Precision mechanics has a long history in Frauenstein, stretching back to the organ building of Gottfried Silbermann and to the world-famous Glashütte watchmaking companies. The factories in the Erzgebirge region gave rise to specialists whose successors now apply skills such as precision, creativity and reliability to modern precision engineering.
Mechanical engineer Johannes Tittel founds a production facility for precision mechanical components in the defunct Schützenhaus inn in Frauenstein.
Johannes Tittel, himself working in Glashütte, in the Schlottwitz district, transfers general management to his brother Kurt. Dining room and ballroom are turned into machine rooms. The company produces components for radio and communication equipment as well as for the aviation industry.
The Red Army seizes nearly all machines and tools.
The few remaining employees produce hot plates, lighters, gardening tools and padlocks as well as drives and gears for a company in Mittweida that manufactures timer switches.
The company presents the “Tittel drill” at the Leipzig Trade Fair. It becomes a best seller.
The company produces supply parts for timer switch manufacturers. The idea comes about to develop an in-house timer switch.
Kurt Tittel draws up the initial drafts of his timer switches at the kitchen table. He develops timer switches with precision pendulums and 35 days of power reserve. One special version even has an astronomical dial that adjusts the cycle time during the course of the year in accordance with the change in the time of sunrise and sunset. It is used to control street lights.
Tittel timer switches are presented for the first time at the Leipzig Trade Fair.
In the ensuing years, the company exports up to 50 per cent of production annually to countries including Yugoslavia, Greece, India and Holland.
Johannes Tittel transfers the Frauenstein section of the company to his brother Kurt Tittel. In spite of repressive measures by the state, Kurt Tittel takes the risk of remaining independent.
The state forces the private entrepreneur to accept state involvement. Kurt Tittel KG is born.
The company produces primarily tariff timer switches for the energy industry and so attains a monopoly in the GDR.
Every night-storage heater in the GDR is fitted with a timer switch from Frauenstein. The advantage: it can be adjusted more flexibly than other timer switches. Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., a second customisable time frame can be selected – a unique technical feature in a time without microcomputers.
A new production building is constructed.
Construction takes place in the winter. Semi-state-owned companies receive no state quota for construction work, so Kurt Tittel takes advantage of the construction industry’s slow season.
The state forces the conversion of Kurt Tittel KG to public ownership. Kurt Tittel assumes management of the state-owned enterprise VEB Zeitschaltelektronik.
At the beginning of the 1970s, all semi-state-owned and private companies in the GDR with more than 20 employees are dissolved and converted into state-owned enterprises. Companies that had previously operated with a certain degree of market freedom are incorporated into state combines and consequently lose all of their flexibility.
In the course of the formation of combines, the company is integrated into VEB Uhrenwerk in Glashütte.
The interfaces between the timer switch manufacturer and the watch-making combine are minimal. Timer switches continue to be produced on a virtually self-sufficient basis in Frauenstein. The parent company handles accounting, materials management and development, but not sales.
Kurt Tittel retires.
After the reunification, Kurt Tittel, as former general partner of Kurt Tittel KG, submits the application for re-privatisation of the family business. Long negotiations ensue with the privatisation agency in Berlin.
In April 1992, the business is transferred back to family ownership. Tittel’s sons Johannes and Christian become co-equal managing directors of Tittel Feingerätetechnik KG.
With five decades of experience, nine employees and a dilapidated building stock, the search is on for survival concepts for precision manufacturing. The production and sale of timer switches continues to be a mainstay at first; over time, new precision components are added for various industries.
Opening salvo for the modernisation of the machinery and renovation of the premises: the first CNC automatic lathe goes into operation.
Soon the first CNC machine is joined by ten further computer-controlled automatic lathes, two milling centres and a parts cleaning machine.
Milestone in quality management: the company obtains ISO 9002 certification for the first time.
The company receives support from Professor Priebsch from the Mittweida University of Applied Sciences.
Tittel KG introduces a production planning and control system.
The re-structuring promoted by Christian Tittel brings about greater flexibility and transparency and lays the groundwork for lean management structures.
The automatic lathe shop and storage areas are expanded.
Tittel Feingerätetechnik KG takes part in the Hannover Messe trade fair for the first time.
Re-incorporation as Tittel Feingerätetechnik GmbH & Co. KG
An 800 m2 production hall is opened.
From now on, the machines operate as a network. In addition to a large production floor, the building has a modern ventilation and air conditioning system.
A CNC 5-axis milling machine becomes the newest addition to the company’s machinery.
A glass reception building with modern consultation and social rooms is built.
Johannes Tittel leaves the company due to old age.
The company celebrates 75 years of existence.