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Imperial Warrant to the Court in Vienna: The Life of Gottlob Kemmner.

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Gottlob Kemmner was born on November 21, 1884 as the fifth of a total of eight children. His parents Christian Kemmner and Christiane Luise Gähr were farmers in Unterensingen. Just a few days after his birth, Gottlob was baptized on November 26th. (Evangelische Kirche Unterensingen, 1917)

Unfortunately, I don't know much about his childhood. In general, there are only a few documents that provide information about Gottlob. However, my grandfather told me about his uncle, his mother's brother, that he was said to be a hard working man (Kemmner, 2019).

In his book, my grandfather writes about his uncle's activities: "Gottlob (...) worked for the Eisemann company in Stuttgart after his apprenticeship as a mechanic. Eisemann was a competitor to Bosch and also manufactured automotive electrical parts, including ignition devices for gasoline engines." (Kemmner, 2010)

1900 Bosch Werkstatt Arbeiten Magnetzünder
In 1900, workers manufacture magneto ignition devices at the competitor Bosch (photo: Bosch, 1900).

The Eisemann company was founded by Ernst Eisemann in the 1890s as an electrical installation company and initially manufactured phonographs, i.e. speaking machines. However, the company was more successful in the manufacture of magnets and spark plugs for the automotive industry. Eisemann is said to have been the market leader in this area in 1900. At the end of the 1920s, the company was bought by Bosch. (No Edison, o. J.)

"The Eisemann company supported Gottlob in his efforts to become self-employed. He was offered the opportunity to represent the company in Vienna, a challenge that he gladly accepted with great commitment" (Kemmner, 2010).

The official Eisemann repair workshop is presented in the Austrian Bicycle and Automobile Newspaper of February 25, 1913. "The workshop at Untere Viaduktgasse 8 [was] equipped with all modern machines and employed (...) 12 specialist mechanics under the reliable management of Mr. G. Kemmner, who for many years worked as workshop manager at (... ) Eisemann (...) in Stuttgart".

Gottlob Kemmner Österreichische Fahrrad- und Automobil-Zeitung Wien
On the top right, Gottlob is named as head of the Eisemann workshop (Österreichische Fahrrad- und Automobil-Zeitung, 1913).

The business developed very well. Over time, he managed to become warrant to the Austrian imperial court. He is said to have found his way around at court with his top hat under his arm just as easily as with car engines and in his workshop” (Kemmner, 2010).

1908 Hoflieferanten Österreich Wien
A selection of the imperial and royal chamber suppliers around 1908. Chamber suppliers supplied the private apartments of the emperor or empress and were therefore ranked higher than the warrant to the imperial court. (Österreichs Illustrierte Zeitung, 1908)

Gottlob never married and had no children (Kemmner, 2019). However, my grandfather was told about a special lady friend from Hungary (Kemmner, 2019). Unfortunately, I do not know her name and since the two were not married, there is no documentation about it.

Gottlob can be found in the Vienna address book from 1912 to 1917 (Lehmann, 1912-1917). Although he goes by the name Gottlieb or Gottfried, he is also described as a mechanic. In 1912 he lived at first at Schaumburgergasse 1 (Lehmann, 1912).

In the Neues Wiener Tagblatt of November 28, 1912, he was looking for a capable magnet maker for the workshop at Grailichgasse 3 (p. 48).

"For the further expansion of his business, he brought in his brother Wilhelm, who was also a trained mechanic. Business flourished. The brothers decided to hire a businessman, Mr. Hossfeld, for the commercial area” (Kemmner, 2010).

Since I can't find his brother Wilhelm in the Vienna address book, I assume that Wilhelm and his family lived at Gottlob's place. That would also explain why Gottlob can be found at a new address just outside the city center as early as 1913. In 1913 and 1914 his address was Maxingstraße 30 (Lehmann, 1913;1914).

The large workshop also relocated to Untere Viaduktgasse 8 in 1913 (Österreichische Fahrrad- und Automobilzeitung, 1913). The address is right next to the old workshop, but seems to offer significantly more space.

In 1913, when Gottlob was 28 years old, his father suddenly died after a short illness (Kemmner, 2010).

Automobile Autos Bosch Einbauhalle 1907
Installation hall with automobiles from the competitor Bosch in 1925 (Bosch, 1925).

When his brother Wilhelm was drafted into the war in 1914, “Gottlob had to take on more work, he could not dare to rest. His condition deteriorated rapidly” (Kemmner, 2010). The doctors diagnosed Gottlob with laryngophthisis (Kemmner, 2010). Nevertheless, Gottlob worked hard (Kemmner, 2010). In 1915 he moved to Maxingstraße 60 (Lehmann, 1915). From 1916 he lived at Altgasse 17 in Vienna (Lehmann 1916;1917).

In 1916 the Eisemann workshop changed its legal representation (Allgemeine Automobilzeitung, 1916). In the Allgemeine Automobilzeitung on February 20, 1916 it says: "The management of the branch office [at Breitenfeldergasse No. 20] is in the experienced hands of G. Kemmner". Official information about Gottlob as the domestic representative of the Eisemann company can also be found in the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung, the central gazette for trade and commerce. (1916).

“Gottlob suffered from persistent illnesses more and more often, and he never took the time to recover. He suffered from hoarseness very frequently. He told his sister Marie that he would catch colds every time driving the cars to adjust their engines. At that time, the cars did not have a closed driver's cabine, so that the driver was directly exposed to wind and weather" (Kemmner, 2010).

Nowadays, laryngophthisis is now known as tuberculosis (Manus, 2022). Those affected often suffer from a weakened immune system (Manus, 2022), as probably did Gottlob, who was already battered by the constant driving of his automobiles. He came back to Unterensingen and his condition seemed to improve. But suddenly Gottlob got a strong fever. My grandfather was told that the fever was so high that Gottlob was illusional and lost his senses. Only four years after his father, Gottlob died of tuberculosis on March 10, 1917 at the age of only 32. (Kemmner, 2010)

The date of his burial is found in the Lutheran church book of Unterensingen: He was buried three days after his death in the graveyard in Unterensingen (Evangelische Kirche Unterensingen, 1917).

“The only things that remained from Gottlob were two suitcases with personal belongings and an obituary from the Eisemann company. In the 1930s, Robert Bosch GmbH took over the Eisemann company" (Kemmner, 2010).

Elsewhere it is described: "Kemmner was one of the first experts in his field and had such an amiable, conservative Swabian manner in traffic that he captivated everyone with it. He was usually just called 'our Schwob'" (referring to where he was born) (Allgemeine Automobil Zeitung, 1917, S. 31).

About half a year after his death, his domestic company representation was deleted from the central gazette for trade and commerce (Amtsblatt zur Wiener Zeitung, 1917).


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