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Deutsches Technikmuseum - June

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


The donation contains six locations:

Exhibit of the Month June 2018

Photo: A wooden cigar box: The brand name "Elite" is burned on the lid and the handwritten words "tickets" have been added. The white skipper hat has a black sun shield.

These two very personal objects tell a lot about the history of shipping in and around Berlin. © SDTB / photo: C. Kirchner

"Elite" cigar box, before 1945, and Captain’s hat, 1950s

A cigar box with a Berlin mariner history: It was long used by skipper Willi Zolchow (1901-1978) for storing his personal documents. His daughter just recently presented this tropical wooden box to the Deutsches Technikmuseum.

Its function on an excursion steamer is clearly indicated by the word "Fahrkarten" (tickets) written on the box. Zolchow did indeed use the box for depositing tickets on the boat where he worked for the Spree-Havel-Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft (Spree Havel Steamboat Tours Company) "Stern" since the 1920s. After 1934 the company merged to become the Stern und Kreisschiffahrt der Teltow-Kanal AG.

Black and white photo: Two men on a boat wearing skipper hats. One is touching the other´s neck in a friendly way.

Willi Zolchow (on the left) wearing his captain’s hat while on the MS ANGELA in the employ of the Liptow shipping line, after 1952. © SDTB/ Historical archive, collection Zolchow

The initials of Zolchow’s landlady and her Kreuzberg address are written down on the inside of the box’s lid. Did Zolchow record this for an eventual finder in case he lost the box with its valuable contents?

Willi Zolchow: Skipper and Crane operator

Willi Zolchow’s hat served several purposes at once: It made his leadership position immediately recognizable while also serving as protection against the weather in summer. In the winter he worked as a crane operator at Borsig in Berlin-Tegel.

When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 the operating areas of the shipping lines in the western sector of the city were reduced, which led to a steep downturn in passenger numbers. Zolchow’s qualifications as a crane operator saved him at the time. He was hired by Borsig and from that point on worked year round as a crane operator until he retired.

These objects will soon be on display in our Shipping exhibition as testimonials to the diverse and rich history of shipping in and around Berlin.

Black and white photo: View of the deck of the passenger boat CONCORDIA from above. The many people on the deck are looking upwards in the direction of the photographer. The boat’s hull is painted white and it is slowly approaching a landing pier.

One of the boats that Zolchow operated: The CONCORDIA from the Stern und Kreisschiffahrt der Teltow-Kanal AG fleet after 1935, seen here at the Freybrücke (Heerstraße) landing pier. © SDTB/ Historical archive, collection Zolchow