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BMW - Camillo Castiglioni (1)

Camillo Castiglioni was born in Trieste in 1879. Austria was together with Hungary as a dual monarchy a giant empire and even had access to the Mediterranean via this city. The father Rabbi, a cleric at the top of the Trieste Jews. At the name was to recognize the originally Italian origins, the an important role played in his life.

Even if the father was popular in his community, according to some sources he has earned not enough for his family with three children. In this case, it is to suppose that this poverty in youth had a lot to do with Castiglioni's later, almost insatiable pursuit of wealth. Amazingly, but for all three children a study was nevertheless possible.

The subject law was supposedly the choice of the young Castiglioni, but he will never make a final exams. A bank apprenticeship is proved , but for that was sufficient a middle school exams at that time. His activities became more targeted when he came into contact with securities, a métier that would accompany him throughout his life. He made as a genius in foreign languages quickly career in the export department of the rubber factory Continentale in Constantinople (now Istanbul).

With 25 years he already was its director until its merger with the Semperit Gummiwerken. This merger established a large market power in Austria-Hungary. The name 'Semperit' has survived as part of Continental to this day. Mergers were actually the third element to Castiglioni later oligarchic lifestyle. Widely thought ahead and threaded wise, this seems to have been one of the keys for his wealth during his active times.

One has the impression that the industrial sector does not matter, the main thing lucrative. However, a tendency to sustainable technologies was evident. So Castiglioni conquered via the field of tyre production, he remained loyal by the way for a long time, even and especially its underlying objective of the incipient aviation. However, we will also deal with his not inconsiderable engagement in the car industry.

You guessed it, with the formation and development of BMW both came together in a unique way. But we are not there yet. We are in the phase of Castiglioni as Austrians. This lasted until shortly after the end of World War I, around 1919. Then he said goodbye to the country embossed by loss and run down and assumed the Italian citizenship.

But before that, he owes his wealth Austria-Hungary. He had contacts up to the highest political circles, was on good terms with both Emperor Franz Josef I and his successor Karl I. The beginnings of aviation, long before the events of the war, had surprisingly much to do with the production of rubber. Cause the first reasonably safe vehicle of the air were balloons of partly amazing proportions.

But Castiglioni was already far ahead the reality in 1908. He felt the looming threat of war more clearly than others and wanted to convince the military of the effectiveness of the already existing aircraft. He even made the pilot's licence, curved spectacular over Vienna and provided for the establishment of the Motor-Luftfahrzeug-Gesellschaft in 1909, an alliance of the Gummi-Werke with the Daimler-Werke Austria.

Castigionis talent soon became recognizable to bring to the table future partners and the negotiations to a positive conclusion. In general, he himself also won thereby. With the term 'credit intermediary' this activity is then described somewhat inadequate, when it concerns loans between governments. Castiglioni almost always worked for a bank or is their leader and was also successful in the stock market.

The really fat years were still ahead of him. To complete the circumference of the Austrian aviation industry, one still must mention the Lohner-Werke. These are maybe known to you out of history known as one of the first places of activity from Ferdinand Porsche. But he has changed to Austro-Daimler in 1906, a company will be to talk about yet.

There was a kind of partnership for a long time between Lohner and Castiglioni, which one could attributed respectively the long-time residents and the upstarts. Both partners founded the Hungarian aircraft plants in 1912. Only from Castiglioni were the Albatros-Werke from 1914, later Phoenix. Particularly important for the establishment of BMW was the acquisition of the Rapp-Motoren Werke.

Castiglioni was not only a champion of industry-ups, but also had a tendency relatively early to get rid of his initial copartner. In case Lohner he showed even the dubious talent, gradually to supplant a first more potent partner from the company and to put himself in the exclusive production of aircrafts related to Austria.

What that meant economically middle of the First World War, one can think of. At least the Austria-Hungarian military was dependent on his production, although the not always enjoyed the best reputation. This was particularly true for the Rapp engines until the gave up their own production and began to manufacture under license from Austro-Daimler. 06/13

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