Puch

Puch is a manufacturing company located in Graz, Austria. The company was founded in 1889 by the industrialist Johann Puch and produced automobiles, bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles. Johann Puch from Slovenia, first produced bicycles in 1889 in a small workshop called "Fahrradfabrikation Strauchergasse 18 a" in Graz. Ten years later he founded his company, "Erste Steiermarkische Fahrradfabrik AG" (en: "First Styrian Bicycle AG"). Puch's company became successful through innovation and quality handicraft, rapidly expanding over time. It soon began producing motorcycles and mopeds. The main production plant, later called "Einser-Werk", was constructed in the south of Graz, in the district of Puntigam. Production of engines was started in 1901 and cars followed in 1904. In 1906 the production of the two-cylinder Puch Voiturette began and in 1909 a Puch car broke the world high-speed record with 130,4 km/h. In 1910, Puch is known to have produced sedans for members of the imperial family. In 1912, the 38 PS (horsepower) Type VIII "Alpenwagen" was developed. In 1912 Johann Puch went into retirement and became the company's honorary president. In that year the company employed about 1,100 workers and produced 16,000 bicycles and over 300 motorcycles and cars annually. During World War I, Puch became an important vehicle supplier to the Austro-Hungarian Army. However with the collapse of the empire following the War, the market for automobiles shrank and production was discontinued. [edit]Between

wars In 1923 an Italian engineer Giovanni Marcellino is said to have been sent by the banks to wind up the Puch factory in Graz. Instead of which, within a few weeks he had settled down to live in the town, designing and then producing a new version of the split-single. Taking his inspiration from industrial counter-piston engines, the new engine benefited from the improved breathing of the Italian original, to which he added asymmetric port timing. In 1931 Puch won the German Grand Prix with a supercharged split-single, though in subsequent years the split-singles of DKW did better. In 1928 the company merged with Austro-Daimler and became a part of the new Austro-Daimler-Puchwerke. This company in its turn merged in 1934 with Steyr AG to form Steyr-Daimler-Puch. Like all enterprises of its kind, the Puch production plants had to change to arms production during World War II. The existing capacity was insufficient, therefore a second plant was constructed and opened in 1941 in Thondorf, Graz. In the three original assembly halls, luxury vehicles for the American market were produced. Steyr-Daimler-Puch is one of the companies known to have benefited from slave labor housed in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp system during World War II. Slaves from the camp (who had initially been worked to death in quarries) started to be used in a highly profitable system used by 45 engineering and war-effort companies, and amongst them Puch had an underground factory built at Gusen in 1943.