand name "DIOLEN" flourished. Up into the 1970s, the Glanzstoffwerke were world market leaders in the manufacture of synthetic fibers and their starting products. In 1965 the company generated sales of DM 1.347 billion and employs 29,000 people. Over 10,000 employees found work at the Oberbruch, Obernburg, Kelsterbach and Wuppertal locations, including many guest workers , mainly from Greece and Portugal , but also many commuters from the neighboring Netherlands .

In the mid-1970s, like other fiber manufacturers, the company got into the so-called man-made fiber crisis , which led to massive drops in raw material and energy prices as a result of the first oil crisis and made massive cost savings necessary. Increasing competition after the expiry of the patents for the manufacture of man-made fibers, especially from Asian countries, made it necessary in the long term to convert the production facilities to high-quality special products, as mass-produced goods manufactured abroad were entering the market at significantly lower prices than possible in Germany. As early as the 1970s, “Glanzstoff” was integrated more strongly into the Dutch chemical company Akzo, later AkzoNobel . In 1998 Akzo Nobel took over the British fiber and paint and varnish manufacturer Courtaulds Ltd. , merged Courtaulds' fiber activities with its own and sold them as a new company called Acordis .

After the originally planned IPO, the owners decided to split Acordis into individual companies.


Oberbruch location

Oberbruch plant in 1902/1903

The foundation of the Rheinische Glühlampenfabrik Dr. Max Fremery and Cie. Commandit-Gesellschaft took place in 1891. In 1892, Fremery and Johannes Urban started the production of cellulose threads for carbon filament light bulbs, from a solution of cellulose in Schweizer's reagent, which was registered and granted as a patent in 1897. In 1904, the production of Sirus monofilament for braided material started, which was used, among other things, for women's hats. The production of staple fiber (rayon) began in 1916. In 1925 the Waldniel branch was built. In 1934, staple fiber production started as a further development of the earlier staple fiber production. In 1937 the Continue procedure was introduced. From September 19, 1944 to 1947, operations were paralyzed by war damage. In 1950 the perlon factory was put into operation with a capacity of 2 tons per day. In 1952 the production of RT (tire and drive belt) and KVS rayon started and in 1958 that of the polyester continuous yarn Diolen .

The industrial park Oberbruch (IPO) grew out of the large factory premises in Oberbruch , in which different companies from different industries are based today. In Oberbruch, the main street is named Boos-Fremery-Straße in memory of the first plant directors , while a street in the quarter with former company apartments is named after the co-founder Urbanstraße .

Obernburg location

The location was founded in 1924 under the name Bayerische Glanzstoff Fabriken AG as a production facility for textile viscose yarns. In 1928 it was merged with the United Glanzstoff Fabriken AG. On May 18, 1938, the production of technical viscose yarns started as a reinforcement material for car tires. In the last weeks of the war, the plant received heavy hits from low-flying attacks and artillery fire. Just a few months after the end of the war, production started on a modest scale with the production of harvest twine. From 1946, tire yarn production resumed at 4 t / day. In 1949, Perlon production was developed to production readiness on the test facility and in 1951 the first polyester thread "Diolen" was spun. In the 1950s, further production facilities for polyester (1955) and polyamide yarns (1957 nylon tire cord) were built. In addition, the Obernburg site (in addition to Arnheim in the Netherlands) has been home to a central corporate research institute of the AkzoNobel Group with a focus on fibers, membranes, chemicals, coatings and analytics for many years. The group also had a central engineering office in Obernburg.

After the location was divided into various GmbHs in 2003, the man-made fiber location became an industrial park with the name Industrie Center Obernburg (ICO). Mainsite GmbH & Co KG is now the owner and operating company of the site .

