F: Welcome to the Landenberger Room. The man after whom the room was named is actually present in person. You’ll find his portrait at the back of the room, in the left-hand corner. Allow me to perform the introduction: this is Paul Landenberger, and we’re standing in the middle of the private room where he spent his retirement.
M: Paul Landenberger was born on the 28th of December 1848 in the town of Ebingen. He was not quite 21 years of age when he came to Schramberg and found employment as a commercial clerk at the clock and watch factory owned by the brothers Junghans. The factory had only been established for a few years at that time. Landenberger soon forged a career for himself and rose to become an authorised officer of the company. In 1870, Luise Junghans-Tobler, the founder’s widow, entrusted him with the management of the business. Landenberger went on to marry her daughter, Frida Junghans, in 1872. The couple had eleven children.
F: But what had begun so promisingly ended in disappointment. After five years as managing director, Paul Landenberger turned his back on Junghans, because....
M: ... his mother-in-law refused to allow him to become a partner in the firm. That, she reasoned, was a privilege confined to the sons of the founder, Erhard Junghans. Landenberger left – disappointed, but not discouraged.
Without further ado, he set up his own clock and watch factory with a business partner. However, conditions at the time were unfavourable; the economy was in crisis, the partner soon left, and the firm was at risk of bankruptcy. Landenberger obtained new capital through the good offices of some Hamburg merchants. From 1883, the firm changed its name to “Hamburg-Amerikanische Uhrenfabrik" – Hamburg American Clock Factory – H.A.U. for short.
F: An odd name, isn't it? But it takes two things into account: the fact that the firm had its headquarters in Hamburg, and the US-style manufacturing process. But production was still based in dear old Schramberg.
M: The firm produced all kinds of clocks: alarm clocks, table clocks, wall clocks and time switches. H.A.U. adopted a badge of two crossed arrows. In 1930, the business merged with the Gustav Becker clock factory in Silesia and finally with the Junghans factory. The company was renamed once again, this time to "Uhrenfabriken Gebrüder Junghans AG" – Junghans Brothers Clock Factories P.L.C.
F: The second large-scale oil painting shows Frida Landenberger, née Junghans. She and Paul Landenberger were married for 65 years. Truly, for better or for worse.
Foto: © Stadtmuseum Schramberg