No quiet place for sluggards
New toilets in Vöhringen cause trouble with the authorities in 1911
In 1911, a serious exchange of letters between Wieland and the Royal District Office in Illertissen took place – about missing lids for newly installed toilets. Nevertheless, quite an amusing story.
When Wieland expanded its rolling mill in Vöhringen in 1910 by adding an extension, the undertaking was well thought out. The static calculations for the "enlargement of a factory building" alone comprised 19 pages with handwritten sketches and calculations; materials, construction methods and forces involved were documented in detail.
After completion of the hall, which also included adjoining rooms, the building had to be accepted by the authorities. For this purpose the Royal District Office sent an engineer to Vöhringen, who inspected the new building in detail. During this inspection he complained about a number of minor flaws which are no longer documented today and for which Wieland promised to "remedy the situation".
However, the complaint "that there are no lids on the toilet seats" is well documented. In contrast to the other building flaws, Wieland did not promise any remedy in this spicy matter, but sent a very meaningful letter to the Royal District Office. "We kindly ask you to refrain from the requirement to put such lids on the lavatories," the letter of 30 August 1911 said, "since we have deliberately left the lavatories without lids. Experience has shown that such lids are "only used as a resting place by those who want to get away from work". In addition, the toilet lids "are not usually closed after all and are often contaminated or torn away".
Furthermore, a supreme police regulation as the engineer had put forward should not be allowed to take effect here: "The rolling mill is not a residential building" – and the "toilet facilities in question are attached to the outside of the building and can therefore only be entered from the outside". Therefore, it was requested to "refrain from the requirement to attach lids."
With rapid success: Only two days later, a representative of the authorities noted on the margin of the letter that the company Wieland & Cie. should be replied to "that the attachment of the lids can be omitted".
It is not known whether the toilets, even without lids, were not occasionally used for longer breaks.
Construction drawing of the new hall for the rolling mill in Vöhringen. In the upper left-hand corner, the toilet blocks on the outside of the building can be seen as an extension. (Copyright Staatsarchiv Augsburg: Baupläne Illertissen 178/1910)