History of MEILLER Aufzugtüren GmbH

Josef Rathgeber was born in Ering am Inn, Germany, on 26 February 1810.

He learned the farrier and wainwright trade. Even though he was able to earn a living in his home town, he was not satisfied with the opportunities it offered him.

And thus began the history of the company Rathgeber, when Josef decided to set up a farriery and wainwright’s workshop in Marstallstraße in Munich in late 1830.

His products ranged from horseshoe nails to complete stagecoaches and mail coaches.

In 1852 Rathgeber founded his own carriage manufactory in Marsstraße in Munich.

Josef Rathgeber died in 1865 at the age of 55, his son Josef Rathgeber, who was born on 15 February 1846 and thus was only 19 years old, was suddenly forced to take over his father’s business. In doing so, he ensured that there was no interruption in the company's further development in spite of increasing competition.

Between 1870 and 1871 his railway cars were used by Königliche Bayerische Staats-Bahn (Royal Bavarian State Railway) to transport wounded.

The Waggonfabrik Rathgeber (railway car manufactory) was one of the first such factories in Germany.

It was founded during the era of the first railways, and thus its growth was influenced by the developments taking place in transport at that time.

In 1911 the company relocated from Marsstraße to Moosach and became a stock corporation (Aktiengesellschaft).  

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With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, a flourishing economic era came to an end.

The many crises that arose after the end of the WWI in 1918 did not leave Rathgeber unscathed either. The unfavourable economic situation left its mark in the company's accounting records until well into the 1930s.

In 1938 the long-awaited turnaround occurred; that said, the company had to undertake a comprehensive modernisation and an extensive expansion in order to remain competitive once again.

All of these measures were necessary for achieving the desired increase in production and sales. And then the World War II started.

While the factory did manage to survive World War I without any external damage, parts of it were completely destroyed during WWII.

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Like so many other companies, Rathgeber had to start all over again after World War II. Following the end of the war in 1945 and the devastating economic consequences, which only became apparent after the change in currency, Rathgeber succeeded in regaining and even surpassing the company’s earlier prominence.   

In spite of the almost insurmountable obstacles, the company managed to re-establish the broken contacts abroad. Rathgeber was once again the world-famous company, whose products not only found their way to the former markets of the old continent but were sold far beyond as well. One highpoint was a purchase order from the Far East:

Rathgeber had to deliver a state coach to the imperial court in Peking.

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The company’s product range included, e.g.:

  • Potato sorting machines
  • Rail vehicles
  • Diesel and electrically driven multiple train units for express and local transit systems
  • Express train railcars, passenger railcars, parlour, sleeper and restaurant cars
  • Trams, railcars and trailers
  • Road vehicles
  • Omnibuses of any design requested
  • Lorry trailers with or without tipping mechanism
  • Crawlers
  • Bakery machines
  • Paddle steamers
  • Kneading machines, knitting machines, beating and mixing machines

The name Rathgeber was and is still visible everywhere on road and rail vehicles; for instance on the stylish form of railcars, the then modern, practical and comfortably equipped railway and tram cars as well as the elegant buses with the conspicuous "R" on the front.

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By the mid 1950s, Rathgeber had decided to close the now stagnating bus construction division and started to manufacture escalators instead.

Escalators were installed in the newly built department stores Neckermann, Hertie and Kaufhof. Shortly after that, Rathgeber participated with a stand in the World Expo of 1958 in Brussels. The company was awarded a medal for its escalators.

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In the mid 1950s, Rathgeber started to manufacture lift doors.

The actual launch of lift door production was 2 Jan. 1956. This was the same day, on which the graduate engineer Wilhelm Bittmann started to work as a salesman. On 1 Jun., he was followed by the design engineer Franz Riha, who specialised in escalators, doors and lift construction. These two men were responsible for the advent of the new area of production.

With the construction of lift doors, the company saw an opportunity to take part in the reconstruction process taking place in Germany while setting up a new production division at the same time.

On a side note, this is the only product dating back to the Rathgeber era that is still manufactured by Meiller Aufzugtüren GmbH in many variations nowadays.

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In the 1960s, the company started to build underground and rapid urban rail vehicles.

The company experienced a veritable boom in this segment as well. Rathgeber profited when Munich decided to move part of its passenger transit system underground. In addition to the underground trains,the company also built the escalators for the underground and rapid urban stations. Similar products were also delivered in large quantities to cities like Hamburg and Stockholm and in smaller quantities to Paris for its metro. Products were also exported to Mexico. Two Rathgeber escalators were even installed in the former hotel Schneefernerhaus, which located on Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain. Once production started to decrease, however, this business unit was discontinued quickly as well.

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Leveraging all the versatility that distinguished the company, Rathgeber now tried to build tipper trucks for F. X. Meiller Fahrzeug- und Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG.

In spite of Rathgeber's efforts, the economic ups and downs that characterised the post-war years resulted in F. X. Meiller Fahrzeug- und Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG acquiring a controlling stake in the company in 1956.

On 1 January 2000, the door division became a subsidiary of F.X. Meiller Fahrzeug und Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG operating under the trade name Meiller Aufzugtüren GmbH.

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Technical milestones

  • 1956: MEILLER acquires a controlling share in Rathgeber AG
  • 1956: Starts production of DT 1 and DT 2 swing doors
  • 1958: Starts production of hand-operated GT 10 linked panel door
  • 1960: Starts production of driven GTK/S 1 and GTK/S 2 linked panel doors
  • 1960: Starts production of TA 10 drive unit for linked panel doors
  • 1963: Starts production of TG 1 telescopic doors
  • 1964: Production of magnetic clamping plates for aligning exterior panels of coaches
  • 1965: Production of waste-water treatment plants
  • 1965: Production of railway mail cars
  • 1967: Starts production of door generation 1 with TTK/S 5
  • 1969: Start of production of TTK/S 8
  • 1970: MEILLER takes over Rathgeber AG's site in Moosach
  • 1971: Discontinuation of construction of railcars (underground and rapid urban systems)
  • 1972: Discontinuation and sale of escalator production
  • 1972: Testing of new GTK/S 5+6 linked panel doors
  • 1974: Production delivery of new linked panel doors
  • 1974: Initial testing of a Conz/Demag linear drive unit as door drive
  • 1978: Testing of spindle drive
  • 1982: Production delivery of spindle drive

Other

  • ScooterGuard
  • FingerGuard
  • System F
  • Speed
  • HD doors
  • TG 3 Compact
  • Gravida sills
  • RepKit
  • 1984: Starts production of TG 2 telescopic doors
  • 1984: Production of skate and Siemens DC drive
  • 1996: Starts production of TA 7-V drive unit
  • 1997: Starts production of TG 2 with galvanised finish
  • 1998: Introduction of SAP-R3
  • 1999: Starts production of MGT 99
  • 2000: Starts production of TG 3
  • 2000: Approval of TG 3 “pare flamme”
  • 2001: Production of MGT 01 all-round surround glass door panel
  • 2001: Production of MAT frequency-controlled drive
  • 2001: Starts production of heavy-duty doors, then Zenit
  • 2001: Starts production of basic door, then Nova
  • 2005: Introduction of Catia V5 / 3D data
  • 2005: Starts production of rolling gate
  • 2009: Production of DT 3
  • 2009: Starts production of lifting gate
  • 2015: TM1 and VSG-V 20 glass door panel
  • 2016: Starts production of telescopic lifting gate
  • 2018: MiDrive

As of 2019

  • Sprint
  • Powered landing doors
  • Folding doors