The local factory has been one of the most significant buildings in Brandys nad Orlici for several decades,
whether its name was Gottwaldka, Kovona or Karosa. It has always provided jobs for a considerable number
of locals from the town of Brandys as well as from the surrounding villages. The factory has not only
been the largest local employer, but it has also been influencing the overall life of the town in many
/Hynek Galutšek, Jan Hanák, Gustav Hanák/
First references: In the 19th century, there was a mill in the place of one of today`s buildings. The
first mentions referring to the mill were in an 1859 publication, “In 1849, Mr. Hynek Galutsek, former
tenant of the Brandys demesne, purchased part of the neighboring land under Šlejferenský bridge, where
he founded the mill, unable to complete the construction though, in 1853, sold this incomplete construction
to Mr. Jan Hanak, a miller from Moravia, who installed mill machinery and handed over his work to his
son, Mr. Gustav Hanak, who has been improving the mill ever since.” The mill then changed owners several
times until 1904, when it burned down.
In 1905, Prague architect, Edvard Rechziegel, co-owner of the Brandys sanatorium, purchased the burnt-down
mill. In the following year, he applied for a permission to build a two-story weaving mill for 200 looms.
However, the weaving mill remained in operation only until 1908 when it was left without power due to
a rupture in the dam on the river Ticha Orlice.
/Regenhart and Reymann/
In 1911, the weaving mill was sold to Regenhart and Reymann, a Frývaldov textile company, and on February
26th, 1912 it resumed its operation.
/Hynek Gottwald AG/
In 1920, the weaving mill was acquired by Hynek Gottwald (owner, Ignaz Gottwald aus Wien), a Prague company
manufacturing metal furniture. The production commenced with approximately 30 workers. The production
program focused mainly on tubular painted furniture like beds and bedside tables, chairs and tables, folding
wall beds, brass furniture, garden tables and chairs, hospital furniture, wire mesh for beds or folding
metal beds. The number of employees rose to nearly 100 by 1922.
In 1928, the company started with the production of tubular chrome furniture, school furniture, and seat
frames for Tatra and Jawa, and then also added upholstered furniture.
In the same year, Hynek Gottwald landed a contract proving the prestige of the company and the craft of
the employees – to supply garden metal furniture for the Barrandov Terraces founded by Vaclav Maria Havel,
father of the author, playwright, president and politician, Vaclav Havel, in Prague. It was a contract
for 800 garden tables and 2,800 chairs.
/New production premises/
September 25th, 1931, a devastating fire broke out in the furniture warehouse. Fire brigades from the
surrounding towns stepped in to help. The fire was extensive and completely destroyed not only the furniture
warehouse but also all the surrounding outbuildings. In 1934, a new four-story factory building was built
here. In fact, this building has remained almost unchanged on the outside to this day. In 1937, Hynek
Gottwald was employing a total of 128 operators and 45 office clerks..
/1930s and 1940s/
The company in Brandys was heavily impacted by the great depression in the late 1930s. Redundancies, lack
of funds for machinery renewals, production downturn – it all happened. Most of the heavy work was done
manually, including bed mesh riveting, tube bending, transport of all materials and finished products
within the premises. Even apprentices, who were always present, around 20 to 30 of them, did a great deal
of the work.
Despite the above-mentioned problems, the company was able to supply complete sets of furniture to schools,
hospitals and convalescent homes. The company attended various exhibitions and trade shows and with careful
offers even participated in various competitions to supply metal furniture. In great competition, the
company managed to win several big contracts, e.g. furnishing a newly built school in Cerekvice nad Loucnou
in Eastern Bohemia, a new hospital in Usti nad Orlici, a large convalescent home of the Regional Military
Headquarters in Spindleruv Mlyn – Bedrichov, or a tuberculosis sanatorium in Vysne Hagy. In anticipation
of better times, Hynek Gottwald issued their first catalog of metal furniture. In these years, the company
introduced new products - seat frames for Tatra, Jawa and Aero vehicles.
/1938 – 1945 Protectorate Böhmen und Mähren/
The 1930s and 1940s were marked by the fear of another world war. Unfortunately, these fears came true.
The occupation of the border areas by Germany, Poland and Hungary affected even Brandys. The first refugees
started appearing in town. The crucial day for our country, March 15th, 1939, made the unstable situation
even worse when the entire country was occupied, Slovakia gained independence and Transcarpathia was occupied
by Hungary. During 1939, the population in the town gradually increased from 1,400 to almost 2,000. New
and new people applied for a job at Hynek Gottwald on a daily basis. However, only a few could be hired.
