The Paper Factory

In 1833 the permission was given to build a small cloth mill in an ancient German town. At that moment only ten people were living there, spread over two houses and two farms. In 1845 the permission was given to add a water turbine to the mill, it was one of the first water turbines in Germany. In 1856 two brothers invested in the construction of a large factory. Three big labourer’s houses were added between 1870 and 1874. The power of the nearby river would be of great use, the ditches were already dug but the brothers didn´t get permission to use the water. In 1866, five steam kettles and two steam engines were put into use. At that time, about 600 people worked at the factory.


In 1868, an extensive railway system was built in the area. The factory got its own stop. In 1890 a fire broke out and destroyed parts of the factory. Though the main building was unharmed, the brothers requested bankruptcy, leaving 325 people jobless. From 1829 on bonings, waist bands and orther clothing accesories were produced at the factory. In 1898 the factory was transformed to produce paper for train tickets and wallpaper. The switch from mechanical steam power to electricity was made in 1912. The factory got its own steam generator, which was one of the first in Germany too.

In 1927 the company suffered financial problems and the factory was taken over by a different company. Its invention was the production of paper bags for cement, which back then was only transported per 100 kilogram in barrels. In World War 2 the factory worked at full power, the bags proved to be of great need for the efficient building of fortifications. Shortly after the war the bags were of great need for rebuilding and damage repairs, so the British occupiers gave permission to re-initiate the production. In 1959 between 150 and 200 people worked at the factory. In the 60’s, the factory was taken over by a Swedish company. In 1970 they decided to close the factory, because it was outgrowing the production capacity and the grounds. 135 Workers were fired.

Since then, the factory stands unused. Several parts are decaying fast because of leaking roofs. When I was there it was raining inside just as much as outside. It makes for some of the most beautiful textures of rust and moss I’ve ever seen. We entered through a part of the factory housing an old generator and breakers, which was such an amazing sight that we stuck around there for a good while. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time left so we did a quick run through the main buildings without taking much photos and then had to go. I think I will return soon for a part 2.