Vesta-Nähmaschinen-Werke was a general partnership for the manufacture of sewing machines founded by Leopold Oskar Dietrich in Altenburg (Thuringia) in 1875.
On July 1, 1871, three journeymen locksmiths, Leopold Oskar Dietrich, Hermann Köhler and Gustav Winselmann, founded a workshop in Altenburg for the production of sewing machines under the name Dietrich & Co. On January 6, 1872, the first sewing machine was completed under the name Allemannia; by the end of the same year, 300 machines had been manufactured.
In 1873, two years after founding the workshop, Dietrich resigned and opened a sewing machine shop and rental business in Sporenstraße. The company was renamed Köhler and Winselmann and moved to larger premises in 1877.
In 1891, Winselmann also became independent, setting up its own factory in 1892 and trading from 1902 as Gustav Winselmann GmbH, where titanium was produced. The company was expanded in 1900, 1914 and 1925/26 until 233 people were employed in 1927. After the Second World War, Winselmann’s company was closed and first a food manufacturer moved in, then in the mid-1950s the Baukombinat Leipzig.
Hermann Köhler AG expanded in 1897/98 and manufactured sewing machines under the Köhler name. In 1922 a joinery in Pößneck was bought, then in 1923 an iron foundry in Zeulenroda was added. In 1927 the number of employees was 800.
L. O. Dietrich founded the Vesta-Nähmaschinen-Werke in 1875 and moved production in 1880 to the new building started a year earlier. Additions were built in 1908 and 1912/13. In 1927, 1252 people were employed. The company was nationalised after the end of the Second World War and in 1948 was incorporated into the VEB Nähmaschinenwerke Altenburg (Köhler sewing machine factory), which had existed since 1947.
The workshop of the three locksmiths, established in 1871, was located in the Meuschke brush factory. Köhler and Winselmann moved to Kotteritzerstraße (today’s Käthe-Kollwitz-Straße) in 1877, where a new factory was built opposite the old one in 1897/98, which was demolished in 2011.
The location of Gustav Winselmann GmbH was Zwickauer Straße since 1892, in a former hat factory built in 1880. Today it houses the commercial centre financed by the Altenburger Land district, the MHW Karree.
L. O. Dietrich moved to Wilhelmstraße (today’s Dostojewskistraße) in 1875. Five years later, production was moved to Ziegelstraße (today’s Franz-Mehring-Straße/corner of Friedrich-Ebert-Straße). The area is home to the Alte Fabrik industrial park, which housed the Gumpert sports car factory, among others.
The output of production in 1872 was 400; in 1900 it was 111,900.
By about 1940, over 2 million Vesta sewing machines had been produced. The production capacity at that time was about 500 sewing machines per day. The factory had its own iron foundry, a cabinet maker’s shop and its own power plant with 1700 HP. It had an area of 135.000 m².
– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
- History of the Altenburg sewing machine industry on geo.viaregia.org
- Heinrich Mock: The economic development of the town of Altenburg. Stephan Geibel Publishing House, Altenburg 1929
- Fritz Sagel: The Altenburg sewing machine industry. Inaugural dissertation of the high philosophical faculty of the University of Jena for the attainment of the doctorate, Altenburg 1911
- Brief information on sewing machine production at http://geo.viaregia.org
- Staatsarchiv Leipzig (Memento ofthe original onDecember 3, 2010 in the Internet Archive) Info: Thearchive linkwas inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.
- Project by Sieghardt Rydzewski on altenburg.tv(Memento of the Originals april 29, 2016 on the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.
- MHW-Karree on altenburg.tv(Memento of the Originals december 7, 2015 on the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.
- Altenburger Geschichtsblätter Altenburg Art and Culture in the 19th Century Lindenau Museum Altenburg 1992
- Textbook on the use of the Centralschiff sewing machine to the model “Vesta ZZ 302”, in the period 1938-1940
- Advertising brochure Dream becomes reality for the model “Vesta ZZ 302” and its variants, in the period 1938-1940