W. Guard houses

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W. Guard houses

legal form GmbH
founding 1839 (1822)
Seat Frankfurt am Main
management Sibylle Zolles
Branch Haberdashery
tailoring supplies
Website www.naehzutaten.de

The W. Wächterhäuser GmbH is a traditional company of the textile sector , located in the Old City of Frankfurt am Main . The wholesale and retail company specializes in haberdashery . The company has been proven to have existed since at least 1839, but according to its own statements it has existed since 1822.


W. Wächershäuser: look into the shop
W. Wächershäuser: look into the shop
W. Wächtershäuser: The shop at Töngesgasse 39

According to the company and several Frankfurt address books from the first half of the 20th century, the founding year of W. Wächtershäuser is 1822. Since the company building and company archive were completely destroyed by the bombing of March 22, 1944 , this founding year is no longer verifiable. The few documents that have been preserved in private and municipal archives indicate that the year of foundation was 1839.

The Frankfurt tailors' guild repeatedly denied the status of master tailor to the tailor Georg Sauer, who immigrated from Sulzbach to Frankfurt in 1820 , because he was unfamiliar and the trade was already overstaffed. Until 1864 there was no freedom of trade in the Free City of Frankfurt , but the branch was subject to numerous controls, some of which were handed down from the Middle Ages, to protect long-established craftsmen.

Therefore, Sauer was initially unable to acquire Frankfurt citizenship . In 1838 he therefore decided to give up the tailoring trade and set up his own business as a linen and thread dealer. Sauer took his citizenship oath on December 31, 1838. In the following year he was able to open his trading business in Schärfengäßchen.

Just three years after the business was founded, some of the largest Frankfurt tailors were among its customers. Sauer died in 1840, his widow Anna Sabina Sauer married the second marriage to Johann Jacob Friedrich Lange, a tailor from Bremen, who continued the business. Between the years 1843 and 1848 the business moved to new premises in Ziegelgasse.

Advertisement in the last Frankfurt address book from 1943 that appeared before the old town was destroyed

Later Johanna Sophie Sauer, Sauer's second daughter, born in 1838, took over the business. She was married to Conrad Wilhelm Wächtershäuser (1838–1881), the son of a domestic servant couple of the Frankfurt Bethmann family . In 1863, the Frankfurt address books show the trading business in Ziegelgasse for the first time under the name of Wächtershäuser. After Wächtershäuser's death, Jean Michael Schäfer took over the business and moved it to its current location in Töngesgasse in 1890/1891 . The new company headquarters was in the immediate vicinity of the original location in Schärfengäßchen.

In 1923/1924 Walter Woelk bought the company. In 1928 he hired Johanna Erb as managing director. In an obituary for Woelk's death in 1961, the art historian Fried Lübbecke wrote that Wächershäuser was one of the noblest companies in the old town . In March 1944, Frankfurt's old town was completely destroyed, including the office building of W. Wächtershäuser. The corner house at Liebfrauenberg 28 / Töngesgasse 61, also known as the Goldene Rebe , had recently been extensively renovated as part of the old town redevelopment. The half-timbering of the house built in 1719/1720 directly after the great Christian fire was exposed.

After the Second World War , the company reopened in Große Eschenheimer Straße . It stayed there for a short time until it moved back into a new building on the site of the old house in Töngesgasse.

In 1959 the grandson of the same name Walter Woelks, Johanna Erb and her son Horst Erb took over the company. In the mid-1960s, the company stopped selling fabrics and switched its business entirely to trading in sewing accessories. After Woelk left the company at the end of the 1970s, the Erbs managed the business until 1997. In January 1998 Sibylle Zolles, who had been with W.Wächtershäuser since 1988, took over the specialist shop as owner. Zolles was also the owner of the traditional Viennese shop Alois Frimmel - Zum alten Knopfkönig .

Todays situation

The market for sewing and tailoring supplies has continued to shrink in recent years, as hardly anyone sews clothes themselves anymore due to inexpensive industrial mass production . According to the IHK Frankfurt am Main , W. Wächtershäuser is one of three remaining specialist shops for haberdashery in Frankfurt and only has competitors in the haberdashery departments of department stores. With a comprehensive range of unusual and rare sewing supplies, which can also be ordered at the customer's request, the company believes its future is secure.

public perception

Due to its long tradition, which goes back for at least 170 years and was also continued by changing owner families, W. Wächtershäuser was and is occasionally the subject of press reports, documentations and historical presentations of individual historical aspects of Frankfurt and its economy.


  • Sylvia Goldhammer: Who was W. Wächershäuser? A contribution to the reconstruction of the company history of an old Frankfurt retail store. In: Newsletter 12 of the Institute for Urban History Frankfurt am Main from October 2008 ( Online ( Memento from June 21, 2016)).
  • Julia Söhngen, Harald Schröder: Conserved time. Traditional Frankfurt shops. CoCon, Hanau 2009, ISBN 978-3-937774-84-8 , pp. 110-113.

Web links

Commons : W. Wächtershäuser  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Frankfurter Neue Presse dated December 11, 1961, Archive Institute for Urban History, ISG / S3 / R 1824
  2. ^ Olaf Cunitz : Urban redevelopment in Frankfurt am Main 1933-1945 . Final thesis to obtain the Magister Artium, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main , Faculty 08 History / Historical Seminar, 1996, p. 71 u. 117. ( online ; PDF; 11.2 MB)
  3. FAZ of December 18, 2007: Tradition is still in fashion. 185 years of haberdashery W. Wächtershäuser.

Coordinates: 50 ° 6 ′ 46.4 "  N , 8 ° 40 ′ 55.4"  E