Landeshauptstadt Dresden - 14.10.2016 13:27:30 Uhr 15.07.2024 10:30:23 Uhr

City of industry

During the 19th century, the early forms of industrial production which had evolved during the Baroque period developed further into the branches later to become so typical for Dresden.

The 19th century

In 1839, Friedrich Wilhelm Enzmann founded the optics industry in Dresden with his cameras and photographic plates.
The sewing machine and typewriter industries gained a foothold with the companies Seidel & Naumann and Clemens Müller. The luxury foods industry, and especially chocolate production, boasts an equally long tradition (Hartwig & Vogel and others).
In the wake of this development, special branches of mechanical engineering were established, for example for manufacturing equipment and packaging machines. Ludwig Gehe founded the pharmaceuticals industry in Dresden.
With the companies Villeroy & Boch (stoneware) and the Siemens glassworks, the first large-scale industrial enterprises were started.

The first half of the 20th century

As a protest against the growing concentration and increasing internationalisation in certain important Dresden industrial branches, the early 20th century also brought forth various reform movements, leading to the founding of enterprises such as the Deutsche Werkstätten workshops in Hellerau.
Numerous world firsts and traditional brand-name products strengthened the reputation of typewriters, photographic equipment, electrical products and packaging machinery from Dresden. Even though there were, in 1929, for example, ten major enterprises with more than 1,000 employees in the city, it was equally the endless number of small and medium companies and businesses which determined the extraordinary diversity in Dresden's economic profile.
During both World Wars of the 20th century, Dresden's industry was placed almost fully at the disposal of armaments production.
The air raids of February 1945 destroyed 70% of the industrial facilities in Dresden.

1945 to 1989

The social upheavals following 1945 led to the confiscation of 176 companies. They were either taken directly into public ownership or else managed as »public stock companies« until 1954.
Most of the traditional branches of industry were maintained. Aerospace experienced an albeit short heyday: In the period up to 1961, eighty passenger planes and a technically innovative jet airliner were produced at the Dresden aircraft factories before they were required to end their production.
The largest enterprises in the period up to 1989 were Starkstromanlagenbau (power engineering), TuR (transformer and X-ray apparatus), Elektromat (electrical engineering), Schreibmaschinenwerk (typewriters), Pentacon (cameras), Mikromat (machine tools), Nagema (machinery for the foods and related industries), Hochvakuum (vacuum plant), Messelektronik (measuring electronics), Arzneimittelwerk (pharmaceuticals) and Luft- und Kältetechnik (air-conditioning and refrigeration).
Alongside the electrical engineering branch, the electronics and microelectronics sectors, with the enterprises of the Robotron combine, were characteristic for the local industrial structure.