37th History of Technology Conference 2014

"Products and Product Innovations"
November 14-15, 2014

On November 14 and 15, the Iron Library, Foundation of Georg Fischer Ltd., held the 37th Conference on the History of Technology (TGT) entitled "Products and Product Innovations". Approximately 60 participants from Switzerland and abroad attended this year’s TGT. The first day took place at the Training Center of Georg Fischer Piping Systems in Schaffhausen. Scarcely any other location could have offered a more suitable ambience for the theme of the conference, since it is under one roof with the production plant of GF Piping Systems. The speakers of the first day presented the topic from very different points of view: While Wolfgang König (Berlin) for example argued that the role of consume should be stressed more in "Product Innovations in a Consumer Society", Marco Boccadoro (Losone) emphasized the importance of "Research Cooperation with Universities" for innovations at GF Machining Solutions.

On the second day of the meeting, the participants gathered at the Klostergut Paradies which is the traditional conference venue. There, the thematic spectrum ranged from Kilian Elsasser’s (Lucerne) presentation about the "International History of the Rail Track System at Swiss Federal Railways" – aptly titled «Ta dam ta dam» – to Nabil El Barbari’s (Schaffhausen) speech on the topic "From Malleable Cast Iron Fittings to Plastic Fittings: A 150-year Success Story" – in line with the start of the production of malleable cast iron fittings in Schaffhausen exactly 150 years ago. The conference program was enriched by a tour of the plant of GF Piping Systems and the screening of Iwan Schumacher’s movie "Fire and Flame" about the Art Foundry St. Gallen.


Prof. Dr. Reinhold Bauer, University of Stuttgart, Germany
If the new is unsuccessful
Some thoughts on the failure of product innovations

Marco Boccadoro, GF Machining Solutions, Losone, Switzerland
Product innovations
Research cooperations with universities

Dr. Nabil El Barbari, GF Piping Systems, Schaffhausen, Switzerland
From malleable cast iron to plastic fitting
A 150-year success story

Kilian T. Elsasser, Museum Factory Lucerne, Switzerland
How product innovations for rails and sleepers have been put on track

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang König, TU Berlin, Germany
Product innovations in the consumer society

Pascale Meyer, National Museum Zurich, Switzerland
The "Contemporary Witnesses" Collection of the Swiss National Museum
From "emerging products" and "trend products

Prof. Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, former International Watch Museum, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
The product world in the mirror of its models

Prof. Dr. Marcus Popplow, TU Berlin, Germany
Final comment

Prof. Dr. Reinhold Reith, University of Salzburg, Austria
Product innovation and material culture from the late Middle Ages to industrialization

Dr. Anne Sudrow, Centre for Contemporary History Research Potsdam, Germany
Product line analysis: alternative merchandise knowledge and historical method

Sylvia Wölfel, TU Dresden, Germany
"The designer a universal genius?"
On the change in requirements in product development for the household since the 1970s


Further program

Film screening
"Feuer & Flamme." Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen: Film screening in the presence of Felix Lehner, founder of the Kunstgiesserei in the Sitterwerk, St. Gallen, and Iwan Schumacher, director and producer, Zurich

Tour of the plant of GF Piping Systems, Schaffhausen