100th Anniversary of Carl Benz’s “Iron Foundry and Mechanical Workshop”
Plaque at Foundation Location Commemorates Benz’s Workshop
1971 marked the 100th anniversary of Carl Benz’s “Iron Foundry and Mechanical Workshop”. The anniversary was not celebrated in 1971, but in 1972, the 50th anniversary of Motoren-Werke Mannheim A.-G. was officially celebrated.
In 1971, MWM employee J. H. Bergmann published a text about the 100th anniversary of the “Iron Foundry and Mechanical Workshop” in the company magazine “WIR von den Werken der Knorr-Bremse”. Additionally, a plaque commemorating the achievements of Carl Benz was set up in Mannheim-Neckarstadt in 1971, close to the place where the factory had originally been established.
The following report by J. H. Bergmann was published in the company magazine “WIR von den Werken der Knorr-Bremse” no. 109 of June 1971:
By 2021, the MWM company history will have accumulated numerous anniversaries from a century of corporate tradition in the field of engine production. The first of these anniversaries goes back all the way to 1871, when Carl Benz opened his “Mechanical Workshop” in Square T6/11 in Mannheim. There, he got started with his “workshop-level” designs and experiments, which culminated in the operation of the first stationary gas engine on New Year’s Eve 1879/80. This epoch-making invention has indeed changed life on Earth fundamentally.
In ignorance of the great significance it would eventually play, nobody made the effort to record the exact date on which the workshop was founded. House T6/11 was bombed to ruins in World War II. The property was resurveyed and renumbered as house number 33, which again hosts a business. An inscription draws attention to Carl Benz, but is not dated. Sadly, the historically significant date is not registered anywhere—neither in the city archive nor in the city’s trade, construction, and property departments.
Since the day and month are not known, Motoren-Werke Mannheim AG—which preserves the memory of its initiator Carl Benz in the passage “vorm. Benz, Abt. stat. Motorenbau” (in English: formerly Benz, Stationary Engine Production Department), which is part of the company name—would like to commemorate its 100th anniversary in mid-1971. However, the occasion of this report will not be highlighted with a special celebration and “With many eloquent speeches of praise”, as the first line of a famous poem by Justinus Kerner goes, since MWM will look back at 50 years of company history on March 11, 1972, and this “gold anniversary” will be celebrated in a worthy way. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that a company’s evolution and its legal status are two different things, each of which doubtlessly plays a key role in paving the way for the other. So as we continue to do our daily work, let us be aware of the company’s 100th birthday and of its father, the pioneer Carl Benz! (JHB)
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MWM 150 years anniversary book, page 64, Norbert Eisinger