Jakob Tuggener’s Sensational Photos Of Weapons Factories In Neutral Switzerland

Jakob Tuggener photos of workers churning out killing machines makes a muse of war

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) published Fabrik (Factory) in 1943, when factories in ‘neutral’ Switzerland were producing weapons for the armies of Europe. Tuggener’s photos reveal his fascination with machinery and humanity’s relationship with it. You can almost hear the din of the looms, lathes, furnaces, typewriters and turbines as mankind produces killing machines.

 

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Nell’ufficio della fonderia, fabbrica di costruzioni meccaniche Oerlikon [In the foundry office, Oerlikon mechanical engineering factory] 1937

Nell’ufficio della fonderia, fabbrica di costruzioni meccaniche Oerlikon [In the foundry office, Oerlikon mechanical engineering factory]. 1937

 

A trained draftsman from his time at Maag Zahnräder AG in Zurich, Jakob Tuggner also worked for the company’s design department. Photographer Gustav Maag soon after introduced him to photography. The crisis in the late 1920s, led to Tuggener’s unemployment. But from adversity came opportunity, and Tuggener enrolled to study art at the Reimannschule in Berlin. There he learnt about poster design, typography and film. In 1932, he returned to Switzerland, finding work at the Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO) and its in-house newspaper Der Gleichrichter (The Rectifier). He was detailed to take portraits of “the MFO family” and photograph everyday moments in the factory.

In 1943, his self-published photo book Fabrik (72 photographs) was not a hit. Undaunted, Tuggner produced two more photo books: Schwarzes Eisen (Black Iron) (1950) and Die Maschinenzeit (The Machine Time) (1952). All are now highly prized.

 

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Steam whistle, Steckborn artificial silk factory 1938

Steam whistle, Steckborn artificial silk factory
1938

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Work in the boiler 1935

Work in the boiler
1935

Jakob Tuggener Factory Switzerland

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Plant entrance, Oerlikon Machine Factory 1934

Plant entrance, Oerlikon Machine Factory
1934

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Budenzauber (Charm of the Attic Room) Jakob Tuggener with friends 1935

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988)
Budenzauber (Charm of the Attic Room) Jakob Tuggener with friends
1935

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Running girl in the Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon 1934

Running girl in the Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon
1934

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Façade, Oerlikon Machine Factory 1936

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988)
Façade, Oerlikon Machine Factory
1936

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Tornos Machine-tool Factory, Moutier 1942

Tornos Machine-tool Factory, Moutier
1942

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Navy Cut, Ateliers de construction mécanique Oerlikon (MFO) [Navy Cut, Machine Shops Oerlikon (MFO)] 1940

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988)
Navy Cut, Ateliers de construction mécanique Oerlikon (MFO) [Navy Cut, Machine Shops Oerlikon (MFO)]
1940

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Pressure pipe, Vernayaz 1938

Pressure pipe, Vernayaz
1938

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Grande Dixence power station 1942

Grande Dixence power station
1942

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Laboratorio di ricerca, fabbrica di costruzioni meccaniche Oerlikon [Research laboratory, Oerlikon mechanical engineering factory] 1941

Laboratorio di ricerca, fabbrica di costruzioni meccaniche Oerlikon [Research laboratory, Oerlikon mechanical engineering factory]
1941

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Heater on electric furnace (detail) 1943

Heater on electric furnace (detail)
1943

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Worker, Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon 1940s

Worker, Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon
1940s

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) “Amore”, Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon 1940s

“Amore”, Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon
1940s

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Weaving mill, Glattfelden 1940s

Weaving mill, Glattfelden
1940s

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Lathe, Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon 1949

Lathe, Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon
1949

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Jacob Tuggener at the popular pavillion Montpellier manufactures an epic of industrial photographs of workers’ portraits Montpellier magazine 1943

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988)
Jacob Tuggener at the popular pavillion Montpellier manufactures an epic of industrial photographs of workers’ portraits
Montpellier magazine
1943

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Forgeron dans une fabrique de wagons de Schlieren [Blacksmith in a Schlieren wagon factory] 1949

Forgeron dans une fabrique de wagons de Schlieren [Blacksmith in a Schlieren wagon factory]
1949

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Untitled (Arms of work) c. 1947

Untitled (Arms of work)
c. 1947

Jakob Tuggener Factory Switzerland

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988) Autoritratto, Zurigo [Self-portrait, Zurich] 1927

Jakob Tuggener (1904-1988)
Autoritratto, Zurigo [Self-portrait, Zurich]
1927

 

Via: ArtBlart; Fabrik 1933–1953 at MAST Foundation. But the book here.