History

 

1828

RUDOLF´S FOUNDRY

Iron works for puddling of pig iron from Frýdlant nad Ostravicí were established in Vítkovice according to the decree of Olomouc Archbishop Archduke Rudolph Johann of Habsburg on 9th December 1828. The planned complex should have produced especially rails for a newly built line from Vienna to Galicia (later known as the Northern Ferdinand´s Railway). The author of the idea of building a new iron works near Silesian Ostrava black coal mines was Franz Xaver Riepl, a professor at Vienna polytechnic. He ensured all necessary base material resources and technological equipment. Franz Kleinpeter, an experienced manager, became the first director. The iron works named after its founder Rudolf's Foundry began to produce in September 1830. After archbishop's death the Olomouc Archbishopric became the owner, but was not very interested in this business. During 1835–1843 the Witkowitzer Gewerkschaft, a business association of Viennese bankers led by Salomon Mayer Rothschild ran the iron works. Rothschild later in 1843 became the only owner of the mill.

 

1843

ROTHSCHILD'S IRON WORKS

Already then the mill had the primacy of the first coke blast furnace in the Habsburg Empire (1836). Thanks to Bank house of the Rothschild family the iron works developed and extended the production programme. In the mechanic workshops for repairing machines, new engineering works, bridge construction and boiler construction departments were created, where steam engines, mining equipment, equipment for iron, steel and rolling mills, girders, railway wheels and switches were manufactured. The new factory hall called after Salomon's son Anselm Foundry was constructed due to high demand for rails. The owner built two storey empire style chateau near both foundries which became a seat of general directors in 1847.

 

1873

THE VÍTKOVICE MINES, STEEL AND IRON WORKS CORPORATION 

In 1873 the Bank of Rothschild set up together with brothers David and Wilhelm Gutmanns the Vítkovice mines, steel and iron works corporation. The capital was divided to 100 shares owned equally by Rothschild's and Guttmann's families. The real turning-point was the appointment of Paul Kupelwieser as general director three years afterwards. Under his leadership the production was completely reorganized and rationalized. A new production programme was introduced as e. g. manufacturing of armour plates. The Vítkovice Ironworks became the monopolistic producer of armour plates for Austrian-Hungarian Navy and for some time even the only producer in the Habsburg monarchy. During 1880's more new plants were built – copper extraction, tube rolling mill and cast steel factory. The Vítkovice Ironworks gained some Ostrava plants as Sophia Foundry (1879) or Schüller Foundry (1880). The number of employees increases with rising production, in 1893 more than 9,500. During agency the village of Vítkovice changed into a modern industrial town. Not only employee dwelling facilities arose but also nurseries, schools, market-halls, canteens and baths, and a new firm hospital. He also had merit in building of St Paul Church and firm hotel. He developed project of New Vítkovice. His successor Emil Holz orientated for war production, mainly for battleships. In 1897 first crankshaft of Vítkovice destined to battle-cruiser Habsburg was made. Shipping programme became enduring and integral part of firm product portfolio. The manufacturing of granates, projectiles, cannons and torpedos began at that time. At the same time the iron works achieved to ensure high quality production material base by the purchase of iron ore mine in Swedish Koskullskulle (1897). At the turn of the centuries Vítkovice had almost monopolistic position in the production of pig and cast iron in Moravia (96 %). The high level of technical equipment, stable enquiry, big production volume and relatively low operating expenses led the Vítkovice Ironworks between top producers in Europe. In 1906 the first steel cylinder was manufactured. Cylinders remain to be important products even now. Starting the production in the most modern plant, a new steelworks and rolling mill in 1914, the company gained a step forward the competition. Apart from these, by-product plants were built – Ammonia (1914) and Benzole (1917). During WWI (1914–1918) the war production was introduced – muzzles, steel plates and ammunition. It employed 25 000 people.

