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AEG transformer factory Oberschöneweide

AEG transformer factory Oberschöneweide

The cradle of Elektropolis Berlin

The banks of the Spree in Berlin's Oberschöneweide district were overrun at the end of the nineteenth century by workshops that mainly focused on the electronics industry.

The first seed was planted in 1897 by the Kraftwerk Oberspree, Germany's first three-phase power station.

Lightning bolts

The lightning bolts that adorn the façade panels of the protected monument still testify today to the rampant belief in electricity.

Until then, steam engines powered trains and factories and gas lanterns lit the streets. Electricity changed that. From then on, electric motors powered engines and locomotives and the cafés and theaters on Alexanderplatz bathed in electric light. The electrical industry turned Berlin into a European metropolis, the 'Elektropolis' Berlin.

Rathenau Halls

The power station itself did not last too long. It was deactivated as early as 1933, and the Kabelwerke Oberspree used parts of the building. That company specialized in producing pipes and power cables and was led by Erich Rathenau, the youngest son of AEG founder Emil Rathenau.

It was not the only factory that AEG set up there. On the corner of Wilhelminenhofstraße and Edisonstraße, AEG built the Rathenau Halls, an assembly hall for transformers.

Lamp factory

Until 1930, the industrial estate was further expanded with workshops and a lamp factory, buildings characterized by their yellow brick facades. After the German division due to the Second World War, the factory was located in the GDR.

The companies in the GDR promptly changed into Volkseigener Betriebe (VEBs), or state-run enterprises. This came to an end with the Fall of the Berlin Wall. AEG took over part of the production again until the company was dissolved in 1996.

The industrial relics are being revived today. The Rathenau Halls are being converted into office space and catering. Other workshops have housed the University of Technology and Science for about ten years.

Today, the Schöneweide Industry Salon is located in a former workshop for the transformer factory. The visitors center aims to tell the history of the former industrial estate through exhibitions and guided tours.

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