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

Adolf Bleichert & Co.
IndustryCable Car, Automotive Industry, Arms Industry
Founded1874
FounderAdolf Bleichert
Defunct1993
Headquarters
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 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
Adolf Bleichert - Founder of the Bleichert Aerial Wire Ropeway System
Postcard 1910 - Factory of Adolf Bleichert & Co. Leipzig-Gohlis
Postcard 1910 - Factory of Adolf Bleichert & Co. Leipzig-Gohlis
Factory plan of Adolf Bleichert & Co. Leipzig-Gohlis
Factory plan of Adolf Bleichert & Co. Leipzig-Gohlis

History

1874 until 1918

In 1872 Adolf Bleichert started the design and manufacture of the first wire ropeway, also known as the aerial lift, in Teutschenthal (Saxony, Germany). With the successful start-up of this installation, Adolf Bleichert and Theodor Otto founded a company for the manufacture of wire ropeways in 1874 near Leipzig. This was the beginning of Adolf Bleichert & Co. which in 50 years, from 1874 until the middle of the 20th century, developed into a world-renowned company of the highest standing.[citation needed] In 1881 Bleichert moved its offices to Leipzig-Gholis, which became the main factory facility located in a much bigger plant[3] and was also the company headquarters.

Starting in 1888, Bleichert also expanded into the North American market by concluding a license agreement with the American company Cooper, Hewitt & Co., the parent company of Trenton Iron Inc.,[4] which constructed and sold many material wire ropeways based on the Bleichert system.

During World War I the Bleichert company developed a specific field cable car used by German military forces in mountain warfare in the Vosges Mountains, the Alps, and Balkan areas.

Until World War I the Bleichert company manufactured many aerial cable cars especially for material carriage, but also for passenger transportation. Among them are the following:

Adolf Bleichert & Co. company nameplate
Adolf Bleichert & Co. company nameplate

1918 until 1945

Bleichert mainly built material-carrying wire ropeways, 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.

Share of the Adolf Bleichert & Co AG, issued January 1927
Share of the Adolf Bleichert & Co AG, issued January 1927

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 it was controlled by Bleichert’s two sons, Max 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 firm's 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

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 disappeared, as vorm.Bleichert was 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.

Cable car on Kohlerer mountain at Bolzano (Italy) built in 1912
Cable car on Kohlerer mountain at Bolzano (Italy) built in 1912
Cable car Predigtstuhlbahn at Bad Reichenhall (Germany) built in 1928
Cable car Predigtstuhlbahn at Bad Reichenhall (Germany) built in 1928

Further reading

References

  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.