During first years after the creation of Czechoslovakia the firm struggled with problems concerning traditional market decomposition. However, owing to the network of offices abroad, it managed to find new sales areas. The first electrical blast furnace gas precipitation plant was put into operation on 1924. When Great Depression broke out in 1929, the production sank. Despite of this, a series of remarkable, original products were manufactured, e. g. combined multistorey bridge across Dnieper in Zaporizhia (1930–1932), spherical gasholder in Prague-Libeň (1932), swing bridge over the Milgravis in Latvia (1934). In 1937 the Vítkovice Iron Works experienced the time of its biggest boom, the production rate was 19 917 115 tons raw material and products.

 

1945

VÍTKOVICE S. P.

According to presidential decree from 24th October 1945 the Vítkovice Mines, Steel and Iron Works Corporation was nationalized and Vítkovice Ironworks State Property was established on 1st January 1946. In the after war period the firm focused on manufacturing of production equipment for Czechoslovakia and became the biggest steel producer and second producer of steel tubes in Czechoslovakia. From 1950's the plant underwent modernization with reconstruction of steel furnaces and rolling mills. The production programme was innovated, in 1962, manufacturing of spherical tanks began, four years later production of bottled gas cylinders began, 1966 the agriculture programme of Vítkovice Ironworks was introduced (production of sewage plants, tank towers, enamel plates and plough cutting edges). The company was successful in the world market as well. A number of railway and road bridges were exported to Egypt and Iraq, boilers to China, homogenisation and unloading facility for Brazil). The 3,6 quarto t rolling mill for Azovstal in Mariupol (former USSR, Ukraine now) was considered the delivery of the century. During 1970´s the VÍTKOVICE nuclear programme began – components for nuclear power plants (steam generators and pressurisers and boilers) have been produced there since 1978. On 1st January 1980 the Concern VÍTKOVICE arose (members were (Hutní montáže Ostrava, Transporta Chrudim, Uničovské strojírny, Žďárské strojírny a slévárny, Mostáreň Brezno, Výzkumný ústav transportních zařízení Praha).

 

1992

VÍTKOVICE, a.s.

After change of political system, the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) and the VÍTKOVICE concern were disintegrated. The period of huge staff and organizational changes turned up. In frame of the first phase the plants were dissolved and enterprise entities arose, from them slowly subsidiaries developed. Technological changes bounced also in logistics of production. In January 1992 the VÍTKOVICE, joint-stock company was established. Despite of new economic conditions the company realized a lot of notable contracts in inland and abroad. A piping conduit for Pakistan (1994), a covered bridge of Prokop's valley for the Prague underground line (1994), oil tanks in Nelahozeves (1994–1998), a container crane EUROKAICC-9 for a port in Hamburg (1996), the Marian bridge in Ústí nad Labem (1998), a spherical ammonia holder for Spolana Neratovice (1998), a grab ship unloader of bulk materials for Sollac in Saint Louis de Rhone (1999) and a roof of the Olympic stadium in Berlin (2002–2004) are examples of the most significant ones. China and South Korea became the most important customers of crankshafts. Unqualified interventions and a series of incorrect decisions led the company to the oppressive economic situation at the end of 1990´s. In 1996 the Czech government decided about the shutdown of pig iron production in Vítkovice. On 27th September 1998 the last tapping was performed and the blast furnaces were stopped after 162 years.

 

2003

VÍTKOVICE GROUP

According to resolution No. 198 passed on 24th February 2003 by the government, VÍTKOVICE, a.s. became the private property of LAHVÁRNA OSTRAVA managed by Jan Světlík, who stabilized the group and returned it to the world market. In September 2008, the new brand VÍTKOVICE MACHINERY GROUP was introduced. Up to now the company has won 20 gold medals from the International Engineering Trade Fair in Brno and belongs among the traditional global engineering leaders. The group has been influencing all spheres of human life.

 

2014

METAL EVOLUTION

In August 2014 the VMG introduced to the business partners its new marketing strategy METAL EVOLUTION based on three key pillars: 

CLOSED PRODUCTION CYCLE

PRODUCTS WITH IN-HOUSE KNOW-HOW

SERVICES