Zellweger AG, Uster

Zellweger LogoZellweger was one the major manufacturers of wireless equipment for the Swiss Army starting in the years shortly before World War II and active well into the nineties. After a merger of the telecommunication business with Autophon and Brown Boveri, Zellweger focused later on textile technology.

Company History

In 1874, the mechanic Jakob Kuhn (1945 - 1893) founded the „Lufttelegraphen - Werkstätte“ (Air telegraph company, which did not refer to wireless telegraphy but wired telegraphy with the lines suspended high in the air) together with Jakob Wolfensperger, Wetzikon. Jakob Kuhn could acquire the premises Florastrasse 202 (today no. 8) which became the first company headquarters of Zellweger AG. after Wolfensberger died in 1879, the company got renamed „Kuhn & Ehrenberg in Uster, Telegraphen - Werkstätte“, they produced electric and pneumatic doorbell systems. Kuhn left the company in june 1880, Ludwig Alfred Zellweger from Trogen AR became the new head of the company now called „Fabrik für elektrische Apparate von A. Zellweger und W. Ehrenberg in Uster“, production facilities were relocated at Neuwiesen / Bahnstrasse, Uster, in 1882. After a fire in the factory building, Zellweger moved into the premises of a former mechanical spinning industry at Niederuster in 1925.

Alfred Zellweger was born 5th of september 1855 at Trogen AR, his ancestors were local politicians and international textile industry entrepreneurs. After having finished his education at Trogen Cantonal School (College), he went to work with „Telegraphen-Fabrik Matthias Hipp“ (telegraph company) at Neuenburg and passed his studies at the Swiss Federal Technical University at Zurich, known as ETH nowadays.

Alfred Zellweger passed his military service with the „fireworks troops“, the later artillery. He continued his studies at Paris and London with an emphasis on electrical engineering. He became a partner of Mr Ehrenberg in 1880, provided much of the companies monetary funding and worked as development engineer, Mr Ehrenberg was the dead of sales.
Alfred Zellweger died in 1916, after the death of his oldest sun in 1918, the descendants founded the „Zellweger & Cie.“ in 1918, the first director was Hans Bissig who had worked for steel company Georg Fischer (+GF+) before. After a few difficult years, the Zellweger family sold their shares and the company was renamed to „Apparate- & Maschinenfabrik Uster, vormals Zellweger AG“ (apparatus and machines company Uster, earlier Zellweger AG). As many costumers felt irritated because they knew about the excellent reputation of Zellweger AG, the company got the old name back in 1946: „Zellweger AG, Apparate- und Maschinenfabriken Uster“, in 1973 the company simplified it's name and became „Zellweger Uster AG“.

Even in 1881, „Zellweger & Ehrenberg“ could sell telehpone equipment to the Federal Telegraph Direction at Bern, they continued with electrical bells and lighting.
At the Swiss National Fair in 1883 held at Zurich, Zellweger had a large offer of electrical appliances up to electrical power plants, they could construct a gas eletrical plant at Uster in 1896/97.
Zellweger produced not only eletrical doorbells and telephones but also the very well known electric coffee mill „Perl“ in 1917, this was sold for centuries.
Following large investments of the textile engineer Jakob Heusser-Staub in 1918, the company started development and production of measurement and quality control tools for the textile industry, Zellweger is still known worldwide for their products.

After they could acquire a Marconi license in 1923, Zellweger started production on radio sets, in 1925 they could produce the F telephone for the Swiss Army. In 1936, Zellweger developed the first (military) wireless set, the small portable K-Station.

After the portable sets P and P5, Zellweger developed in the years 1940/1 the FL40 wireless station („Fahrbar Leicht“, „mobile light“), which was equipped with the All wave receiver Uster, which also was in use as standalone set.

The legendary single sideband shortwave station SE-222, the „heavy radioteletype station“ SE-415 and as the last shortwave station, the SE-430.

A special „niche product“ from the precision mechanics department was the NeMa. The New Machine (or T.D. which stands for „Tastendrücker“, press the buttons; this designation was used on the outside of the cases to obscure to peoply carring it around, what a secret was inside) was a ciphering machine based in the German **Enigma]] machine. Zellweger had a reputation for providing special technical solutions, the the production of this ciphering machine could be kept as a secret for many years. Only few people did know, that some lady workers in a protected shelter worked on the wirings of the ciphering wheeels of these machines.

en/zellweger.txt · Zuletzt geändert: 2018/10/30 17:57 von