The History of Eternit
From Idea to Worldwide Success
In 1894, Ludwig Hatschek had the idea for a product that would change the construction industry. He began working on a construction material that would be lighter than brick, less expensive than slate and better than sheet metal. His style of research corresponded to the pioneering spirit of the end of the 19th century and his meticulousness and effort was soon rewarded.
A special combination of fibers, cement, pulp, air and water provided him with his breakthrough in 1900. He called the world's first industrially created construction material "Eternit" (derived from the Latin term "aeternus", which means "eternal") and would revolutionize the world. The material quickly found adherents thanks to the special physical construction characteristics of the Eternit slates, such as: resistance to frost, fire and its light weight.
The First Worldwide Industrially Manufactured Material:
Created in Austria for the Entire World
In June of 1901 Ludwig Hatschek applied for a patent on his production procedure. The pioneer quickly gained world fame and international success. As early as 1903, factories existed in numerous European countries, in Russia and overseas and Ludwig Hatschek's discovery continues to be used in today's world.
The Thinnest Cement Slates in the World:
from Construction Material to Iconic Material
The 1960s saw a tremendous construction boom. Numerous roof landscapes bear the Eternit signature and entire cities have been "clothed" with the material. Eternit quickly evolved from a mere construction material to a material for a culture, an iconic material so to say, and the architecture scene took notice of the company. Inspired by the construction possibilities, alliances were formed with major Austrian architects like Clemens Holzmeister, Mauriz Balzarek or Otto Wagner. At the international level, Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto were the star architects who dominated modern construction culture and made use of Eternit in their designs.
Some of the witnesses of the period form a part of Eternit's success story and include: the Expo Pavilion in New York by Gustav Peichl, the Kirche am Steinhof in Vienna by Otto Wagner, the Ortsstockhaus in Braunwald by Hans Leuzinger and the Maison Blanche in La Chaux-de-Fonds by Le Corbusier.