About Ruhla

Ruhla and its industrial development

A brief overview of Ruhla, its industrial development and the region.

The town of Ruhla

The city of Ruhla is located in the west of Thuringia on the northern edge of the Thuringian Forest. Together with the districts Thal and Kittelsthal inhabit nearly 6,000 people the state recognized leisure town in the Wartburg district. Ruhla is nestled in the narrow Erbstrom valley which opens to the north and forms the entrance to the community Wutha-Farnroda and the city of Eisenach. Immediately on the southern edge of Ruhla runs the famous Rennsteig way on the top of the Thuringian Forest. Due to its scenic location and the variety of tourist offer, the mountain town is very popular with hikers and recreation seekers. The consistent orientation of urban development on tourism since the mid-nineties invites many visitors to enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains of the area. Based on the industrial tradition, Ruhla also carefully develops local SMEs.

The industrial rise

From the Middle Ages to the mid 18th century in Ruhla and the neighboring villages, the iron craft's industrially relevant. From this it stands out above all the specialization of blade or knife forging, what gave the citizens tolerable revenue until the end of this production branch.
The invention of fake sea foam for the manufacture of pipes took place a significant economic boom and a strong industrialization by the end of the 19th century. The tobacco pipes industry also formed the basis for the next major era: the production of metal fittings and other similar products, especially in small business enterprises.
Via a technological forerunner the company Gebrüder Thiel GmbH succeeded to develop its own pocket watch and for series production in the late 19th century. The technologically advanced production enabled a favorable market price, which resulted that also in overseas especially products from Central Germany were purchased.
This continuous development was neither interrupted significantly by the first nor the second world war. The production was changed in accordance with the directives to time fuses which continued this industry.

Progress in GDR times and today

Following the resumption of civilian production of timepiece products and machine tools in 1946 under the leadership of Precision Machinery PLC of the Soviet Union and the transfer into state-owned property in 1952 as "VEB Uhren- und Maschinenfabrik Ruhla" (nationally-owned company Watch- and Machinefactory Ruhla) began a rapid mechanization of production facilities. So the first own quartz wrist watch was developed until the mid-seventies – "Ruhla Quartz", when writing on a variety of products, was born. This also caused the reassignment to the "VEB Kombinat Mikroelektronik" (state combine Microelectronics).

There was also a substantial market for the future: in the mid-twenties the first universal milling machine was presented, which was manufactured by the in 1910 divested machine tools shop of the Company Thiel. It was the early foundation for the development of highly automated production lines, and finally for a new building of the machine factory in the neighboring town Seebach in the early seventies. Approximately 2,000 people were therefore resettled.
As a second essential and formative large company in this time the "VEB Fahrzeugelektrik Ruhla" (nationally-owned company Vehicle Electrics Ruhla) has to be mentioned. Here alternators, starters, headlights and signaling devices were produced from 1947, which came in the whole of Europe to use: in addition to the Wartburg from Eisenach and the Trabant from Zwickau also at Volkswagen, Citroën and Renault. Parallel to these developments, many smaller and medium-sized suppliers arose that partially exist still today.

From the former clock factory, today "Gardé Uhren- und Feinmechanik Ruhla GmbH" (Gardé Watches and Precision Engineering Ruhla Ltd.) emerged, holding the tradition of Ruhla's watchmaking alive. The machine tool production, in the form of dynamic, multiaxial universal milling machines in gantry or traveling column design with spindle or linear actuator is carried out by the company "Deckel Maho Seebach GmbH", a company of the DMG Mori AG (PLC) in Bielefeld. The production of electronic components for the automotive industry was continued, even if not directly in Ruhla, but in neighboring Eisenach. Here the companies "Truck-Lite Europe GmbH" (Ltd.) and "Robert Bosch Fahrzeugelektrik Eisenach GmbH" (R. B. Vehicle Electrics Eisenach Ltd.) continuing the tradition of Ruhla's industry successfully.