A glimpse into the the early days of brick making at Wienerberger in Vienna.
A glimpse into the the early days of brick making at Wienerberger in Vienna.
Images depicting early photos of Wienerberger's Plant and Factory in the early 20th century.

Our History

Did you know that the Wienerberger story began in Austria over 200 years ago?

We’ve come a long way since then. Here’s a timeline showing how Wienerberger has led the way as a building material solutions manufacturer since those early days in Vienna, to their present day growth and development in the UK. 

  • Early History in Austria

Early History in Austria

 

1819 - 29 year old Alois Miesbach acquired kilns in Miedling as he was convinced that demand for bricks in Vienna will rise during the coming years. He bought several plots of land with rich clay reserves on Wienerberg.

1829 – 18 year old Heinrich Drasche, nephew of Alois Miesbach, started working for the company.

1845 - Wienerberger’s product range now included water-supply and drainage pipes. The company now had 37 kilns and was producing 50 million bricks a year, making them the biggest brick producer in Europe with an annual revenue equivalent to 11 million pounds.

1846 – Miesbach leased the Wiener Neustädter Canal, his own waterway to transport finished bricks and coal needed for production.

1850s – Wienerberger expanded into ceramic art and establishes a terracotta factory in Inzersdorf.

1857 – Alois Miesbach died, Heinrich Drasche took over as owner of Wienerberger as is known as the  “brick baron“.

1860 – Drasche bought the patent for the continous kiln, invented by Friedrich Hoffman, making continous brick production possible for the first time.

1867 – Emperor Franz Josef took down Vienna’s fortress like walls so the city can expand. Drasche hired more and more brick workers and introduced a piecework scheme to keep up with brick demand.

1869 – Wienerberger was listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange and Heinrich Drasche sold his brickworks to a consortium of banks.

1882 – Brick consumption peaked with 330 million units used that year, most of them manufactured by Wienerberger. Drasche established Wienerberger headquarters in the grand “Heinrichshof“, in central Vienna.

1910 - A period of heavy investment began, the ceramics factory was enlarged to increase tile production and modern machinery was purchased for the brick works to introduce state-of-the-art production methods. 

1914 - The outbreak of the war in 1914 sent the construction industry into a slump. Numerous construction projects were suspended and two thirds of the workers were drafted into the army.

1921 – Wienerberger’s first football team, the Worker’s Sports Association (ASV) was founded. The club is still active today as SV Wienerberger.

1945 - Plants on the Wienerberg were destroyed in World War II aerial attacks.

1955 – Wienerberger produced a record amount of bricks to help reconstruct Vienna after World War II. For the first time in their history, the brick works produced more than 199 million bricks per year.

1957 - Brick production was still a seasonal business and strongly dependent on weather conditions. Long cold and wet periods had the potential to bring production to a standstill. The situation began to change toward the end of the 1950s with the introduction of artificial drying facilities, which permitted a transition to year-round production, independent of weather conditions. The factory in Vösendorf was the first to be converted in 1957.

1960 - Faced with unprecedented demand for its products, Wienerberger built new brick plants and subsequently converted its existing plants step by step to full-year operation. The plants were upgraded and production processes were automated through the use of modern machinery. This meant that no more than three workers were needed to produce one million bricks (compared to 10 in the 1950s). In 1964 the modernization of the plants was completed.

1966 - The company acquired Wiener Ziegelwerke AG, a move which enabled Wienerberger to increase its share in Austrian brick production to almost 25%.

1969 - Wienerberger Leichtbeton Baustoffgesellschaft was founded, as Wienerberger strived to gain a foothold in the new field of prefabricated houses. Moreover, Wienerberger acquired a 50% stake in Bramac Dachstein GesmbH. These acquisitions were part of the company's strategy of diversification.

1971 - The last circular kiln operating in Vienna was closed down. The City of Vienna bought large plots of land on Wienerberg, which were first used as a landfill site and later converted into a residential and recreational area. As the brick works on Wienerberger were closed, new plants were built and existing ones enlarged, for instance in Baden near Vienna.

1986 -  The internationalisation and expansion of Wienerberger began through acquisition of the Oltmann Group in Germany, a major manufacturer of building materials, producing mainly bricks and pipes in Germany and France.

  • Our History in the UK

Our History in the UK

2001 – Wienerberger enters UK market trading as Terca UK through the acquisition of Opitroc brick division in Northern Europe.

2004 – Wienerberger acquires Thebrickbusiness, with nine UK plants. Thebrickbusiness was founded in 2002 through the merger of Ambion Brick and Chelwood Brick

2005 – Wienerberger enters the UK roof tile market.

2007 – Wienerberger acquires Baggeridge Brick, strengthening their prescence in the UK market with five production sites and extensive raw material reserves.

2008 – Wienerberger invests in roof tile manufacturing with the acquistion of majority stake in Sandtoft UK. It is the largest independent roof tile producer in the UK with an established and growing brand in clay, concrete and slate roofing systems and four roof tile plants in Northern England.

2008 – Wienerberger launches the Porotherm clay block walling system in the UK.

2014 – Wienerberger acquires the Keymer brand of premium handmade clay roof tiles. Keymer is one of the oldest operational roofing manufacturers in the world, with a heritage dating back to 1588.

2019 - Wienerberger acquires BPD Holdings Ltd to enhance the company's roof offering and deliver specialist building products.