of the Thonwerke Ludwig GmbH & Co KG
As recorded by
Dr. Paul Ludwig at the celebration of the 100th jubilee of the Ludwig
company in the year 1950.
the eighth century BC has mankind known how to extract and process
iron. Only much later, in the course of the 14th century AD, the possibility
to cast iron was discovered. Again it took centuries to discover steel,
the foundation of our modern technology. This was carried out for
the first time in England in 1784, the then leading industrialized
nation and became common property when Henry Cort invented the Puddle
Kiln. Now only one more step was needed to pour steel. One was already
able to pour minute amounts of steel to small ingots. In 1851 Alfred
Krupp and Jakob Meyer succeeded with the actual steel casting, meaning
to cast commodities into steel, and with this marvelous deed they
became the founders of the new-age large-scale industrial enterprise.
With the possibility to change iron into steel and the development
of the steel casting the refractory industry was born.
The first steel
plants of the industrial zones of the Rhineland-Westphalian areas
firstly got the suitable clays from Belgium. Krupp was market leader
in search of domestic raw materials since they found in their "Sayner
Hütte", near the Lambertshöhe nearby Kettig suitable
steel crucible clays (Stahltiegeltone). Thus the western slopes
of the basin of Neuwied became a vast part of our industrial development
and this remained until the end of the first World War.
In the 1840's,
following the tracks of Krupp, representatives of the Reinhardt
& Koenig company, today Steel Casting Plant Witten, met with
the founder of the Ludwig company, Peter Ludwig I (born on May 7,
1803 in Bendorf) in Muehlheim and asked the crucial question if
he could supply a similar clay as was found in Kettig. We do assume
that our ancestor did have a good idea about the transactions along
the Ruhr river since besides operating a locksmith's trade he also
was involved in a flourishing coal business, both special businesses
that tied him obligatory to the Ruhr river. Knowing the localities
very well Peter Ludwig offered the gentlemen from R&K the blue
Mülheimer clay which he knew from the valley of the owls and
where the clay had been mined probably for centuries for the potters
The trials carried out surpassed all expectations since the clay from
Mühlheim, due to its specific characteristics, was the preferred
clay for the manufacture of steel cast pan and steel casting mixes.
The monies offered by R&K for the purchase of land was refused
by our ancestor since he and his wife, née Zils, owned enough
land. In total they left 42 "morgen" (107.233 m2).
The marriage of
our ancestor was blessed with three sons. There were Peter, Anton
and Markus of which only the eldest, Peter II, born on New Year's
eve of 1842-43, was involved in the clay business.
As per documentation dated February 22, 1873, he came to an agreement
with his brothers and started with great energy to enlarge the business.