1020 Leopoldstadt


Pages: 12 + cover
Edition: 5 + artists copy (first edition)


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Aloisgasse, named in 1858 after the entrepreneur Alois Miesbach (1791–1857). He was one of the most important industrialists in Austria. He built up a building materials group, which – continued by his nephew Heinrich Drasche – developed into today’s global concern Wienerberger. Alois Miesbach initially devoted himself to engineering and construction, and later to agriculture. In 1819 he acquired the brick factory and the agricultural estate of Meidling on the outskirts of Vienna. In 1820, the first state brickworks (“fortification brick kiln”), founded by Empress Maria Theresa in 1775, was added as a leased property. With the acquisition of the lordship of Inzersdorf am Wienerberg in 1826, he also came into possession of rich clay deposits, which proved to be a solid basis for the further upswing of the building materials company. This boom was based on the fact that there was a lack of natural building blocks in the vicinity of the city of Vienna and the massive influx of people from all parts of the empire to the capital  city had led to a construction boom. In 1855 Miesbach already had 9 large brickworks with 4700 employees and 30 coal mines with over 2300 miners. This made him the largest brick manufacturer on the continent. Miesbach ran his company as an old-style patriarch. He felt responsible for his workers and donated part of his earnings to social institutions (hospital, childcare facilities) and foundations. He recruited his workers mostly from Bohemia and Moravia (called Ziegelböhm). The social grievances that Victor Adler pointed out and denounced as a journalist only appeared in the brickworks after Miesbach’s death. By that time, the company had gone public under Heinrich von Drasche-Wartinberg, and returns had come to the fore. Alois Miesbach bought up land in Leopoldstadt and built numerous apartment buildings from 1850 onwards. Miesbachgasse in the 2nd district is also named after him.