Collector’s pieces from the former Eastern Bloc
If you worked for a company for almost 50 years, you not only have many fond memories but often also plenty of memorable items you managed to amass in that time. This applies especially to Reinhold Beisiegel, for instance, who worked for the Seitz-Werke from 1943 to 1990. After training as a machinist he spent much of his time in Eastern Europe and what was the USSR, initially as a service engineer and foreman and from 1968 as a senior installation engineer.
In the 1960s he was one of the first of his colleagues to travel to Moscow for assembly in the field. He spent three-and-a-half months there without being able to contact his family by phone – at a time when letters took three weeks to reach their recipient. Even if back then Beisiegel’s language skills were somewhat lacking, it was chiefly his encounters with the people he met during this and many other assignments to Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia which “moved him” – as do the countless souvenirs which the 89-year-old still loves to surround himself with.
Top performance – also in advertising
At the beginning of the libertine 1970s Seitz had scantily clad young ladies in tall shiny boots adorn its posters and advertisements for a trade show in Paris, lustfully draping them around its innovative technology. What was commonplace in advertising in all branches of industry back then now seems disconcerting almost fifty years on in our modern context of emancipation, gender mainstreaming and the #MeToo debate.
Into the 1990s images like these continued to play a certain role in advertising – increasingly also with sexualized male figures specifically aimed at a female audience. Only slowly did people come to realize that although the use of sex appeal in marketing did indeed attract attention, predominantly from males, it also made it more difficult for prospective buyers to perceive and process the advertised product. In this case this was particularly unfortunate as the machine presented was a brand-new high-performance filler which could output up to 80,000 0.5-liter bottles per hour and with its modular design be adapted to suit all prevalent operating conditions.
Dortmund family saga
Working for a “multi-generational company”
Claudia and Thomas Döhring have been working in Dortmund since 1981: first for Holstein & Kappert, then for KHS. They met and fell in love while they were training – Claudia as a technical draftswoman and Thomas as a lathe operator. The two avid bikers have now been married for 32 years. Their son Sascha and Melena, his wife-to-be, represent the fourth generation of Döhrings at the company. The no less than twelve family members, who together have worked here for well over 200 years, also include both of Thomas Döhring’s grandmothers who had to make bomb tips during the Second World War – as stand-ins for their husbands away fighting at the front, so to speak.
Claudia Döhring doesn’t find the pattern of her family tree at all unusual, however. “That’s how things were back then. From a total of 200 apprentices there was just one who didn’t have a parent working for the company.” Döhring actually wanted to become a fashion designer yet when her father told her that she could also learn to draw “at our company”, she didn’t hesitate for long – and has never regretted it.