Cologne-Niehl location

The factory gate and former administration building of "Glanzstoff" in Cologne-Niehl (2014)

Around 1923/24, Glanzstoff learned that the British company Courtaulds Ltd. ( see also Samuel Courtauld ) had the intention to set up a production facility in Germany, which because of the competition in their own country could by no means be in the interests of Glanzstoff. Therefore, on the initiative of Glanzstoff in 1925, the Glanzstoff Courtaulds GmbH was founded and thus a joint venture between the two companies ( although they were previously competitors, the two companies always maintained good contacts ). Cologne was chosen as the location. The then mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer , played a key role in the procurement of a plot of land for the new company, which was the first company to be built at this location on the former northern fortifications of Cologne ( Neusser Landstrasse / corner of the military ring ). First viscose filament yarns and later also viscose staple fibers were produced in the Cologne plant . Brand names for the filament yarns were Colcesa, Colomat and Colcord, for the staple fibers Colva, Colvadur and Colvalan.
Mayor Adenauer, at that time also a member of the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank , speculated shortly afterwards with Glanzstoff shares bought on credit, which led to some legal problems after the war due to a sharp drop in the price during the global economic crisis and dubious guarantees by Fritz Blüthgen, the then Glanzstoff general director.

The plant suffered little damage during the Second World War, which many contemporaries attributed to the co-ownership of the British company. Several hundred forced laborers worked for the company during the Second World War. Soon after the end of the war, production in the Cologne plant could be resumed with the approval of the military government.

The company existed until 1966/1967 and employed up to 2,500 ( according to other sources up to 3,000 ) people. The air-raid shelter ("Winkel construction", named after the civil engineer Leo Winkel ) from the Second World War and the administration building of the Glanzstoff house architect Ferdinand Flakowski, which was completed in 1929, are reminiscent of the former factory facilities .

To this day, there is a smaller plant of the successor company Akzo Nobel on the northeastern edge of the old factory premises . Some of the other buildings of "Glan ( z ) stoff", as it is shortened in Cologne, are still largely standing and have been or are still being used by other tenants. So z. B. as a studio of the WDR ( WWF Club ), sales point of the Emmaus aid organization , location of a concrete manufacturer, car wash , umbrella and awning sales , various discos , event rooms , refugee accommodation , training facilities of the Caritas Association, and much more. DHL also has a large logistics center built on the northern part of the site ("DHL Freight").

Kelsterbach location

Due to the sharp decline in demand for textile viscose, the decision was made to give up the Kelsterbach plant, which had been producing since 1904 and acquired in 1911, in 1999. The site has not been used since then and the facilities were demolished in 2007. After a long period of fallow, the development of a new residential area and a retail park on the former factory site has been pushed forward since 2012. The Umwelthaus information center is located in the preserved administration building.

Location Sydowsaue

The construction of the factory in Sydowsaue (today Żydowce in Polish ) was founded in 1901 by Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, who started production on a small scale after acquiring patent rights for the manufacture of silk-viscose cellulose processes. In 1903 the plant started operations. Mainly viscose rayon was produced, which was then further processed to make viscose. Before the First World War, the factory employed around 1,500 people as the Vereinigte Glanzstoff-Fabriken AG Wuppertal-Elberfeld-Sidowsauer. In 1917 the factory started producing viscose staple fibers. After 1933 the number of employees decreased to about 600 people. Dutch and Polish forced laborers were employed during the Second World War, and at the end of the war the site was affected by war damage.

Kassel location

The plant in Kassel was founded in 1935 by Glanzstoff as Spinnfaser AG and started on November 13, 1935 on two spinning plants with approx. 9 t / day, which was increased to 54 t in 1936. In May 1939, the production of rayon with higher strength ( Duraflox ) was started. Production at this location continued until 1984.

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Society for corporate history (edited by Renate Schwärzle): German Economic Archive - evidence of historical sources in companies, corporations under public law (chambers) and associations of the Federal Republic of Germany, Volume 1, 3rd completely revised edition, Franz Steiner Verlag Stuttgart, 1984 , P. 11.
  2. Those twenties. In: Der SPIEGEL. Der SPIEGEL, January 11, 1961, accessed on November 16, 2014 (German).
  3. Glanzstoff-Courtaulds GmbH. In: The Life History Network. Working group NS-Gedenkstätten NRW eV (project sponsor), accessed on November 15, 2014 (German).