Westphalian Union

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Great wire route in Hamm (1897)
Plant in Nachrodt
Wire mill in Lippstadt

The Westfälische Union AG was an association of initially three, later further companies in the iron industry with headquarters in Hamm . It was independent from 1873 to 1898, then was affiliated to Phoenix AG .


In 1873 a group of Berlin investors bought three sole proprietorships in the Westphalian Bergland and merged them to form the Westfälische Union, Aktien-Gesellschaft für Bergbau, Iron and Wire Industry . The three companies were:

  • Cosack & Co. in Hamm: puddling and rolling mills for bar iron and wire; Wire drawing factory, wire pin factory, riveting factory, wagon axle factory, iron foundry, iron vitriol factory, lime kiln and refractory brick factory.
  • Eduard Schmidt in Nachrodt : puddling and rolling mills for bar iron, strip iron, sheet metal and wire; Tombak and brass plate rolling mill; Tinplate factory, rivet and screw factory and iron foundry.
  • A. & Th. Linhoff in Lippstadt : puddling and rolling mills for bar iron and wire with wire drawing shop in Lippstadt, wire drawing shop and wire pin factory in Belecke , ore mines Martenberg and Semmet, as well as blast furnace and hammer mill in Berich .

A few months after the foundation, further companies were added:

  • Friedr. Thomée in Werdohl : puddling and rolling mill, wire drawing in Uetterlingsen (district of Werdohl).
  • v. Holzbrink in Einsal: puddling and rolling mill. This work was by Friedr. Thomée was leased and was only operated on a lease basis by the Westphalian Union.
  • Finally, what was initially only a small wire drawing and pencil factory in St. Petersburg was acquired and rapidly expanded.

The company employed a total of around 2,100 workers. It had 83 puddling furnaces, 44 wire annealing furnaces and 114 wire pin machines. Typical products were wire nails, galvanized iron wire and telegraph wire. In 1883 the mechanical production of spring springs was started, from 1888 onwards the production of barbed wire and from 1896 onwards the production of wire mesh. In 1897 a new, large wire mill was put into operation. This followed American models and was the first and for a long time the only one of its kind in Europe.

However, the company got into a structural crisis. The production of puddle irons was no longer competitive with the Thomas process . In addition, the need for steel for further processing increased. In the end, the company's own plants were only able to supply a third of the material required. The Union was therefore looking for a partner. The merger with the company Westfälische Drahtindustrie AG , also based in Hamm, failed. Therefore, the company was forced to join one of the large Ruhr area groups. Also because Albert von Oppenheim from the Sal. Oppenheim bank was chairman of the supervisory board of Union and Phoenix AG for mining and smelting , the union was incorporated into Phoenix in February 1898 with effect from July 1, 1897. From this, the Union obtained mild steel for wire production using the Thomas process . On the part of Phoenix AG, Union was an ideal partner, as it was able to purchase the amount of semi-finished products that could not be processed in the other plants.

With Phoenix AG, the Union came to the United Steel Works in 1926 . With the unbundling of the group by resolution of the Allies after the end of the Second World War , the Union was re-established in 1951/52 as a subsidiary of Niederrheinische Hütte . With this, the Union came to August Thyssen-Hütte AG in 1956 . The iron wire production of the group was centralized in the Union and the production range expanded. The ties to Thyssen were further expanded in the 1970s and the company was renamed Thyssen Draht AG in 1978. In 1990 the union went on in the joint venture Böhler-Thyssen welding technology. The shares in Thyssen were taken over in 2003 by Böhler-Uddeholm AG. Following the takeover of the Böhler-Uddeholm Group by voestalpine AG, Böhler Schweisstechnik Deutschland GmbH was assigned to the Railway Systems Division of voestalpine AG in September 2009.

The company in Hamm is now part of the route of industrial culture - brine, steam and coal .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Phoenix Actien-Gesellschaft für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb 1852-1912, memorandum for the 60th anniversary of the company, Hoerde 1912
  2. Alfred Reckendress: The "Stahltrust" project. The founding of the United Steel Works and its corporate development 1926-1933 / 34. Munich, 2000 p. 73
  3. www.bsdg.de
  4. http://www.bohler-uddeholm.com/german/523_DEU_HTML.htm

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