How everything started!

 

The  story  started  in  the  year  1890,  when  Wilhelm  Wohleber was   born  in  Heidelberg.  In  1919  he  founded  a company for electrotechnical  articles,  settled  in  Vienna.

 

Herr Kommerzialrat Wilhelm Wohleber

But  already  soon,  1924, when the radio fever reached Europe, he thought  about an extension of his enterprise and   took   up   simple  radio  sets  and  parts  into  his program.   These  products    were  partially  bought  in addition   and   partially   produced   also   in   the  own workshop.  At  that  time  the  small company was called

 "RADIOLA".

The  products had different names, so for example: AERIOLA, AEROPHON, RADIOGLOBE, RADIOLA  and  RADIOPA.  Everything  that  the heart of the broadcast listener, as well as the  radio  amateur  handicraftsman  desired,  was  produced,  from  the simple detector apparatus up  to the most sensitive 8-tube-receiver. But the problems with the brand name and the product  names were foreseeable  (Radiola was in the USA  a name protected for RCA,  also  in  France  existed  a  manufacturer  of  the same name, Aeriola was the label name  of  Westinghouse).  Therefore  Wilhelm  Wohleber  had  to find rapidly a new brand name,  in  order to  escape  possible complaints with large companies. From 1927 on, the enterprise was called

"MINERVA",

although  in  Germany  the  company  Carl  Lochmann,  Berlin, held the same name. The company  Minerva  had became a fixed and all-side well-known enterprise of  the Austrian radio  industry  and  could  constantly  extend   the  product  range.  During  the  season 1929/30, 27  (!!!)  different  receivers,  attachments, mains connection devices, as well as loudspeakers  and  record  players  were  offered  to  the  customers, when the company celebrated  its  10-year anniversary!   

The  following  years  brought the economic crisis to Europe, also the radio industry was involved. Minerva set three marks, in order to be able to survive:

From 1933 on, only high-quality superhetreceivers were produced, the manufacturing of regenerativ receivers was deleted. Minerva attached increased attention to the development of the export markets.: Minerva tried to gain both in Central European countries a foothold, as well as to supply the middle and far east. Minerva was represented on exhibitions in Europe, Africa and even in China. Up to the year 1938 the export quota increased to40% of the total production.

The third and most promising step was the license production. Due to high protective duties within Europe, an export was not quite easy. Minerva operated therefore licenced productions in Italy (with AQUILA), inSwitzerland (with TITAN), in Poland (with ELEKTRIT) and in France. This concept was very successful and worked satisfactorily over decades.

The year 1938 brought a large cut into the development of the enterprise, when Austria and its whole industry were incorporated to the "German Reich". During the following war years, Minerva's resolution, to produce  superhetreceivers only, became unfaithful by the obligation for the production of the DKE (Deutscher Kleinempfänger) and VE (Volksempfänger).

Meanwhile the enterprise was merged increased into the arms supporting industry, civilian production was back-pushed. But the technical engineers in the radio laboratories were not inactive, because they had to develop each year new models for the licensees. With the year 1945 and the substantial bomb attacks on the capital Vienna, as well as the following invasion of the Soviet troops the final "out" for this old Viennese tradition enterprise seemed to be sealed. Main building bombed, tube stocks burned down, raw materials and machines kidnapped. Minerva was at the end!

The new start!

       Frau Elisabeth Wohleber

Herr Ing. Egon Mally

But after one year and sifting all the still available inventories, it succeeded to untiring structure work of Minerva to bring the first radio, manufactured in series, on the market. Rapidly it went again uphill. The further way of the enterprise was shaded by many problems and setbacks! In 1950 died Wilhelm Wohleber at the age of 60, scarcely after the 30-year company anniversary. His place entered his wife Elizabeth, Ingenieur Egon Mally stepped to get director. Into this time also fell the old trick of the largest European tube manufacturer to bring the company by maturity of outstanding accounts into its possession. But Minerva was able to settle the commitments and to refer the sections of other providers, necessary for production. The enterprise flourished and Minerva became a leader in technical development.

Left picture: Minerva 506 built in 1949   

was produced in great series 

Right picture:   Minerva 519  built in 1950

first integrated FM-receiver from Minerva

In 1950 were already built and exported the first FM- receivers in series. Also with the development and production of the first TV-sets, Minerva was located in the foremost rank.

The first Austrian transportable transistor radio came in 1957 on the market, it was a "Minerva"! This success history can be continued, also during the introduction of the colour television, Minerva was present with matured models. Then followed the first transistorized desk radio and so on! Up to the year 1968 Minerva was in Austria and abroad a term for quality and reliability at customers and service technicians.

At the 50-year company anniversary, in the year 1969, the possession of this traditional enterprise went to Max Grundig.

 This is the end of history.....

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