Along Marie-Müller-Strasse in Aue in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) we can find the representative building front of the former Wellner-Werke Factory. The building dates back to the cutlery and silverware factory August Wellner Söhne (Besteck- und Silberwarenfabrik August Wellner Söhne) and was built in stages between 1884 and 1900. The factory complex extends over a wide area of about 20,000 square meters, mostly over the factory halls, which extended to the rear of this front development to the Auerhammerstraße. The mostly four-story multi-wing buildings clad in yellow Kinker are a typical example of the industrial architecture of their time. The facades were decorated with many ornamental decorations, which often referred to the production. The large elephant figure on the side gable on the left in the panorama is particularly distinctive. It became the company symbol and the brand logo known worldwide. A clock tower with bronze bells from the Bernhard Zachariä Company in Leipzig was added to the central middle section. Unfortunately, the original bells were stolen during the period of vacancy in 2011.
Our streetline view of the Wellner-Werke building front was created in 2018 during the renovation of the central wing. We included a historical view (with thanks to the Stadtmuseum Aue) in the panorama to visualize the portal with tower construction. In the meantime, the renovation of the facades has been largely completed and parts of the building have already been occupied by subsequent users. A new photograph of the scaffolded area is planned. However, the factory buildings at the rear were completely demolished by 2015.
The former cutlery and silverware factory August Wellner Söhne can be traced back to an Argentan factory founded in 1854 in Auerhammer. The Auer invention of “nickel silver”, a copper-nickel-zinc alloy, laid the foundation for the company’s success, as it was particularly suitable for cutlery and silverware. Carl August Wellner, who took over the company from his father in 1858, embarked on an enormous growth course, creating branch offices and agencies around Germany and Europe. The expansion culminated in the 1920s, when Wellner dominated the global cutlery market and could be found in luxury hotels and steamships alike. The model range included designs by noted architects and designers, including Peter Behrens and Joseph Maria Olbrich. In 1924, a new administrative and social building was erected on the complex, which today serves as offices of the District Office of the Erzgebirge District and stands directly opposite the factory front shown here.
After World War 2, the company was expropriated and machines were dismantled as reparations. Auer cutlery production continued under the name “Auer Besteck- und Silberwarenwerke” (ABS) until the 1990s. However, the company Wellner/ABS GmbH, newly founded in 2001, still carries on the name and product range in neighboring Schneeberg.