The beginnings, 1809-1840

Johann Weiß was born on November 19, 1788 in Reckartshausen in Bavaria. He learned the joinery, then worked in Germany and Prague before coming to Vienna in 1809. There he found a job in Franz Gruber's tool factory. 11 years later, in 1820, he had saved enough capital to start his own business as a toolmaker. From the same year, the first entry in an address book, namely as a carpenter in Vienna, auf der Wieden No. 579 comes from. In the course of a new numbering in 1820/21, house number 579 became number 55 Alleegasse, this was Franz Gruber's house and factory. Weiß started his own company in the house of his previous employer.

 

On Sep 22 In 1822 Weiß married Cecilia Rapp from Stetten. The couple had three sons: Vinzenz (born 1823), August (born 1825) and Johann Baptist (born July 9, 1829). Vinzenz became a technician, August learned toolmaking in his parents' company, Johann Baptist began an apprenticeship in the commercial area.

 

In 1826 an advertisement of the “k.k. privileged cast-steel-edge-toolmaker” Michael Feugl from Senftenberg near Krems appeared in the Wiener Zeitung, in which he announces to have his branch in Vienna with the (bürgerl.) master joiner and toolmaker Johann Weiß in Josephstadt (note: actually St. Ulrich), Neudeggergasse No. 84 (note: today 8th district, Neudeggergasse 12). This enables Weiß to offer his tools, like Franz Gruber, with plane blades “plated with cast steel”. Gruber had received his own patent in 1823 and produced his plane irons and other cutting tools himself. Weiß, as a bourgeois joiner, was subject to the restrictions of the guild. So this collaboration with Feugl was of the utmost importance for him. Privileges and factory rights played a major role in the entire process of industrialization from the late 18th to the late 19th century. (More on this in a separate article).

 

Probably in 1828, Johann Weiß moved his company to Lumpertgasse 715 (today Kettenbrückengasse 4, 4th district). The first advertisement appeared in the Wiener Zeitung in October 1837, in which Weiß described himself for the first time as a woodworking tool manufacturer, no longer as a joiner. Another move took place in 1839, Johann Weiß bought a house in the Laimgrube, Gärtnergasse 87.

 
Planes 1820 - 1842 from my collection
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On the way to industrial production 1840 - 1850

While the 1830s were characterized by a slow but steady upswing, the 1840s became a difficult and groundbreaking decade for the company. The years 1842/43 and 1847 proved to be particularly fruitful.

 

On October 17, 1842, Johann Weiß's son August died suddenly at the age of only 18 years of typhus. A heavy blow for the father, since August was already very involved