The label “Made in Germany” was first introduced in Britain under the Merchandise Marks Act of 1887, and was used to control foreign goods sold in Britain which were claimed to be British. In his 1896 book Made in Germany (B.45.32), Ernest Edwin Williams examined German industries in detail and looked into the threat to British industry posed by German competition which at that time was invariably cheaper. Over the years the “Made in Germany” tag has come to be associated with reliable and high-quality products. In our everyday lives we encounter many well-known brands, from cars to household appliances and clothing such as Porsche, Miele, Adidas, all of which are “Made in Germany”.
The University Library has books in the series “Made in Germany” published by Ullstein Verlag. These are paperbacks in a uniform silver aluminium finish and each one is dedicated to the founder of a particular company. Here are the titles and classmarks of a selection of books from this series:
Max Grundig by Christl Bronnenmeyer, 1999.7.2002
Philip Rosenthal by Joachim Hauschild, 1999.7.2003
Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin by Helmut Pigge, 1999.7.2004
Friedrich Krupp by Karl-Otto Saur, 1999.7.2005
Ferdinand Porsche by Fabian Müller, 1999.7.2006
Lothar Freiherr von Faber by Juliane Nitzke-Dürr, 1999.7.2007
August Oetker by Bettina Jung, 1999.7.2008
Carl Miele by Marion Steinhart, 2002.7.219
Werner von Siemens by Wilfried Feldenkirchen, Almuth Bartels, 2000.7.345
The books almost always describe family activities over several generations. Sometimes things did not go the way the families wished. For example, the sportswear companies Adidas and Puma were founded by two brothers who started making sports shoes together in their mother’s bathroom in the 1920s. They later fell out, probably over political differences, and went their separate ways, founding the firms Adidas and Puma. The feud lasted for sixty years. You can find out more in Pitch invasion: three stripes, two brothers, one feud: Adidas, Puma and the making of modern sport by Barbara Smit (413.c.200.123).
Another fascinating story is that of the German automobile manufacturers Porsche and Volkswagen. Porsche was founded by the Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche in Austria in 1931 but then moved to Stuttgart. The company was asked by the German government to design a car for the people, a “Volkswagen”. This led to the Volkswagen Beetle, one of the most successful car designs of all times. Porsche is now owned by Volkswagen AG, although it is itself majority-owned by Porsche Automobil Holding SE. A recent leadership struggle (April 2015) just saw Porshe SE Chairman Wolfgang Porsche accept the resignation of his cousin Ferdinand Piech as chairman of Volkswagen, illustrating that many of these companies remain to some extent family enterprises. Die Volkswagen-Architektur: Identität und Flexibilität als Konzept (S401:7.a.200.31) and Porsche und Volkswagen: zwei Konzerne, zwei Familien – eine Leidenschaft by Christian D. Euler (C206.c.4878) give more information on these companies. Paul Bonatz: Bauten an Rhein und Neckar by Rose Hajdu (C200.a.3966) presents buildings designed by one of the most famous and influential architects in Germany during the first half of the 20th century and it has a chapter on “Haus Porsche”.
Today BASF (Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik) is the largest chemical producer in the world. In 1885, a director of the company travelled from Germany to China to convince the Chinese to use their dyes. The effort turned out to be very successful resulting in today’s Chinese dying industries, although at the time it was a very risky move. Another story of adventure is told in Robert Bosch (2008.7.176) about the founder of the mechanical and electrical engineering company in Stuttgart in 1886 which gradually became the world’s largest supplier of automotive components. Later on BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte (household appliances) had joint ventures with each holding a fifty percent share but in 2014 Bosch bought all the shares of BSH. You can find out more about these companies from the following books: Friedrich Engelhorn: BASF-Gründer – Unternehmer – Investor (1865-1902) (C209.c.554) and Beschleunigung von Geschäftsprozessen : Wettbewerbsvorteile durch Lernfähigkeit ; mit Fallstudien von AFG, Bosch, Phoenix, Siemens, Volkswagen, Würth (9008.c.3500).
Germany’s industrial output is not its only export. In addition to cars and washing machines, German cultural exports are also important and have attracted the worldwide interest. Since reunification, art in Germany has continued to develop and in recent years many foreign artists have chosen to live and work in Germany. Made in Germany by Martin Engler (2007.11.1610) is a catalogue of art by young contemporary artists which gives a snapshot of national traditions mixed with different cultural backgrounds.