Lepp and Wallmann was a manufacturer of agricultural machinery in the Chortitza Mennonite Settlement. In the 1850s, a clockmaker named Peter Lepp began to build and sell simple harvesters, a business which he expanded until he was able to set up his own foundry in 1860. He began to build various types of agricultural machinery, including threshing machines, winnowers, and chaff cutters, as well as steam engines and steam-powered boats for transporting goods on the river. His invention of a reaper was especially profitable.
Despite competition from British-made goods, Peter Lepp continued to expand the business, and he invited his son-in-law, Andreas Wallmann, to become a partner in the company. Andreas was a Hutterite who joined the Mennonites when he married Peter’s daughter Katharina. By the 1880s, the company was known as Lepp and Wallmann, with factories in Chortitza and Schönwiese (established in 1886), a suburb of Alexandrovsk (later called Zaporizhia). Johann Lepp, son of Peter, became the general manager in 1879.
As their business expanded and they hired more employees for the factories, Peter Lepp and Andreas Wallmann built row housing for the workers, as well as hospitals, schools, churches, and assembly halls, and they were provided with health insurance. Some of the apprentices from the Lepp and Wallmann factory also started similar businesses in the area. Lepp and Wallmann was the largest company, however, with 270 employees and an annual production of 900,000 rubles in 1911. By 1900, the factories were producing 1,200 reapers, 220 threshers, and 500 winnowers annually. From 1905 to 1910 the company’s profits increased from 100,617 to 224,991 rubles, and it received 33 awards in agricultural exhibitions.
On 3 July 1903 Lepp and Wallmann acquired the status of “trade and commercial joint-stock company.” By this time it had three factories in Chortitza, Schönwiese, and Pavlograd, and the total value of the company was 1,150,000 rubles. The shares of the company were distributed between the successors of Peter Lepp and Andreas Wallmann and representatives of the Niebuhr family that had married into the Lepp family.
In 1916 the Lepp and Wallmann company joined with the Koop company to form a new company. By this time the company was fulfilling military orders for the Russian government.
After the Soviets took over the country following the Russian Revolution, all Mennonite enterprises were nationalized in April and May 1919. A worker named Neufeld was appointed to manage the Lepp and Wallmann factory on 12 May 1919. The Lepp and Wallman factory in Chortitza became known as Fabrika No. 2.
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Cite This Article
Huebert, Susan. "Lepp and Wallmann." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2012. Web. 1 Feb 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lepp_and_Wallmann&oldid=66329.
Huebert, Susan. (2012). Lepp and Wallmann. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 February 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lepp_and_Wallmann&oldid=66329.
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