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Unternehmensgeshichte der Federnfabrik Alfred Weigel in Chemnitz

Unternehmensgeschichte der Alfred Weigel KG-Federnfabrik

Foundation 1st July 1909

In 1909 the trained fitter and foreman Alfred Weigel would found an own company to produce technical springs.

That fact displeased his former employer named Kupfer - a manufacturer of technical springs- and he prohibited his suppliers the delivery of wires and steel strips to Alfred Weigel.

But Alfred Weigel had found a way to avoid this "economic embargo" of his competitor by asking a friend to order the raw material.

From a bankrupt technical spring manufacturer named Riedel, Alfred Weigel got his first clients and 4 years later Alfred Weigel had already 40 employees.

The return from World War I

After his return from World War I, Alfred Weigel bought two sites in Chemnitz until 1925: one at Luther Street 26 and the other at Annaberger Street 138, where the company still has its headquarters.

In 1928 Alfred Weigel rebranded its company to the Alfred Weigel KG.Therefore Alfred Weigel acquired a major contract with Bosch AG which was really important in this uncertain economic time.

After the National Socialists seized power, the economic recovery in Germany startet and with the rearmament program Alfred Weigel KG had full order books.

In 1941 there were 14 technical spring manufacturers. New and modern production sites were built in all urban districts of Chemnitz- Also Alfred Weigel KG started to build new constructions and extensions for his production.

The company after the outbreak of World War II

With the beginning of World War II the demand for technical springs jumped up. The production was classified as strategic for the war and was controlled by the NSDAP and the Gestapo. Some of the employees lost their lifes in the battles of the war.

The firm owner Kurt Weigel was summoned many times by the Gestapo because of some jewish employees and his loyalty to forced workers. With many thanks to his civil courage, which is still part of his families values, he protected his workers and his employees from their worst.

During the last days of the war, Alfred Weigel KG had 500 employees, That was the highest headcound in the corporate history. Furthermore the management and also the people in the production are already working in their second generation.

Until today there are meticulous records about realised honours at company anniversaries, pensions funds for employees or appointments of foremen and heads of craft guild. By the aerial attacks of the allied forces in feburary/ march 1945, large parts of Chemnitz were destroyed.

Unfortunately the production site at Luther Street was completely destroyed and the site at Annaberger Street was badly damaged. Again employees and family members lost their lives.

The reconstruction after World War II

The reconstruction after World War II and of Chemnitz itself was a time of improvisation.

In the years after the war the Weigel-Team produced hair clips, band steel frames for bras or even main springs used to garter stockings. In the hard winter of 1947 there was no electricity or heating fuel. That is why the company had the first and only closure in its history from 24th Feburary to 8th March 1947.

Subsequently a time of growth startet again for Alfred Weigel KG. In 1959 the state got  a limited partner. At that time the company made a revenue of 1.5 Million Deutschmark with the production of technical springs. The company had 8 manufacturing areas and 200 employees.

In 1972 the state socialized the company completely from Kurt Weigel. His son, Siegfried Weigel, is believed as suitable director of the new state-owned company named VEB Feinfedern Karl-Marx-Stadt. In 1975 the company was integrated to the VEB Federnwerk Marienberg and Alfred Weigel KG lost its independence. The new conglomerate was called Wälzlager und Normteile Karl-Marx-Stadt.

Bureaucracy and shortage of material were really hard for this conglomerate. In addidition essential investments were not permitted. An example for this shortage was a tankful of the only truck of the conglomerate. The monthly need of 25 l was paid by 4 weekly installments. That fact made an unscheduled transport of a 200 kg iron wire reel within the city  to a almost insolvable problem.

Among other things these difficulties led Siegfried Weigel to some uncommon penalties: He smoked in his office with opened windows when having a meeting with the non-smoking director of the conglomerate - even in winter.

As a revenge the director imposed financial audits of the company, but they did not reveal any faults.

From the German Reunification until today

In the time of the German Reunification starting in 1989, old socialist structures collapsed and several suppliers and customers lost their existence.

In the spring of 1990 Siegfried Weigel - the grandson of the founder of Alfred Weigel KG -  made a request at the economic council to privatise the company again.

Caused by an enormous purchase price the first bid failed. Luckily the privatisation agency had to employ Siegfried Weigel and that is why the head of the agency appointed him to the general manager.

Alfred Weigel Federnfabrik is owned again by the family since May 1st, 1990. The so-called consultants of the privatisation agency forecasted a bad future for the family business. But the magic words growth and strength were the features which were needed to reinforce the company to conquer new frontiers like the social market economy.

Unitl today the entrepreneurial family keeps its philosophy and priciples and leads the company in the 4th generation.