43rd Conference 2023

Good, Durable, Safe. Quality and Safety Requirements of Technology in History
17 and 18 November 2023 in Schlatt, Switzerland

On 17 and 18 November 2023, the Iron Library hosted its 43rd History of Technology Conference. Around 50 participants from Europe and the USA made their way to Klostergut Paradies to discuss the role of quality and safety requirements in the history of technical developments.

In keeping with tradition, many of the guests gathered in the Rathauslaube on Thursday evening for a public lecture organized in collaboration with the Schaffhausen Vortragsgemeinschaft. Frank Dittmann's presentation on electricity and safety sparked a lively discussion that continued at the reception that followed in the Hotel Kronenhof.

On Friday morning, Georg Neuschütz, Vice President Business Development at GF Casting Solutions and board member of the Iron Library, welcomed the guests to the Klostergut and officially opened the conference.

Over the next two days, 14 speakers gave presentations on the many ways in which the seemingly abstract or modern concepts of safety and quality have played a role in technical development over many centuries: from the testing of technologies at the Saxon electoral court in the 16th century (Marius Mutz) to the development of functional prostheses during the First World War (Sybilla Nikolow) and the safety considerations in the Franco-British co-operation in the development of the Concorde (Guillaume de Syon). Sandra Schiller-Mauz from GF Piping Systems gave an insight into the role that safety plays in industrial product development in a global manufacturing company.

The excursion led to the newly renovated GF headquarters, where the guests were able to take a look behind the scenes of the GF Casting Solutions test laboratory and gain an insight into the Corporate Archives.

The conference dinner took place in the Pavillon im Park. In this festive setting, Friedrich Steinle was bid farewell as a member of the conference's Scientific Advisory Board - a role he had performed with great dedication for thirteen years. His successor on the advisory board is Matthias Heymann, Professor at the University of Aarhus, who played an active role in the conference with his summarizing remarks. Together with Gisela Hürlimann (TU Dresden) and Marcus Popplow (KIT Karlsruhe), the other members of the advisory board, he will help shape the content of the next conference.

It was a great pleasure for us to bring our guests together for two stimulating days at Klostergut Paradies. We would like to thank everyone who took part in the conference and contributed to the intensive dialogue and lively atmosphere.


Prof. Dr. Guillaume de Syon, Albright College, Reading PA, USA
Safety, Speed and New Standards: Building an Engineering Culture around the Concorde Prototypes

Dr. Frank Dittmann, Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany & Ludwig Bauer, M.A., Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
From the tensile test to X-ray apparatus and the electron microscope/EBCS: Quality assurance in industry and science using the example of iron metallurgy in Germany

Nicole Hesse, M.A., Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany
Safety and efficiency: Wind energy use in the field of tension between resource conditions and technological development since 1900

Prof. Dr. Matthias Heymann, Aarhus University, Denmark
Conclusion and closing remarks

Michael Just, Christian Graf & Frank Gensty, GF Casting Solutions, Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Guided tours of the research laboratory of GF Casting Solutions

Prof. Dr. Timo Leimbach, Aarhus University, Denmark
The silver bullet or how to kill the quality “beast”

PhD cand. Simon Lobach, Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID), Geneva, Switzerland
Environmental regulation and corporate off-shoring in the aluminium sector

Dr. Ing. habil. Bernd Lychatz, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany & Prof. Dr. Manfred Rasch, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany
From the tensile test to X-ray apparatus and the electron microscope/EBCS: Quality assurance in industry and science using the example of iron metallurgy in Germany

Dr. Marius Mutz, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, Germany
Quality, quantity and order. The testing of technology at the Electoral Court of Saxony and the establishment of a dynastic trademark

PD Dr. Sybilla Nikolow, University of Bielefeld, Germany
“To create a substitute limb suitable for work”. Demands on arm prosthetics in the First World War

Dr. Panagiotis Poulopoulos, Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
Optimising Operation, Reducing Risk: Aspects of Quality and Safety in the Development of the Steam Engine

PhD cand. Boyd Ruamcharoen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge MA, USA
Testing Environments: American Standards for Communications Technology in the Tropics in a Decolonizing World, 1950s–1980s

Sandra Schiller, GF Piping Systems, Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Safe is safe? Quality and safety standards in product development at GF Piping Systems

Ralf Spicker, M.A., Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
A history of knowledge of the experiments of A. Wöhler and their establishment as a method of materials testing

Claudia Sutter, M.A., Rechtsquellen SH, Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Control by experts? Legislation for the Schaffhausen blacksmiths in the Middle Ages and early modern period