• Henrik Haupt

Clothing factory: Abandoned in Limbach, Germany

Updated: May 10

Sewing machine at abandoned clothing factory in Germany

I have been passed this factory two times, but the first time I got a long nose. I had gotten up early in the morning and driven a few hundred miles in what ended up being a blizzard. I arrived at the factory, where the last person to visit it was the local bricklayer who had bricked all the entrances to it. So here I have to make do with the pictures I got of the building from the outside.

However, I was lucky half a year after where I was in the same area again. Then I had to drive by and check, and luckily the front door was open.

Sewing machines at abandoned clothing factory for 20 years

The story of the clothing factory

The textile factory Limbach was founded in 1854 by chemist Louis Schaarschmidt in the town of Limbach in former East Germany. The part of the factory I visited was built in an extension in 1929. Various textiles were made here, but the company is best known for making artificial silk underwear called Artiseda.

After 1949, the company changed owners and became public property under the name VEB Artiseda, which still manufactured underwear.

In 1990, when the company was to be privatized again after the DDR, it was renamed Artiseda Trikotage GmbH. But like many other companies in the area, this clothing factory could not run around either and had to finally close down in 1998.

Old advertisements from when the clothing factory was in use

It is difficult for places like these to be allowed to stand entirely untouched for so many years. But despite the long time the factory was abandoned in the middle of the city, there was minimal damage.

The experience only gets more fascinating for that reason, because I could go and get an insight into life and work at the factory.

Conveyor belt at abandoned clothing factory
loom at a clothing factory in Limbach, Germany
Thread on sewing machine at abandoned factory in Limbach
Production process at abandoned clothing factory in Germany

The chairman has had his place at the end of the conveyor belt, where all the seamstresses have sat in a row and worked hard to get their small part of the production finished.

I was through all the different floors, but the most exciting thing was on the production floor.

But on one of the other floors, there were clothes in long lanes, a large part still wrapped, ready to be sent out to customers.

Machines at a factory in Germany
Leftover clothes from the 1990s are in piles

Not long after, it was decided that the old buildings would no longer be allowed to decay. But since the buildings are listed, one could not tear them down and start on a fresh one.

So before the renovation started, the buildings were assessed, but only to a value of € 60,000.

Today, the buildings have been retaken into use and now house a school.

Before the opening of the school, the municipality held a short opening where guests could come and see the factory and buy bags of the clothes that had been left behind.

It provided the opportunity for the city's citizens and some of the former employees to meet and take home a piece of the past. I'm glad the many things have been given new life, and the buildings have not been demolished as it often ends up.

I have a thing with these abandoned textile factories, and I have happily visited a few.

Another of the nice ones, with a lot of furniture, was a larger factory in Austria:

Spinning mill It had a lot of cool old machines and good opportunities for photography.