2 min reading time
Story 098 – 1991 – People

Future needs origin

Why Wieland cultivates its history

Thousands of documents and artefacts from the company's 200-year history are stored in the Wieland archive in Ulm. Among other things, they form the basis for stories like these and help to keep Wieland's great substance alive in the future.

"Only he who knows where he comes from knows where he's going." This quotation was given by the Executive Board of Wieland-Werke AG in the foreword of the book "Wieland. Geschichte einer Arbeitsheimat" in 1991. It continues: "A healthy substance, a future-oriented development, embedded in this tradition, are priceless values for a successful company".

Against this background, the preservation of the company's own history took on a new significance after the Ulm plant moved to the Danube valley in the early 1980s. For the first time, a central archive room was set up in the basement, where documents from the company's history were viewed, recorded and archived. This task was entrusted to Klaus Eickhoff, a physicist who had worked for Wieland for 35 years before he retired. He collected numerous documents, paintings, photographs and objects, many of them small treasures, from various locations and departments, but also from former employees. For example, a detailed documentation "Historical Data of the Wieland-Werke A.G.", compiled in 1931 by none other than Philipp Wieland. Or the manuscript for a never published anniversary book written by the historian Professor Dr. Hansmartin Decker-Hauff in 1970.

In the following years, the newly established Wieland Archive was invaluable in the creation of the above-mentioned book "Wieland – Geschichte einer Arbeitsheimat" (Wieland – History of a Working Home), written by the renowned cultural historian Hermann Baumhauer. A little later, in 1995, archivist Eickhoff published the travelling diaries of Philipp Jakob Wieland as a book.

Wolfgang Dürrschnabel took over the archive on 1 January 2000; he too was a retired engineer who had previously worked for Wieland for a long time and had most recently been head of the testing and research institute. He regularly wrote detailed documentations on a wide range of technical subjects, such as the history of extrusion, about pipe, sheet and strip production or the history of the Wieland works railway.

Since 2015, Dr. Manfred Hage, also an engineer and most recently head of the business unit "Plain Bearings and System Components" and now an active Wieland pensioner, has been in charge of the steadily growing archive. Thanks to his support, the company historians from Aalen have been able to lift all those historical "treasures" during numerous visits which are being presented globally on the occasion of Wieland's 200th anniversary in 2020 in the form of stories on the website

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The history of Wieland was first published in 1991 on 160 richly illustrated pages. Numerous documents and photos from the archive were shown for the first time.

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In Wieland's internal communication media, historical aspects are repeatedly addressed – and meet with great interest among readers.