History - About us - About us - Concept Wiesner-Hager
back

A considerable piece of Upper Austrian economic and industrial history

Development of Wiesner-Hager Möbel GmbH

Wiesner-Hager was founded by Josef Wiesner as a carpentry business in 1849. In the year 1921 Rudolf Wiesner and Sebastian Hager took over their father’s business, which was at that time purely a carpentry and construction company. With the restructuring of part of the construction business into a furniture manufacture the two lay the cornerstone for a second branch of the business.

In the beginning the focus was on simple armchairs and collapsible garden furniture. Special productions, such as complete bedrooms or living rooms, were manufactured in the furniture plant.

An initial highlight in Wiesner-Hager history was the export of garden furniture to England in the 1920s. All told the furniture delivered garnered a total revenue of over 300,000 Schillings – an unbelievable figure for a company of this size at the time. The furniture could also be found as deck chairs on passenger ships and in the English colonies, above all in India.

The 1920s and 1930s
In 1928 over 150 employees were already working in armchair production. By 1930 the number had grown to 275.

The Great Depression in 1930 brought the business with England to an abrupt end. For Wiesner-Hager and many others the period thereafter was a genuine matter of survival. From 1935 things started to slowly but surely pick up again. An important market emerged: New cinemas were being built and furnished. One order from Linz was to become a milestone for Wiesner-Hager: Winning the tender to furnish the Kolosseum cinema. This order established the long tradition in furnishing cinemas. Also in the year 1935 the contract was secured for a further prestigious project: The seating for the Festival Hall in Salzburg built by Prof Clemens Holzmeister. The great hall was furnished with 1,200 chairs.

The difficult war years and the reconstruction
At the beginning of World War II profits were initially still being made by supplying to the armed forces. From 1939 the situation worsened from year to year, due to an increasing shortage of materials and manpower. It was largely women, who held the company aloft between 1940 and 1945, until the end of the war when it was definitively closed for a few months.

Despite all of the adversities of the post war years a significant production volume of 129,000 units was already achieved in the year 1946 (in part armchairs, the percentage of tables was still rather low). In subsequent years it was possible to time and again further increase the output: In the year 1950, the 200,000 limit was transcended and five years later, in 1955, 600 employees were already producing over 400,000 units per year. 

The 1960s and 1970s
Although growth in the 60s had slowed down compared to the reconstruction years Wiesner-Hager was able to continue its success: Every year the Altheim production site was producing over 500,000 units and in the mid 1960s the company was one of Europe’s three largest seating furniture producers. No. 1 in Austria!

However, Wiesner-Hager is not only distinguished by major prestigious projects – such as Brucknerhaus Linz in 1973 – but also by the development of new products. Between 1974 and 1977 Altheim brought home the “Armchair of the Year”, the State award for furniture, a total of three times. In addition to quality, product design frequently played an increasingly more important role.

The impacts of the second oil crisis of 1979 lead to a stagnation of the Austrian economy and also initiated a difficult phase of downswing and consolidation for Wiesner-Hager. The generalist strategy of the 60s and 70s had reached its Limits.

A new era Begins
1984 is characterised as the start of the strategic reorientation of the Wiesner-Hager furniture branch when Markus Wiesner, Rudolf Wiesner’s son, joined the company. Important decisions sounded the bell for a phase of restructuring and increased efficiency. There was a withdrawal from the business fields of cinema, theatre and restaurants. The full concentration was now on furnishing offices and properties.

This fulfilled the requirements for operating internationally, which had been defined as a clear goal. Systematic internationalisation has been promoted since the 1990s: With its own distribution companies in important European countries and license partnerships in Japan and the USA. In 1995 a production plant was also erected in the Czech Republic in addition to the main location in Altheim.

Wiesner-Hager in the new Millennium
Due to major changes in the working world and the enormous upheavals in the office and properties branch, the furniture offering has been expanded since the noughties to include the services of office consulting and interior design: Concept orientation has become a key success factor. With an export quota of 50% Wiesner-Hager is currently one of the most renowned companies in the furniture branch in Europe.

Sign up for our newsletter!

Stay informed about our best projects, product innovations and latest trends!!