History of the Merkelfabrik

The "Old Merkel Factory" becomes the new headquarters of imk automotive

The history of imk at a glance - from 2002 to today.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the feudal landowner and feudal judge of Altenhain, Johann August Hößler, commissioned the Altenhain master builder Christian Friedrich Uhlig to build a water-powered spinning mill.

This cotton machine spinning mill, also called "Hößlersche Spinnmühle", was built by the master builder in 1821. To operate the spinning mill, a tributary of the village stream was dammed in ponds. There was a water wheel in the basement of the building, and from the wheel chamber the power was transmitted through holes in the floors directly to the spinning machines on the upper floors.

In 1880, Friedrich Eduard Lohr founded a company and converted the Untere Spinnmühle into a furniture factory by 1890. The company manufactured frames for chairs, armchairs, sofas and also tables. Ernst Merkel, Eduard Lohr's son-in-law, took over the factory a short time later.

His sons Martin and Konrad then continued to run the furniture factory and it remained in the hands of the Merkel family until it was expropriated in 1973. From 1960, the Ernst Merkel KG company was semi-public, and in 1973 it was transformed into a "Volkseigene Betrieb", VEB Gestellbau.

The Treuhand took over the factory in 1990, production had to be stopped and the factory shut down. The Merkel family got their property back in 1994; in October 2000, the community of heirs sold the factory complex to the Chemnitz-based GIB GmbH. The company planned to renovate and convert the cultural monument to residential use.

The land with the factory building had been for sale since 2002.

Letterhead and historical company logo from the archives of the "Adelsberger" local newspaper

The Merkelfabrik cultural monument

The building is listed as a cultural monument in accordance with §2 of the Saxon Monument Protection Act (SächsDSchG). The public interest in this object is based on its significance in terms of urban history, architectural history and industrial history.

The lower spinning mill is one of the last remaining earlier spinning mills built by the Saxon church architect Christian Friedrich Uhlig (1774-1848). It is thus a testimony to Saxony's early industrial buildings. It is already marked on the topographical map of 1821. The building was used for furniture production from 1895 as the Merkel furniture frame factory. Production was not discontinued until 1990.

The 4×9-axis building impressively demonstrates the purposeful and well-proportioned architectural language of the master builder C.F. Uhlig. The high mansard roof places the building in the tradition of baroque town houses. The facades of the Spinnmühle were finished with sand-coloured smooth plaster. The use of presumably coloured Hilbersdorf porphyry tuff for window jambs and especially for the ornamental entrances, designed with semi-sculptural festoons above a central medallion, makes the local use of building materials just as clear as in the use of local phyllite stone mixed with Hilbersdorf porphyry as masonry stone for the façade.