The founder: Johann Georg Hitzler
Hitzler Werft of Lauenburg on the river Elbe, east of Hamburg, can claim to be one of the few German shipyards which from its very beginnings built steel ships. That is all the more remarkable as the yard was established in the year 1885.
The Burmester brothers also of Lauenburg successfully ran a passenger liner service with paddle steamers linking Lauenburg with Hamburg and were looking for a repair yard at their home port. So they helped their friend Johann Georg Hitzler to set up a small repair yard which originally comprised no more than a modest workshop near the river bank.
The first newbuilding: "Johanna"
J. G. Hitzler did not take long to realise that for his company’s survival he depended on state-of-the-art technology and equipment. Thus, he installed a 6 HP petrol engine which via a transmission belt impelled two lathes, one planing attachment, one grindstone and the fan for the forge fire.
Hitzler delivered his first newbuilding already in 1886, a 300 tons inland waterway barge.
Motor Boat "Aero" for Switzerland 1910
He built his first motorboat in 1892 and delivered his first freighter to Matthias Burmester in the year 1900.
Georg and Franz Hitzler, the sons of Johann Georg, took over in 1910.
Trawler "Thiele" 1919
Hitzler Werft began deep-sea shipbuilding towards the end of World War I when it contracted to build a series of nine deep-sea trawlers. By that time the yard had developed into a fully-fledged industrial plant, complete with slipways, building berths and, since 1914, with a new power station which supplied electrical power to the yard and also to neighbouring factories and private homes. It took until for the city of Lauenburg to have its own municipal power supply system..
"Hitzler - Rudder"
To tide the yard over the period of recession, Hitzler Werft in 1929/1930 built, for its own account, the 660 tdw inland waterways motor vessel J.G.HITZLER, propelled by a 150 HP diesel engine designed and built by the shipyard. That constituted the only foray into diesel engine construction. On the other hand, to this day the yard has constructed and installed more than 3000 units of the patented Hitzler Rudder.
Inland Motor Barge "Altenburg" 1929
Between the two World Wars Hitzler focused on supplying inland waterways freighters to German and foreign clients, but also delivered tankers, tugs and special craft. Shipbuilding activities resumed in 1947 with the construction of port launches, a bunkering barge and an icebreaker.
Seagoing Motor Tanker
"Josef Joham" 1959
Large series of inland waterways tankers and freighters were the order of the day in the 1950s, interspersed by occasional deliveries of seagoing ships. From the mid-1960s, Hitzler Werft increasingly constructed coastal tankers and special craft.
Supply Vessel "NVG 6" 1966
This eventually led to the building of oil rig supply vessels of which Hitzler has delivered a total of 82 units of a large variety of design and an equally large range of outfit.
The large Shipbuilding Hangar
under Construction 1984
Since the year 1984, newbuilding activities at Hitzler Werft take place, sheltered from the weather and until the ship is ready for launching, in a large shipbuilding hangar.
Counterweight for a Balance Bridge
The company has responded to changing market conditions in the field of ship newbuilding by developing new and tailor-made production lines, largely divorced from shipbuilding, including i.a. such specialities as cranes, power station equipment, hydraulic steel constructions, lock gates, RoRo ramps, hanging decks, balance bridges and garbage sorting bins.
Engine-making, one of Hitzler's traditional lines, saw steady expansion over the decades. The range of products supplied by the shipyard mainly includes rudders and steering gear, winches of all descriptions, pitching and out-of-balance generators for icebreakers as well as special equipment for ship. Hitzler Werft has a machining shop fully furnished with modern equipment, from a CNC boring machine to a gear cutter.
Jumboising of an Inland Tanker
Ever since its establishment Hitzler Werft has been successfully involved in ship repairing. There are slipways of 70 and 130 metres length, respectively, for repairs to virtually all parts of a ship. Hitzler ranks among the important repair yards on the river Elbe.
Arminius Werke GmbH and Mr Franz Hitzler jointly run the shipyard from the year 2001.