Bleichert

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Coordinates: 51°21′47″N 12°22′33″E / 51.3631°N 12.3757°E / 51.3631; 12.3757

Adolf Bleichert & Co.
Industry Cable Car, Automotive Industry, Arms Industry
Founded 1874
Founder Adolf Bleichert
Defunct 1993
Headquarters Leipzig-Gohlis, Germany
Key people

Max von Bleichert / CEO,

Paul von Bleichert / CFO
Number of employees

90 (1881)

3.200 (1928)

169 (1932)

4.000 (1950)

Bleichert, short for Adolf Bleichert & Co.,[1][2] was a famous German engineering firm founded in 1874 by Adolf Bleichert. The company dominated the aerial wire ropeway industry during the first half of the 20th century, and its portfolio included cranes, electric cars, elevators, and mining and ship-loading equipment.

Adolf Bleichert - Founder of the Bleichert Aerial Wire Ropeway System
Postcard 1910 - Factory of Adolf Bleichert & Co. Leipzig-Gohlis

History[edit]

1874 until 1918[edit]

In 1872 Adolf Bleichert started in Teutschenthal (Saxony, Germany) the design and manufacture of the first wire rope way (also called Aerial lift). Simultaneously with the successful start-up of this installation Adolf Bleichert founded (initially together with Theodor Otto) in 1874 near to Leipzig a company for the manufacture of wire rope ways. This was the beginning of Adolf Bleichert & Co. which in the 50 years, starting from 1874 until the middle of the 20th century, developed into a world renowned company of the highest standing. In 1881 Bleichert moved its offices to Leipzig-Gholis, which became the main facory facility located in a much bigger plant[3] and it also was the Headquarter of the company.

Starting from 1888 Bleichert expanded also to the Northamerican market by concluding a license agreement with the American company Cooper, Hewitt & Co., the mothercompany of the Trenton Iron Inc.,[4] which constructed and sold many material wire rope ways based on the Bleichert system.

During World War I the Bleichert company developed a specific "fieled cable car" used by German military forces in the mountain warfare of the Vosges Mountain, the Alps and Balkans areas.

Share of the Adolf Bleichert & Co AG, issued Januar 1927
Factry plan of Adolf Bleichert & Co. Leipzig-Gohlis

1918 until 1945[edit]

Bleichert mainly built material carrying wire rope ways, but then diversified into passenger cable cars as well, such as the famous Predigtstuhl Aerial Tramway in the Alps, the Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car, Krossobanen in Norway, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway in South Africa, Burgberg Cable Car in Germany, Aeri de Montserrat in Catalunya and the Port Vell Aerial Tramway crossing the Port of Barcelona from Torre Sant Sebastia via Torre Jaume I to Montjuïc, just to mention some of those.

By the company’s 50th Anniversary in 1924, Adolf Bleichert & Co. had designed and built the world's record holding wire ropeways: Longest and highest elevation (Argentina); Length of system over water (New Caledonia); Steepest (Tanzania); Highest capacity (France); Northernmost (Norway); and, Southernmost (Chile).

In 1926, the company went public, though was controlled by Bleichert’s two sons: Max von Bleichert and Paul von Bleichert. Due to the Great Depression and the collapse of the German banking system, on April 4, 1932, Adolf Bleichert & Co. filed for bankruptcy. Its successor, Bleichert-Transportanlagen GmbH, was incorporated on June 28, 1932 to carry on the firms work. Bleichert-Transportanlagen GmbH also became sole shareholder of Adolf Bleichert & Co. Drahtseilbahn GmbH, the people-mover manufacturing entity. Bleichert-Kabelbagger GmbH—the wire rope crane division—became an independent entity, though also declared bankruptcy on July 4, 1932.

No longer under Bleichert family control, the Bleichert-Transportanlagen GmbH factory continued to produce during the Second World War.

From 1945[edit]

With the defeat of Nazi Germany, Leipzig—the Saxon city where much of the company's factories were centered—fell on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain and Bleichert-Transportanlagen GmbH was taken over by the Occupying Power, the Soviet Union, and renamed SAG Bleichert. In 1954, SAG Bleichert[5] was transferred to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), and was renamed VEB Bleichert. Soon thereafter, the firm was continued under the name VEB Transportanlagenfabrik Bleichert Leipzig. In 1955, the company name changed again to VEB Schwermaschinenbau Verlade- und Transportanlagen Leipzig vorm.Bleichert. By 1959, the last reference to the original family business disappears, as ‘vorm.Bleichert’ is dropped from the firm’s name. Between 1962 and 1985, this entity went through several iterations. However, by 1991, the company had been privatized and entered liquidation, halting production of cranes, conveyance, and pit mining equipment — thus concluding the history of the oldest and largest wire ropeway manufacturer of the world.

Adolf Bleichert & Co. company nameplate
Cable car on Kohlerer mountain at Bolzano (Italy) built in 1912
Cable car Predigtstuhlbahn at Bad Reichenhall (Germany) built in 1928

Further reading[edit]

  • Dr. Manfred Hötzel; Stefan W. Krieg: Adolf Bleichert und sein Werk. An entrepreneurs biography, industrial architecture and company history. (=Gohliser Historische Hefte, Bd. 8), Sax Verlag, Beucha 2007, ISBN 978-3-934544-35-2. Also see [1]
  • Dr. Peter von Bleichert: Bleichert's Wire Ropeways. Kindle Digital Press, 2013 ([2])
  • Oliver Werner: Ein Betrieb in zwei Diktaturen. Von der Bleichert-Transportanlagen GmbH zum VEB VTA Leipzig – 1932 bis 1963. (=Beiträge zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, Nr. 101), Steiner, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-515-08544-0
  • P. Stephan: Die Drahtseilbahnen. Ihr Aufbau und ihre Verwendung. Verlag von Julius Springer, Berlin 1914 (Digitalisat)

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Adolf Bleichert – der Erfinder des deutschen Drahtseilbahnsystems". Seilbahngeschichte.de. Archived from the original on 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  2. ^ Dr. Manfred Hötzel. "Adolf Bleichert und sein Werk". 
  3. ^ "Die Fabrik für Drahtseilbahnen Adolf Bleichert". Leipzig-gohlis.de. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  4. ^ Trenton Iron later was incorporated into United States Steel Corporation through its subsidiary American Steel and Wire Company.
  5. ^ "Plakat aus der Bleichert-Ausstellung in Dresden-Loschwitz". Ercl.net. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2010-06-18.