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German History in Documents and Images
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Alfred Krupp’s Steel Works in Essen (1890)
The smelting process and the production of steel ingots weighing as much as 80 tons, as shown here, required a well-trained and disciplined workforce. The Krupp enterprise was founded by Friedrich Krupp (1787-1826), whose oldest son Alfred Krupp (1812-87) took over sole proprietorship in 1848. Krupp’s principal products were machinery and machine components made of high-quality cast steel: equipment for Germany’s expanding network of railroads (especially the seamless wheels); artillery for the Prussian military; and later, armored plating for the German navy. At the time of Alfred Krupp’s death in 1887, his firm employed more than 20,000 workers. As a speech included in this volume suggests, Krupp sought to provide his employees with every incentive to remain with his firm, including company pensions and subsidized housing. At the same time, he also adopted a “master of the house” attitude that brooked no opposition from his “dependents.” This 1890 woodcut is after a drawing by Emil Limmer.