39th History of Technology Conference 2016

Synthetic Materials. Synthetically Transforming the World
18 and 19 November 2016

On November 18 and 19, the Iron Library, Foundation of Georg Fischer Ltd., held the 39th Conference on the History of Technology (TGT) entitled "Synthetic Materials. Synthetically Transforming the World". 70 participants from Austria, Czechia, England, Germany and Switzerland attended this year’s TGT. The participants gathered at the Klostergut Paradies which is the traditional conference venue.

The thematic spectrum ranged from Ursula Klein's (Berlin) presentation about porcelain manufacture around 1800 to the question put by Günter Lattermann (Bayreuth): "Who invented it? Adolf Spitteler and the development of Galalith". Susan Mossman (London) gave a comprehensive overview of "Early plastics: perspectives 1850-1950".

Manfred Rasch (Duisburg) gave a talk about Karl Ziegler and his discovery of the polyethylene low pressure manufacturing process and Stefan Erzinger (Schaffhausen) emphasized the importance of environmental impact assessments of plastics at GF Piping Systems. The conference program was enriched by an impressive visit to the plastic injection moulding facility of Stamm AG in Hallau.


Joachim Breuninger, Museum of Transport Dresden, Germany
Plastic car bodies in the GDR - revolutionary or simply without alternative?

Stefan Erzinger, GF Piping Systems, Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Environmental aspects of plastics and their evaluation

Dr. Andreas Haka, University of Stuttgart, Germany
Visionary polymers "inspire": unrecognized material potentials and constructed characteristic values

Dr.-Ing. Silke Haps, TU Dortmund, Germany
"Plastic on steel = platinum". Diversification of Hoesch Ltd. in the 1960s: House "L 141" in Dortmund

Dr. Viola Hofmann, TU Dortmund, Germany
"Who else wants to be without their PERLON gear?" About the testing of new textile fibers

Prof. Dr. Ursula Klein, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany
Science and practical-technical expertise in porcelain production (around 1800)

Tanja C. Kleinwächter, TU Berlin, Germany
Ink, Indian ink, sealing wax - A contribution to colour materials prepared by art in the second half of the 18th century

Dr. Dr. h.c. Günter Lattermann, (former) University of Bayreuth, German Society for History of Plastics, Bayreuth, Germany
Who invented it? Adolf Spitteler and the development of Galalith

Julia Lütolf, Sitterwerk, St. Gallen, Germany
An exhibition of the Material Archive in the Sitterwerk St. Gallen

Dr. Susan Mossman, Science Museum, London, United Kingdom
Early plastics: perspectives 1850-1950

Prof. Dr. Manfred Rasch, ThyssenKrupp Corporate Archives, Duisburg, Germany
Karl Ziegler and the low-pressure polyethylene

Frederic Steinfeld, Goethe University Frankfurt a. M., Germany
The controllability of chance: The decision to establish laboratory research at the Bayer chemical company

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Vaupel, Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
How vanilla became artificial. A Flavourant in the Field of Conflict between Synthesis Strategies, Politics and Consumer Desires, 1876-2015

Alexander Wagner, University of Wuppertal, Germany
"Kunsttexte" on plastics: On hybrid forms between novel and non-fiction

Prof. Dr. Karin Zachmann, Technical University Munich, Germany
Final comment


Further program

Excursion to Stamm Ltd. Injection Moulding Technology, Hallau

Exhibition at the Material archives Sitterwerk St. Gallen