This is a translated section from the papers of Werner Dietel about the Dietel family and white lead paint factory history.
This narrative starts with Gustav Dietel, the original founder of the Eisenach branch of the Dietel family. He was born April 7, 1796 at castle Osterstein zu Gera, Thueringen. He was the third son of Salomon Friedrich Dietel, who at the time was the administrator of the Duke of Reuss-Plauischen estate. Gustav Dietel's mother was Wilhelmine Sophie Caroline Gruner.
His father came from a well respected peasant family from the Erzgebirge (a mountain region), which is on the southern border of the German state Saxony and the Czech republic. The oldest ancestor known is a peasant Caspar Dietel born around 1575, living in the villages Friedebach, Dittmansdorf and Schoenefeld. All in the Erzgebirg region.
Gustav's mother was the daughter of the minister Erdmann Rudolph Gruner. The Gruner's were an old Bookstore family who lived in Coburg for a long time.
Gustav had six brothers and two sisters of which three died as children. Very little is known about the childhood of Gustav. It is assumed that he attended school in Gera. His father died on the 20th of August 1816 and his mother received 800 Thaler from the Duke to help her in supporting the family. From 1813 to 1817 he was an apprentice in a mercantile business. From 1818 to 1820 he worked as a salesman in the paint business in Eisenach, Thüringen. He entered into a partnership with Johann Bohr & Son 1821 (paints). He married the daughter of Johann Bohr, Wilhelmine Bohr on August 23, 1822 in Eisenach.
In 1831, Gustav's father-in-law left the partnership and Gustav became the sole owner of the paint business.
Beginning of Dietel/Wechmar White Lead Factory
On March 31, 1831 Gustav informed all his customers that he combined his business with Gottfied Wechmar White lead and vinegar factory, under the named Dietel & Wechmar.
Around 1835, the company experienced business difficulties and Gustav Dietel bought his partner out and became sole owner. Shortly afterwards he moved the factory to the east of Eisenach to a small place called Fischbach. Eventually the area was called the Dietel-meadow.
This happened approximately in 1837. In 1855, the city of Eisenach permitted him to build a mill at the river to improve the supply of water he needed for the white lead fabrication. From the beginning the major item produced was white lead used basically as a weather resistant in paints used for the outside. It was of high quality and had an excellent market.
The small amount of personal information about our great-grandfather is due to his granddaughter Hedwig Schmiedtgen, who knew him when she was a child.
She describes Gustav as a slight man with glasses who was nice to everyone, especially to his grandchildren. The great grandmother was tall and slim. Towards her grandchildren she was reserved, especially at times when they came into the house dirty because of play. "Please do not touch me" was a favorite saying of hers. Gustav and later his son loved to garden. The great grandfather was much liked by everybody. His life was dedicated to his family and to the factory. Of his children, Constanze Caroline died when she was 10 years old on the 10th of January, 1838 from typhus. His son Herman who was already in the business as an excellent employee died at the age of 30 years old on Dec. 6th, 1852. This loss was a great personal and business disaster for the great grandfather.
After his second son Otto took part in running the business. His oldest daughter, Luise stayed single and took care of both parents until their deaths. His second daughter Elise married an eye doctor, Dr. Karl Klueber, with whom she went to American for a while and who later was a partner in the company. His youngest daughter, Bertha Corllie
married a jurist Eduard Paulssen in Eisenach.
In 1866, Gustav Dietel suffered a stroke. He was paralyzed on one side. His daughter Luise was his caretaker. He died March 27, 1869 in his 73rd year. After his death, it was announced that the company would be run by his son Otto and son-in-law, Dr. Karl Klueber and his wife. Klueber and his wife went to (photocopy did now last sentence).
In his testament, Gustav indicated that the majority of his capital was brought into the marriage by his wife.
Otto Wilhelm Dietel born in Eisenach in 1831, was baptized on April 14, 1831, in a Lutheran ritual. Otto volunteered for military service but was bought out from the service after 20 months.
During his military service, our grandfather was often a visitor in the house of Johann Friedrich Haberfeld, who was an acquaintance of the parents. in February 1857 he got engaged to the younger Haberfeld daughter, Mathilde. Shortly after, they were married.
