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Deutsches Technikmuseum - Fine Papers from Gmund

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:


The donation contains six locations:

Black-and-white photograph: View of a storeroom stacked to the ceiling with different sizes of paper roll.

In the roll store.

Black-and-white photograph: Two hands operating an old-fashioned measuring device with a dial. A sheet of paper is fixed in the device.

Testing paper thickness.

Fine Papers from Gmund - The Workings of a Paper Mill

Special exhibition in the gallery of our section "Photo Technology"

5 July to 30 October 2011

Black-and-white photograph: In an old-fashioned workshop a man is standing in front of two large tubs, one of which is made of wood and filled with paper pulp. The man is holding a papermaking screen in his hands.

Paper made by hand.

The 60 annotated photographs you see here illustrate the working methods of the paper factory at Gmund am Tegernsee in Bavaria, founded in 1829. They are taken by Karl-Heinz Rothenberger.

Company and Philosophy

Craftsmanship, clean production processes, a sense of tradition and innovative forward planning define the company philosophy of the paper mill at Gmund, the "Büttenpapierfabrik Gmund". This traditional family business (since 1904) with about one hundred staff produces more than one hundred thousand different fine papers for purposes centring on stationery and office supplies.

Two Fourdrinier machines, the "old" one from 1883 and the "new" one built in 1980 and modernised in 2007, cover the broad spectrum of paper types and qualities. Whereas the older machine still makes paper with almost hand-made characteristics, the newer is one of the world’s most flexible in the superfine sector, with state-of-the-art technology to control weight, colour and moisture. A huge collection of embossing calenders supplies the basis for the unique textural diversity of the papers from Gmund.

The Gmund Environmental Charter

With its Gmund Environmental Charter the company defines new and innovative environmental standards and takes a clear stance on the four pillars of environmental protection in the paper industry: water, raw materials, energy and waste.

Black-and-white photograph: Web running over rollers against a dark background.

The "new" Foudrinier machine: from press to dryer.

The dye-laden process water is cleaned using only ozone (no chemicals) and can be reused repeatedly. Without exception, all raw materials are environmentally friendly, sustainable and FSC-certified. The FSC label of the Forest Stewardship Council is recognised in more than eighty countries and gives a clear guarantee that timber products come from responsibly managed forests.

A strict internal waste reduction programme has reduced the waste volume by 82 percent over the past ten years, and the factory generates 75 percent of its own electricity with its own water turbines, combined heat and power and solar panels.

The Photographer

The photographer Karl-Heinz Rothenberger, a retired medical consultant, is a passionate black-and-white enthusiast. Purist and analogue is his equipment, trained and experienced his eye for depth and detail. The strength of his work is reduction, and he rejects any kind of image manipulation. The prints Rothenberger produces in his own darkroom have been shown at numerous acclaimed exhibitions, and in 2005 and 2008 he won the Bavarian Journalism Prize for best press photo

Copyright: Karl-Heinz Rothenberger

Header photo: Quality control by hand and eye