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The origins of the MAN Group can be traced back to two separate companies:
Following several mergers with other steel and engineering companies, St. Antony developed to become GHH Gutehoffnungshütte, Oberhausen, in 1873. Meanwhile in the south of Germany, Sander'sche Maschinen-Fabrik merged several times, giving rise to M.A.N. Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg.
In the area now covered by the city of Oberhausen, the first three ironworks of the Ruhr region were in competition during the 1790s: "St. Antony" (1758) of Osterfeld in the Vest Recklinghausen, part of the Electorate of Cologne, "Gute Hoffnung" (1782) of Sterkrade in the Prussian Duchy of Kleve and "Neu Essen" (1791) of Oberhausen-Lirich in Essen Abbey. At the time, the region was the intersection of three territories.
In order to be able to put the first charcoal powered blast furnace and the foundry into operation in the St. Antony ironworks on 18 October 1758, the Canon of Münster, Franz Ferdinand von Wenge, had to convince his countryman, the Archbishop of Cologne, as well as his officers with money, as well as six portions of Westphalian ham. They did not realise that they were laying the foundations for the coal and steel industry in the Ruhr and were making industrial world history.
Brilliant minds and international strategies wrote history in the middle of the 18th century with the development of the iron smelting. "Jacobi, F. Haniel, G. Haniel, Huyssen" (JHH) became the first smelting company in the Ruhr and the cradle of MAN AG.
From the St. Antony ironworks, the "Hüttengewerkschaft und Handlung Jacobi, Haniel & Huyssen" headquartered in Oberhausen-Sterkrade came into existence in 1808 as a result of a merger of the three ironworks in the Ruhr.
The start of industrialisation did not just bring enormous technological innovations, but also new company forms and occupations. It was no longer all about ore mining and the casting of simple iron goods, Hüttengewerkschaft had become an early mechanical engineer and had manufactured the first steam engine as early as 1819. One of the first German managers was the ironworks inspector Wilhelm Lueg, who took over the management of Hüttengewerkschaft in 1823. Under the strong management of Luegs, Hüttengewerkschaft became the largest employer of the time in the Ruhr: In forty years, the workforce increased from 200 to over 5,000 in the year 1903.
In the 19th century, the branch of MAN in southern Germany came into existence as a result of the foundation of two companies in Augsburg and Nuremberg.
In 1840, Ludwig Sander founded an engineering works in Augsburg, in which drive systems for the emerging textile industry were to be built. In 1844, Sander leased his company to Carl August Reichenbach and Carl Buz. At the same time, the name was changed to "C. Reichenbach'sche Maschinenfabrik". These two men laid the foundations for the company "Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Aktiengesellschaft" into which it was converted in 1857. Reichenbach introduced printing press construction. He was a technical specialist in the area of printing presses. Under the management of Carl Buz, steam boilers, steam engines, transmission systems, water turbines and pumps were produced.
The construction of the railway between Nuremberg and Fürth had led to several technological ideas and at the same time, English engineers were consulted. In 1841, the businessman from Nuremberg Johann Friedrich Klett opened the "Eisengießerei und Maschinenfabrik Klett & Comp." English engineers became partners for the technical management. Amongst other things, the factory manufactured iron castings for the Royal Bavarian Coach Factory in Nuremberg and for cast iron goods of all types, for example stairs, balconies, wells and simple technical components. Later, the company started building train coaches and thereby introduced a type series production at the Nuremberg plant. Other major milestones were, for example, the "Iron Grain Hall" and the "Glass Palace" in Munich. In 1873, Maschinenfabrik Klett & Comp. was renamed "Maschinenbau Actiengesellschaft, Nürnberg" and converted into a public limited company a few years later.
In 1898, the two Bavarian companies merged into "Vereinigte Maschinenfabrik Augsburg und Maschinenbaugesellschaft Nürnberg A.-G., Augsburg". In 1908, the name was then changed to "Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg, Augsburg" (M.A.N.).
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The plant in Augsburg has a long history.