Companies, organizations and mines in the mining industry

Industrialization in the Western industrial nations was directly connected to the availability of raw materials within national borders. From the middle of the 19th century, hard-coal mining became one of the leading sectors in the national economies. It came to have greater importance than the traditional ore-mining industry, which had occupied this position in earlier centuries. Because of the large investment of capital required by industrialized mines in the context of the planning and production conditions for large-scale operations, a characteristic partnership between the coal and the smelting industry developed from the second half of the 19th century. The vertical integration of large companies led to the development of a specific heavy industry structure. Its leading role within the national economies made it a key focus of attention for social and economic policy; it is therefore a major research area for economic and business history today. The central focus here is on the concept of industrial relations in the mining industry. This is about diverse and complex social relations between the groups and individuals involved in production, but primarily about the relationships between management and employees (or their representatives). Due to the conflicting interests that developed in the context of the industrial/capitalist system, these relationships characterize the crucial line of conflict in the production process.


Research projects

Absatzorganisation des Rheinisch-Westfälischen Kohlen-Syndikats

The sales organization of the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Kohlen-Syndikat (RWKS) on the national market, 1896-1933

The Rheinisch-Westfälisches Kohlen-Syndikat (RWKS), founded in 1893, exerted a decisive influence on the pricing and sales policies of the German coal market for several decades, until the cessation of its activities after the Second World War. An essential feature of the syndicate, the highest stage of a cartel, was the incorporation of its own sales organization. ...

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Deutsche Kohle und der niederländische Markt

German coal and the Dutch market

The Rheinisch-Westfälisches Kohlen-Syndikat (RWKS) was probably one of the most powerful cartel organizations. From its establishment in 1893 to its liquidation after the Second World War, it decisively shaped and structured outcomes in the energy sector – and not just those of the German mining industry. ...

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Geschichte der Westfälischen Berggewerkschaftskasse

History of the Westfälische Berggewerkschaftskasse

The Westfälische Berggewerkschaftskasse (WBK, Westphalian Miners’ Union Fund) came into being in 1864. Its functions included improving miners’ training and promoting research. The foundations of its teaching and research activities were laid with the takeover of the Bochumer Bergschule (Bochum School of Mining) and the geomagnetic station. ...

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Wiederaufstieg und Niedergang des Bergbaus in der Bundesrepublik

The recovery and decline of mining in the Federal Republic of Germany

Industrialization in the 19th century, the production of armaments in both world wars, and the rebuilding of Germany were all based on coal as a raw material. The coal and steel crisis at the end of the 1950s and in the mid-1970s put an end to the economic miracle, particularly that of the Ruhr coal-mining industry. ...

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Rheinisch-Westfälisches Kohlen-Syndikat und die Konzentration im Ruhrbergbau

The Rheinisch-Westfälisches Kohlen-Syndikat and concentration in the Ruhr mining industry

In 1893, 98 mines in the Ruhr united to form the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Kohlen-Syndikat (RWKS, Rhine-Westphalian Coal Syndicate), with the aim of avoiding unhealthy competition on the coal market in the future. In 1904, 98 % of the coal mined in the Ruhr was produced by the syndicate. ...

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Completed research projects

Unternehmensgeschichte des Bergwerks West

Business history of the West mine (Bergwerk West)

The West mine, owned by RAG Deutsche Steinkohle, was the last coal mine in operation on the left bank of the lower Rhine to cease production at the end of 2012, on the basis of the resolutions contained in the Steinkohlefinanzierungsgesetz (German Hard Coal Financing Act) of 2007. ...

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Das architektonische Werk der Architekten Fritz Schupp und Martin Kremmer

The architectural work of the architects Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer – examination of the documents left behind, and compilation of a catalogue of holdings

Fritz Schupp (1896-1974) and Martin Kremmer (1895-1945) are regarded today as the most important architects of 20th-century mining complexes in Germany. The architectural partnership was involved in the planning and execution of nearly every major industrial complex in the Ruhr, and had a substantial influence on industrial construction, particularly in the mining industry. ...

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Geschichte der Kokerei Kaiserstuhl

“On the way to the most modern coking plant in the world” – the history of the Kaiserstuhl coking plant in Dortmund

The construction of the new Kaiserstuhl III coking plant – celebrated in the 1990s as the most modern coking plant in the world, but decommissioned after eight years of operation due to economic conditions – is regarded as interesting because it marks the end point of various industrial/social, technological and economic lines of developments within the structural crisis of the Ruhr mining industry. ...

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Unternehmensgeschichte des Bergwerks Walsum

Business history of the Walsum mine

The Walsum mine was a relatively young mine which did not expand to any great extent until after the Second World War. The history of this coal mine began much earlier, however. Right from the beginning of his involvement in mining, the industrialist August Thyssen kept buying more and more mining claims on the right bank of the Rhine in the Hamborn area. ...

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Mining and politics

Mining and politics

Overall, the state of research on the history of German mining in the age of industrialization can be described as good. This applies particularly to the Ruhr, one of the most important coal districts in Germany at the time, and to its mining organizations. ...

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