The EBERSPÄCHER family, the warmth under one roof
If you asked Karel Loprais how many competition Tatras he drove in on all his desert adventures in Africa and Asia over those almost 20 years, he would count long. If you asked him what they had in common, he would have to reply of the cuff that it was the “Eberspächer” sign over the cab windscreen. This German company has been linked with the Czech automobile industry for over half a century and this alliance is remarkable in many respects. The history of the company established 140 years ago is still more remarkable. The company is unique also by the fact that in the world of globalization, multinational companies and not clearly arranged property relations, the company Eberspächer is still held by the family.
The founder, Jakob Eberspächer
Jakob Eberspächer was born on April 23, 1840 in Esslingen, Würtenberg region in the South of Germany, where the family had lived since the 16th century. The name Eberspächer occurs practically only in there and in the vicinity; you would not probably find an Eberspächer in other parts of Germany. Jakob learnt plumbing for four years as was common at the time, then he worked as a journeyman at different places in Switzerland from where he returned. In 1865 he opened his own workshop in Esslingen and married Friederika Scharpf, who became equally indispensable to the company in the following years until the turn of the century.

Jakob Eberspacher started producing watering cans, hot-water bottles for the night, sewage pipes and roof gutters that his wife was charged to sell. It soon appeared she had a good sense of business. The young entrepreneur was a tall and thin fellow. With his 195 centimetres he did not fit into the standard military size and so he was not conscripted. Who knows, how he would have otherwise ended up, as in 1866 the Austro-Prussian war broke out, in which also the states of the German confederation stood up to Prussia, that is to say also the Württemberg recruits. Jakob Eberspächer could thus further pursue his trade and develop the workshop. In his notepad, which was preserved, he wrote a motto he stuck to: knowledge, diligence, thriftiness, godliness.

The family of Jakob Eberspächer in 1882.
In 1865, the Wurttemberg Parliament decided to generously enlarge the country´s railway network, which favourably impacted on the trade and industry. In the Wurttemberg region workshops started multiplying as well as the factories of emerging light industry, the textile one in particular. Local architects adopted the English industrial architecture, and thus also the system of roof glazing which has preserved at many a place up to the present. Inclined windows of these glazed roofs, their construction and sealing are considerably more exposed to the rain and snow than common vertical windows. At the same time, good sealing of these roof windows is essential, as the machinery equipment in production shops is very expensive. The usual putty is not enough in this case – apart from being prone to the elements, it can be applied only in the dry conditions, because it will not stick to wet surfaces. Therefore a new method of attaching the glass panels to the frames was developed by means of sheet-metal cover rails. It was fast, effective, windows fitted tightly and the glazing work could be performed all over the year. This obviously meant further opportunities for tinsmiths who manufactured metal constructions for these glazed roofs. Also Jakob Eberspächer seized a chance. He was one of the first in this business and the production of glazed roofs for industrial constructions became the main programme for further long decades. Although individual construction elements kept changing and improving, the principle remained the same. Thanks to the quality and serious approach Jakob Eberspächer gradually worked his way up to a leading position among suppliers in the southern Germany.