Experience the history of Gruschwitz Textilwerke GmbH

Johann David Gruschwitz

In 1816, weaver Johann David Gruschwitz decided to go into business on his own. In Neusalz, Silesia, demonstrating an eye for a gap in the market, the young entrepreneur started out with a small hand-operated twisting mill: shipping companies on the river Oder lacked a high-quality sewing thread for sewing the sails.

This business idea, combined with entrepreneurial spirit, know-how and passion, laid the foundations for the success story of "Gruschwitz twisted linen yarn". With the help of the entire family, the business was expanded year-by-year. Not even a major fire that burned the entire spinning building down to the foundation walls was enough to stop the expansion.

Contracts for toll manufacturing had to be awarded and other spinning businesses were taken over. Various social benefits were established that were extremely go-ahead in Germany at the time, such as health insurance, workers' accommodation, a dining hall, a works library and a support fund for invalid employees. The original small business became a plant with a world-wide reputation.

As early as 1880, the company employed over 1,500 workers. New products were added to the linen yarn - including cotton and hemp. On the world market, the Gruschwitz company succeeded in rivalling its great English competitors. The difficulties posed by the First World War and the post-war years were surmounted by dint of great effort, unprecedented dedication and skill.

Gruschwitz in Neusalz (Oder)

In the years leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War, the company continued to develop - for example though investment in the Rhenania AG thread factory in Dülken, as well as through the acquisition of Duncan's Leinenindustrie AG, Großschweidnitz/Saxony.

The Second World War brought things to a halt. 1945 marked the loss of all Gruschwitz works, as they were located in the Soviet occupation zone. 4,000 employees were laid off and there was no compensation paid. With the help of a few old employees, Alexander Doherr Gruschwitz succeeded in opening up a small twisted yarn production facility under the name of Gruschwitz-Textilgesellschaft mbH in Neu-Ulm, initially operating out of rented premises.

In 1959 Gruschwitz-Textilgesellschaft mbH became Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG. The rented factory building that had been home to the company since the resumption of production in Neu-Ulm was acquired in 1963. In addition to the twisted linen yarns, the production range was extended to include new, interesting synthetic materials, since the importance of the natural fibre twisted yarns continually decreased. Linen could not compete against the performance of newly developed manmade fibres.

Filament twisting works Fritz Zorn GmbH & Co. KG in Leutkirch was taken over on 1 July 1998. Fritz Zorn GmbH & Co. KG was founded in the 1930s near Chemnitz for the purpose of producing technical yarns. There, too, the production site had to be abandoned at the end of the Second World War, as it was also located in the Soviet occupation zone.

The Zorn family moved to Wuppertal and started a yarn trading business there in cooperation with a yarn dyeing works in the Münsterland region. On 7 February 1952, Fritz Zorn KG was founded in a newly built factory building on the Leutkirch site. On 13 January 1976, the company changed its name to Fritz Zorn GmbH & Co KG. In the 1990s, when there was no heir to take over the business, the family decided to sell off the company, which was then achieved through the sale of 100% of the company shares to Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG.

On February 1, 2003, Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG also acquired 100% of the shares in Lozetex GmbH in Winterlingen. The company was founded in 1960 under the name Lorch & Zech GmbH & Co. KG and, after the departure of shareholder Mr Zech in 1984, was renamed by the Lorch family as Lozetex GmbH Tech-Twists. Lozetex was also a technical twisting mill specialised in the production of twists made from high-tech materials. Due to the lack of opportunities for expansion, Lozetex was on the look-out for a partner who could offer these prerequisites. The space available at Fritz Zorn GmbH & Co. KG in Leutkirch was just what the company needed. As early as 2003, Lozetex GmbH moved its entire machine fleet and staff from Winterlingen to Leutkirch. The building, and thus also the Winterlingen site, were abandoned on 31 December 2003.

Gruschwitz heute

In 2004, Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG also relocated, moving to the Leutkirch site with its complete fleet of machines and most of its staff. The factory building, which has been in use since the company's founding in Neu-Ulm, was sold on 1 October 2004. There were now three high-profile technical twisting mills at the site in Leutkirch, grouped under the umbrella of Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG as a holding company of Gruschwitz GmbH Tech-Twists.

In October 2015, Dr Philipp Daniel Merckle, the main shareholder of Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG, sold his shares (around 94%) to pdm Holding AG (Neu Ulm), and decided to merge Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG with pdm Holding AG, while at the same time excluding the minority shareholders. The Annual General Meeting adopted resolutions on 31 May 2016, which became final on 2 August 2016. This marked the end of the "old" Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG. The only operative subsidiary, Gruschwitz GmbH Tech-Twists, was transformed into the “new” Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG in October 2016 and is now successfully continuing more than 200 years of company history.

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