Grandmother Dietel always assumed that Hermann Dietel would get married to her. After Hermann died, she transferred her affection towards the grandfather and she never regretted it. Grandma Dietel is in our memory as a strong, assertive old lady. In her youth, she was slim and very pretty.
The grandfather and grandmother had 6 children of which 3 died young. Grandmother was disappointed that her first born were daughters and not sons. The oldest daughter, Hedwig, was born Sept. 10th 1858. She married Oct. 20th, 1859, to technician Otto Schmiedtgen. Her sister, Franziska, was born Oct. 3, 1859. The oldest son was named after the great grandfather Gustav on July 6, 1861. He died Dec. 5th, 1872 after a fall. His younger brother, Ernst Ricard, was born Sept. 22, 1864. The two youngest siblings were twins born April 15th, 1872. One of them died with out being baptized half an hour after birth. A girl, Luise Julie Elizabeth, was a strong baby, blond and blue-eyed. However she died on July 30th 1872.
After the death of the great grandfather, the siblings Luise Dietel and Bertha Paulssen sold their portions of the business to their brother Otto Dietel and sister Elise Klueber. From this point on the company was led by Otto Dietel together with Karl Klueber.
July 1, 1877, Karl Klueber sold his share and Otto Dietel became the sole owner of the company.
The whole burden and responsibility for the company was on his shoulders. It led in the coming years to more work than he could handle. He suffered a small stroke in his office and died suddenly after a second stroke n on April 10, 1884, at age 54. A former employee whom he valued very much ran the business.
My father, Ernst Dietel, who was supposed to be the successor in the business was still an apprentice at the time. The grandfather did not leave a last will and our uncle Mahr determined a total estate of $558,424 marks. The estate was divided up into 4 equal portions for my grandmother, our father, and both of his sisters, Hedwig and Franziska. The two sisters were paid off at that time.
Ernst Richard Dietel was born in Eisenach, Germany on Sept. 22, 1864. He was baptized as a Lutheran. Very little is known about his schooling or education and apprenticeship in Erfurt. After the death of his father he remained an apprentice until July 1884. He eventually joined the company He married Elisbeth Baader. His sister Franziska married Isidor Krausse on Dec. 28th, 1884 in Eisenach. The marriage of Ernst Richard Dietel was opposed strongly by the grandmother sine our mother was Catholic and almost a year older than our father.
July 1, 1890, he took over complete control of the company. Around 1890, Grandmother Dietel moved to a separate place in Eisenach to give the young couple their own space. During the summer 1903, Grandmother Dietel suffered a stroke and Aunt Schmeidtgen took care of her. In 1904, she suffered a second stroke and July 20th she died of a heart problem in the presence of our father.
Other developments in the business climate after the grandfather's death showed the profitable time for the company was gone. During World War I, the company came to a total standstill since lead nor gel was available. After the war, fabrication resumed slowly. At this time my brother, Walter, returned from an apprenticeship as a druggist to the company. 1920 the ownership of the company was changed. Father retained 50 percent and the other 50 percent was divided into equal portions to my sister Elisabeth Brueckner, and brothers Walter, Werner, and Siegfried Dietel.
In the year 1920, for a short time business improved. When I was released in May 1920, from the Navy I joined the company. A new invention, which was used in the fabrication turned out to have many problems. A company that we worked with went bankrupt and pushed us into bankruptcy also.
The company existed 142 years and was owned or 90 years by the Dietel family. We lost everything at that time. The Dietel Meadow was purchased by the city of Eisenach during the bankruptcy proceedings and is still city property (this was written in the 1960s).
This was translated by Oswald F. Merz
I translated this from German March 2006. I tried to focus on the Dietel family. The manuscript has many details such as the relationships with the Bohr family, some of the financial business transactions and the history of distant relatives by marriage. These paragraphs I did not translate by are still available in the manuscript.
Retyped to put in digital format by Lisa Scheuplein, daughter of Elisabeth Helen Marie Dietel Scheuplein. You can contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.