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The Ganz Works giant was founded by Ábrahám Ganz with his iron casting workshop established in 1845. He elaborated the technological process for the hard casting of railway wheels; railway wheels were ordered from almost every European country.
After the death of Ganz, the company was transformed into limited company with the name of Ganz Iron Casting and Machine Works Co. Ltd. and its management was taken over by András Mechwart in 1875. Under his leadership the Works developed into one of the biggest industrial companies in Hungary. It was on his initiative that the Works started the manufacture of water turbines; the first Francis turbine, which is known world-wide today, was also made here. Water power plants made by Ganz were constructed, among other places, in several settlements in Italy and Austria.
In 1878, the electric department was established at the Works and Károly Zipernowsky was appointed to its head. In 1885, the Works presented the Ganz energy distribution system - developed on the basis of Miksa Déri's and Károly Zipernowsky's invention; following this, several big cities in the world placed orders with the factory for their first power plants and the establishment of lighting networks. In 1890, Kálmán Kandó as an engineer of the factory developed the three-phase alternating current traction system; as a result of this, the Ganz factory was the winner of the tender for the electrification of the Valtellina railway line.
In the beginning of the 1900s, the electric department of the factory was transformed into an independent company under the name of Ganz Electric Co. Ltd. and constructed power plants with higher and higher power. In 1909, Ganz established a shipyard for building seagoing ships in Fiume. In 1911, the Ganz Factory merged with the Danubius Shipyard Co. Ltd. and took the name Ganz and Co. Machine, Wagon Works and Shipyard Co. Ltd. The new company carried out significant developments at the shipyard in Fiume and, within a short time, it became one of the most significant shipyards in the Austrian Monarchy. In 1916, the Österreichische Fiat Werke merged with the Ganz Works, and the Ganz-FIAT Aircraft Engine Factory, which produced engines for several warplanes, was established.
During the 1920s, Ganz railcars became its most popular products: besides European countries, they were in operation in Argentina, Egypt, India and Uruguay. The electrification of the Hungarian section of the Budapest-Vienna railway line was carried out by the Ganz Works.
In 1946, the Ganz Works were nationalised and in 1949 they became independent and six big companies came into existence, e.g. the Ganz Transformer Factory. In 1959, Ganz Wagon and Machine Factory merged with the famous MÁVAG Locomotive and Machine Factory under the name of Ganz-MÁVAG Locomotive, Wagon and Machine Works. Of the products of the Works, outstanding results were born in the field of the manufacture of diesel motor-railcars and motor trains. Traditional products included tramcars as well, with which, first of all, the tramway network of Budapest was provided by the Works. In the meantime the Foundry workshop was closed down.
In 1974, the locomotive and wagon Works were merged under the name of Railway Vehicle Factory and then the machine construction branch went through significant developments. The production of industrial and apartment house lifts became a new branch. Ganz-MÁVAG took over a lot of smaller plants in the 1960s and 1970s and their product range was extended. Besides others, they increased their bridge-building capacity; they made iron structures for several Tisza Bridges, for the Erzsébet Bridge in Budapest, for public road bridges in Yugoslavia and for several industrial halls.
The Ganz Shipyard experienced its most stirring times during the four decades following nationalisation: in the course of this period 1100 ship units were produced, the number of the completed seagoing ships was 240 and that of floating cranes was 663. As a result of the great economic and social crises of the 1980s the Ganz-MÁVAG had to be reorganised. The company was transformed into seven independent Works and three joint ventures.
In 1989, the British company Telfos Holding gained a majority of the shares in Ganz Railway Vehicle Factory Co. Ltd. The name of the company was changed to Ganz-Hunslet Co. Ltd. In the course of 1991 and 1992, the Austrian company Jenbacher Werke obtained 100% of the companys shares and consequently the railway vehicle factory now is a member of the international railway vehicle manufacturing group, Jenbacher Transport Systeme. At present, the Ganz Electric Works, under the name of Ganz-Ansaldo is a member of the Italian industrial giant, Ansaldo. The Ganz Works were transformed into holdings. Ganz-Danubius was wound up in 1994. The Ganz Electric Meter Factory in Gödöllő became the member of the international Schlumberger group.