The raw material for bricks lies in the up to 300 meter deep layer of earth which was deposited millions of years ago as sediment from the tertiary Mediterranean Ocean and which has been used for thousands of years for the production of high quality bricks from fired clay. 182 years ago the cornerstone was laid here for an industrial group which has been traded for more than 130 years on the Vienna Stock Exchange.
The founder of our Company, Alois Miesbach, decided to become a brick producer in 1819 at the age of 29. He purchased brick plants, coal mines, and extensive real estate holdings. Miesbach, a native of Moravia, hired mostly emigrants from Bohemia and with their help built the largest European brick company in the south of Vienna within a span of a few years.
When he died in 1857, Miesbach bequeathed his nephew and successor Heinrich Drasche nine brick plants, one clay plant, two estates, several coal mines, and a number of houses and construction sites in Vienna. Together with the Austrian Imperial eagle, Heinrich Drasche?s “HD” initials appeared on bricks used in nearly all the magnificent buildings and workers? housing constructed during the “Founders Period” between 1880 and 1910.
Drasche also built nearly 400 houses in the outlying districts of Vienna and ten on the famous Ring Road, including the colossal “Heinrichshof” opposite the State Opera which housed his headquarters.
This building was destroyed in 1945 during the Second World War. During its 182 year history, Wienerberger has felt the influence of many famous people. In addition to the pioneers Alois Miesbach and Heinrich Drasche, these include the architect Heinrich Freiherr von Ferstel, who also built Vienna?s Votive Church and the Palais Ferstel. Ferstel became Wienerberger?s first president after the Company was transformed into a stock corporation in 1869.
The renowned architect of Ring Road buildings, Theophil Hansen, was closely connected to Wienerberger professionally, and as Chairman of the Advisory Board. And the founder of Austria?s social democracy, Dr. Viktor Adler, became a proponent of working class rights after experiencing the lifestyle of workers at the Wienerberg brick ovens near the turn of the last century .
In the early 20the century Wienerberger had close cooperation with prominent designers of this period such as Otto Prutscher and Michael Powolny, who designed architecutral ceramics and were responsible for de artistic interior of the famous Dianabad in Vienna