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Story 030 – 1965 – Safety Processes

When wages still came in a packet

If necessary, the payday would be defended with arms.

As late as the 1960s, wages were still being paid in cash. Huge sums of money had to be transferred between the bank and the plants in Ulm and Vöhringen. To deter robbers, Wieland bought three pistols – which fortunately never had to be used.

Wage payments in cash in the famous wages packet was still common practice at Wieland well into the 1960s. However, security service providers that handled the delicate transport of the ever-increasing amounts of cash were not yet in use. So, twice a month, Wieland's personnel department sent a few employees to the branch of the regional central bank in Ulm to collect cash. Some would be paid out at the Ulm plant, the remainder in Vöhringen.

It was not bad experiences that motivated the company to take an unusual step in 1965, but an insurance contract against robbery with Schwäbische Treuhand AG. It only guaranteed insurance cover "if three escorts would be equipped with a firearm". The proper purchase of these pistols caused some bureaucratic efforts at Ulm’s Office for Public Order and the District Office Neu-Ulm - especially since the weapons were to be carried in cross-border traffic between the counties of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. In addition, individual weapons licences for named Wieland employees had to be applied for.

After overcoming the bureaucratic hurdles, the four arms bearers received shooting instructions from the police, as well as legal education about "when the firearm could be used". Nevertheless there seemed to have been a lack of clarity about this, as an instruction was issued in March 1966 once again specifying the valid self-defence regulations and adding "that the members of the escort were … by no means compelled to resist an attack by use of firearm". The main effect of the weapons clause in the insurance contract was to serve as a deterrent."

This worked, no Wieland payroll transporter was ever attacked, until cashless wage payments were introduced at the beginning of the 1970s. The pistols became superfluous, and in 1974 they were sold for 100 D-Mark to an arms store in Ulm. The fears of many wives became superfluous, too. They had not been afraid of robbery, however, but they were afraid of the sensitive, gastronomically induced shrinkage of their husbands' wage packets on the way between the factory and their home.

Extract pistol bookkeeping

The issue of the pistols was meticulously recorded, just as each individual cartridge that was fired during practice. The weapons were stored in a safe.

The sale of the pistols to an arms dealer in Ulm in 1974 was also documented, records are still kept in the archive.