Story 073 – 1841 – People Business model

Out to the country

The small town of Herrlingen long played a major role for Wieland

Because access to hydropower in his home town was limited, Philipp Jakob Wieland built another site in the small town of Herrlingen not far from Ulm. Although he later gave up the business, the Wieland family remained loyal to Herrlingen for a long time with a second and a summer residence.

As Philipp Jakob Wieland was expanding his bell foundry more and more into an industrial enterprise for the production of semi-finished brass products, he was indispensably dependent on water power to operate his machines. For this reason he acquired two mills in Ulm by 1828, which he rebuilt and expanded for his purposes. Because business was developing well, they soon burst at the seams – but expansion plans met with bureaucratic resistance.

The company founder found a solution to this problem a few kilometres northwest of Ulm in the small town of Herrlingen, idyllically situated on the river Blau. In 1841, he bought an oil mill, including a residential building and shed, and he set up a rolling mill and a wire extrusion plant there. Five years later he was able to purchase a former paper mill with several buildings a little further north, situated on the Blau’s tributary Lauter. This "upper plant" was soon mainly used for casting pipes, later also for extruding. With more than 400 square meters of production area, the "upper plant" was about twice as large as the former oil mill, the "lower plant". In 1862, the two Herrlingen plants together employed almost 50 workers.

At this time, after the purchase of another mill, the construction of a new, large factory in Ulm was already underway, followed by the factory in Vöhringen, which was built from 1864. The capacities of the Herrlingen plants could easily be created in these new locations – without having to put up with tedious daily transport journeys with horse-drawn carts. The "lower plant" was therefore sold as early as 1873, and in 1902 production was also stopped in the "upper plant".

What remained was the bond between the Wieland family and Herrlingen. From 1847 Philipp Jakob Wieland owned a country house there, which served as his summer residence going forward. And in 1904 his son Max Robert Wieland had the renowned architect Richard Riemerschmid build the art nouveau Villa Lindenhof in a park.

It was used by members of the family until 1950, when it was purchased by the Herrlingen community and converted into a school building. In the 1970s, the Art Nouveau villa barely escaped demolition, which had already been decided, thanks to the objection of the State Office for the Protection of Monuments. After several conversions and renovations, it has been home to the "Lebenslinien" (lifelines) museum since 2019, which focuses on German history using Herrlingen as an example.

Painting factory site

Undated photo of the "lower plant". The factory was housed in the elongated building, the house to the right was used by the Wieland family as a country house.

Painting factory site

The painting of the "upper plant" from 1865 gives some idea of the rural idyll in the picturesquely situated village of Herrlingen at the gates of Ulm.

Painting country house

The country house of Philipp Jakob Wieland in 1873, the year of his death. It still exists today: from 1919 to 1974 it housed the Herrlingen town hall, and since 2004 the "Cäcilia" music society.

Photography Villa

Side view of Villa Lindenhof around 1940; today it is the only Art Nouveau building in the Ulm area that is open to the public. (Copyright: Foto-Studio Heim, Vöhringen)