H. Ulbrichts Witwe

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  • H. Ulbrichts Witwe

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History


Heinrich Ulbricht took over the Friedrich Arlt & Co. in 1859 after the death of Friedrich Arlt in the same year. Freidrich Arlt & Co. was located at Stefansplatz 628 in Vienna. From the time in which Ulbricht took over the company was renamed H. Ulbricht & A. Kunis Silberplatierwaren und Metallknopffabrik and mainly produced buttons for military uniforms.

In 1869, Heinrich Ulbricht received an order from the Vienna City Council for buttons for the uniforms of the fire brigade and other community employees. Heinrich died in August of the same year and as a result his wife, Eleonora Ulbricht, continued the business. The company name was changed to Heinrich Ulbricht's Widow and operated at Rennweg 84 in Vienna. After the completion of the first order from the Vienna City Council, the contract was extended until 1877.

With the beginning of the Second World War, Heinrich Ulbricht's Widow became an armaments factory with 402 employees and manufactured ammunition. Foreign workers were accommodated in the nearby Mitterberg Castle. After the end of the war, the company was located in the American occupation zone and was under state administration.

In 1959, the Austrian Defense Minister Ferdinand Graf awarded a production order for Leitner-Assmann hand grenades to Heinrich Ulbricht Witwe GmbH, which led to investigations by the Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office. It also gained media attention as some saw it as a violation of the Austrian State Treaty with the Allied occupying powers of 1955.

In 1964, Hans Assmann acquired Mitterberg Castle and began renovations, but the building collapsed in 1969. Between 1969 and 1971, Ulbricht's Widow delivered machines and tools for the production of hand grenades to the Pakistani company Akhtar & Hoffmann. Ulbricht's Widow founded Armaturen GesmbH (Arges), a subsidiary for the production of grenades in 1984 and gained media attention again in 2001 when hand grenades bearing an Arges logo were used in the terrorist attack on the Indian parliament.

Engineer Georg Schapernak acquired the company from his grandfather, Friedrich Willhelm Assmann, in 2000. He parted from the armaments division and in 2005 Rheinmetall took over the Arges from Ulbricht's Widow and renamed the company Rheinmetall Waffen Munition Arges GmbH. The company now makes automotive parts and protective helmets. Some of the companies customers include Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Volkswagen.


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