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Josef Herrmann founded his factory for plane irons and steel tools in 1843. Before that, he was a foreman at Anton Gruber for 6 years.

When Gruber died unexpectedly in 1842, Michael Holzer took over his factories in Vienna and Scheibbs in early 1843. Soon a bitter dispute between Herrmann and Holzer arose: Holzer claimed in advertisements in February, that he had been Gruber's foreman in both factories in Vienna and Scheibbs. Herrmann strongly disagrees. And there is some evidence that Josef Herrmann was telling the truth, and that he was the actual developer of the production method on which Gruber's privilege was based. Because on March 22, 1843 he received his own privilege on "steel-plated tools", left the Gruber factory, bought a hammer mill in Miesenbach (in the immediate neighbourhood) and founded his own privileged factory.

The loss of Herrmann was likely to have been a serious problem for Holzer, because only 2 months later, in May 1843, Franz Wertheim, who a year earlier had founded a steel tool factory in Rehberg near Krems and had his own privilege for "steel-plated" tools, joined Holzer as a partner . Another month later Wertheim took over the hammer mill in Scheibbs alone, Holzer remained the owner of the factory in Vienna.


Josef Hermann initially produced exclusively for Wertheim, but in July 1843 he teamed up with Wertheim's competitor Johann Weiß in Vienna. The cooperation is published in daily newspapers in full-page advertisements, in which Herrmann confirms once again that he was Gruber's only foreman in both Scheibbs and Vienna. He also points out that Gruber's tools owed their excellent reputation to his own "insightful management and practical business knowledge".

Herrmann's trademark also underlines this claim: It retains Gruber's three-pointed crown and the double-headed eagle, supplemented by its own name and the phrase "Gruber's been foreman". Here is a comparison of the two brands .

In 1845 Herrmann advertised that he had opened a defeat at S. J. Wanke in Pest (Hungary).

Josef Herrmann also exhibited at the third Vienna industrial exhibition in 1845. In a report in the newspaper "Der Humorist" he is called "the inventor of Gruber's method" and his tools are called  "excellent products".

The successful privilege was repeatedly extended in the following years up to a maximum duration of 10 years. By 1877 Herrmann had acquired three further privileges for improvements to plane irons. The announcement of the last of these privileges in the "Wiener Zeitung" in 1871 is interesting: It was only granted under the condition that the " procedure was carried out under a dome or in a stove with a glass wall " to protect against toxic fumes.

The first trademark protection law came into force in 1859, and Josef Herrmann was one of the first (number 26) to register his trademark . Wertheim didn't follow until a week later.

On December 31, 1863, the Josef Herrmann company was registered as a sole proprietorship in the St. Pölten Commercial Court.

At the Vienna World Exposition 1873 Herrmann was awarded the Golden Cross of Merit with the crown.

1887 son Anton Herrmann succeeds his father as the owner of the company. The company name "Josef Herrmann" is maintained.

In 1890 a new trademark protection law came into force, in 1893 Anton Herrmann registered his trademark again .

In 1904 Anton Herrmann was elected to the board of the savings and loan association for Neustift-Scheibbsbach.

In 1906 Anton Herrmann dies, his wife Amalia succeeds him as the owner of the tool factory. This is registered on June 13, 1906.

In 1907 daughter Anna married the factory owner Karl Wimmer from Neustift, the second daughter Amalie married the engineer Max Harrasser from Klagenfurt in 1909. His son Josef became authorized signatory of the company in 1910 .

In 1911, mother Amalie sold the company to her son Josef and her son-in-law Max Harrasser. The company becomes a general partnership and Josef's power of attorney is deleted .

This letter comes from my own collection on January 14, 1913: Josef Herrmann explains to a customer that he has not been making plane blades for Johann Weiß & Sohn for a year (i.e. since 1912). So shortly after the takeover of Wertheim's successor D. Flir by Weiß & Sohn, a partnership that had lasted for almost 70 years, ended. The Herrmann company has produced 7 million plane irons for Weiß & Sohn since 1843.

Josef Herrmann married Jenny Schimassek in 1914, daughter of a partner in the Neustift company Gaißmayer & Schürhagl, Lieutenant Schimassek.

1917 Joseph Schwager Max Harrasser leaves the company becomes Josef the sole owner.

The last newspaper article for the time being dates from 1922: The Herrmann company is suing the Federal Ministry of Trade and Commerce for the deletion of its brand. Nothing is known about the verdict.

Herrmann Niederlage Pest 1845
Herrmann Einzelfirma 1863
Herrmann Sparkasse 1904
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