3 min reading time
Story 063 – 1863 – People

The Hour of the Sons: the "Privy Councillor"

Philipp Wieland – Overfulfilment of great expectations

At only 28 years of age, Philipp Wieland took over responsibility for the company and led it into the 20th century together with his brother Max. As an outstanding technician as well as socially-minded entrepreneur and active politician, he succeeded in an extraordinary lifetime achievement.

When Philipp Wieland was born on 10 April 1863 as the eldest son of Philipp Jakob and Mathilde Wieland, his father's company was already on the threshold of becoming a large industrial enterprise. After the death of the founder in 1873 and the company’s interim management by his mother, Philipp and his brother Max took on the life's work of leading Wieland into industrial modernity, but also through numerous challenges and two world wars.

Philipp was well prepared for this: After graduating from high school and completing an apprenticeship with Wieland, he attended the industrial school in Lausanne and the mining academy in Clausthal, then completed a traineeship with the Swiss steam engine manufacturer Sulzer in Winterthur. In 1887 he joined Wieland and just five years later, together with his brother Max, he took over the management of the company, responsible for technical matters and the plant in Vöhringen.

His horizon and energy, however, extended further: Philipp Wieland was a member of the Württemberg state parliament for the National Liberal Party from 1909 to 1918. In 1918/19 he was a member of the National Assembly in Weimar - then for the German Democratic Party – and from 1920 to 1928 a member of the Reichstag. His interests included energy policy and questions of electrification.

He held several supervisory board mandates, was an honorary member of the Württemberg District Association of German Engineers and, from 1920, a member of the executive committee of the Reich-Association of German Industry. In recognition of his commitment, he was appointed "Privy Councillor of Commerce" and "Dr.-Ing. honorary". To distinguish him from his brother Max, he was often referred to within the company simply as "the Privy Councillor".

He repeatedly broadened his entrepreneurial horizon through study trips, including one to the USA in 1927. Like his father before him, he followed the strategy of recognising technical developments at an early stage and making them available to Wieland.

In 1919 he became Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Wieland-Werke AG, but retired to private life at the end of the 1920s and moved to his daughter in Thun, Switzerland. From there, in 1945, he has to witness the extensive destruction of the Ulm plant. In 1949, the "typically Swabian industrial leader, for whom social conviction was a conviction of the heart", died at the age of 86.

Philipp Wieland Villa

In 1892 Philipp Wieland had his stately villa built near the Ulm factory. Both were destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II.

portrait of Emil Stumpp

In 1926 Emil Stumpp painted a portrait of Reichstag member Wieland. It was a great honour for the artist, as he was one of the most renowned press artists and Nazi critics of his time.

Newspaper clipping Philipp Wieland

On his 75th birthday, the press paid tribute to Philipp Wieland as an "industrialist who is well known throughout Germany" and who "led Wieland to the present level of world renown".