Companies making history: birth of the Berndorf AG Topotheque archive

The “Topothequers” in charge of the new Berndorf AG Topotheque (l-r) Walter Gruber, Josef Büchsenmeister, Harald Staudinger and Reinhard Muschik with Alexander Schatek (Topotheque initiator) Foto 1: Berndorf AG (R. Herzog)

Historic steam turbine hall, Berndorf works Foto: Berndorf AG Topotheque archive

Berndorf works electricity plant in 1965 with employees Foto: Berndorf AG Topotheque archive

BERNDORF (16 June 2017) – 2018 will mark 175 years since Krupp and Schoeller founded their metal works in Berndorf. A group of present day and former Berndorf AG employees are already hard at work compiling historic photos, documents and eyewitness accounts for a public online exhibition. Berndorf AG is the first company in Austria to launch its very own Topotheque archive to document its eventful history in pictures on the internet.

One of the curators, known as “Topothequers”, who will help to record the company’s development over the years is Walter Gruber. As a works electrician, he spent what amounts to around two thirds of his life at the Berndorf works. He explains his reasons for spending his retirement sifting through old boxes of photos as follows: “I experienced virtually everything that made up my 45-year career – the highs and the lows – here at the works in Berndorf. It’s really nice to stay in touch with many of my former colleagues as part of the Topotheque team and document our shared memories of our times as apprentices, specialists, foremen and bosses.

Photos and documents wanted!

Lots of people in Berndorf and the surrounding area have a personal connection to the former cutlery works in the Triestingtal valley. Privatised just under three decades ago, Berndorf AG has grown into a global technology company with 3,000 employees in more than 20 countries worldwide. If you have any old photos or documents relating to the Berndorf works, Walter Gruber and his colleagues working on the Berndorf AG Topotheque are always happy to receive any fresh material or suggestions. The aim is to ensure that all the necessary preparations are completed by the time the exhibition goes online in the autumn when Berndorf’s industrial history will be available for everyone to see at www.topothek.at. Get in touch with Andrea Gruber by e-mail (ag@berndorf.co.at) if you would like to add to the Topotheque archive.