THE ABANDONED FACTORY IN GERMANY
‘Presswerk Wilhelmsthal’ is part of the ‘Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke’ or ‘VDM’. The factory had several mechanical and hydraulic metal presses. Most of the machines were water driven, the factory hall was built over the river for this purpose.
The enterprise was a manufacturer of non-ferrous metals with a large portfolio of semi-finished products and alloys. Initially the focus was on copper and brass, but later aluminum, stainless steel and nickel alloys gained importance. The company’s headquarters were in Frankfurt am Main for many years.
During the years of the Third Reich, production was focused on materials for the arms industry. By the end of the war, production was in almost complete ruin. Nevertheless, in only a few years after the end of the Second World War, VDM had risen to become one of the largest manufacturers of input, semi-finished and finished products made from ferronickel metals. In the mid-sixties, however, the company steadily lost market share in many of its significant markets, such as production of copper and brass tubes, copper sheet and aluminum rolled products.
The economic downturn led to job losses and the shutdown of production sites like this press shop. Today, the VDM Metals Group is an internationally leading producer and distributor of nickel, cobalt and zirconium alloys in addition to special alloys. I visited the old ‘Presswerk Wilhelmsthal’ in 2019.