The plant in Brandys was in a very difficult economic situation. This fact, as well as other reasons,
led the owner and managers to search for solutions to keep the business going and preserve jobs. One of
the options was to enter into business with the German military and police forces. This led to a very
important contract for the production of beds and plank beds for the German army, which meant a full work
capacity for several months. In 1942, the company won a contract for the production of aircraft seats
in cooperation with Martin Schmitter, a company in Augsburg. The production started with simple folding
seats which were mounted into military aircrafts to increase their capacity. Also, seats for Siebel aircrafts
were produced, and in 1944, seats for Focke-Wulf 190 aircrafts were added. Later, a more demanding production
was introduced, the so-called “Randkappe”, i.e. the ends of the wings of the Me 109 aircrafts, holders
for auxiliary fuel tanks for some types of aircrafts, and other fixtures for aviation assembly for other
companies. The number of employees was continuously growing at this time due to the so-called “labor deployment”,
so the number even exceeded 500 employees.
During 1942, a canteen was set up for the employees, the fourth floor of the factory building was vacated
for this purpose. In 1945, the factory was confiscated by the Third Reich and the name was changed to
/Metal furniture production renewed/
At the end of WWII, in the last days of April 1945, the German administration abandoned the plant and
left it to its fate. Luckily, the plant did not suffer almost any damage during the war. .
National administration was appointed because the company had been producing products for the German military
forces and because it had been in German hands since 1943. This happened based on the presidential decree
of 19.05.1945. Naturally, the forced workers went away in the first days of May, so the plant had only
around 100 workers left. The national administration decided to return to the former production of metal
furniture. However, the equipment necessary for the renewal of the furniture production had been destroyed
and there was not even enough material. Despite this fact, the production was renewed in quite a short
period of time. Thanks to the devotion and dedication of the employees, in 1945, the production numbers
were almost at the same level as in 1937. The production included chrome metal furniture combined with
wood and upholstery, individual pieces as well as sets for living rooms and bedrooms. Furthermore, school,
garden and hospital furniture were produced here.
/Metal furniture manufacture/
After the war, April 14th, 1947, the company was confiscated based on the presidential decree No. 108/45
Coll. Then in 1947, Ferdinand Velinger, the Director of the national corporation Kovona in Prague, was
appointed the new national administrator. April 19th, 1948, Hynek Gottwald corp. in Prague with a production
plant in Brandys nad Orlici was incorporated into the national corporation Kovona with its headquarters
in Prague. In 1951, Kovona was divided into two individual national corporations – Kovona Lysa nad Labem
and Kovona Frystat-Karvina. The plant in Brandys nad Orlici was integrated in the new national corporation
Kovona Lysa nad Labem. At that time, the Brandys plant had about 170 employees. The reorganization of
the industry in 1951 did not last long and already in early 1953 there was a new organization which divided
the national corporations into even smaller entities. Therefore, January 1st, 1953 the national corporation
Kovona Brandys nad Orlici was founded and it was supervised by the Ministry of Automotive Industry. In
1965, the production of furniture was terminated.
/Predecessor of Škoda Auto a.s./
In connection with the automotive industry in the post-war years, the production portfolio was expanded
by front seats for vehicles produced in AZNP Mlada Boleslav. Concurrently with the seat production, the
production program was expanded by seat constructions for trains, buses and riverboats. In 1954, a new
challenge came, the production of ejection pilot seats for L 29 aircrafts. In 1954, the Kovona plant in
Brandys had approximately 250 employees.
During another industry reorganization, April 1st, 1958, the Brandys plant joined a fairly close and booming
company – Karosa Vysoke Myto. Only the production of pilot seats and front seats for Skoda remained in
the production plan. However, it wasn`t for long. The plant took over new products from Vysoke Myto like
driver seats for buses, trolley buses, trucks and other vehicles. In the following years, these products
formed the plant`s production program. The seats proved to be of good quality and gradually, major automotive
companies like Tatra and Liaz started ordering the seats. Among other customers there were Skoda Plzen,
railway engine manufacturer, Tatra Smichov, tram manufacturer and many other manufacturers of vehicles
and agricultural machinery.
/Privatization František Kahovec/
/C = Consultation, I = Information, E = Engineering, B = Business/
/Driver and passenger seats production/
Plant 02 of Karosa Vysoke Myto in Brandys had been detached from the company before a decision was made
regarding the sale of Karosa Vysoke Myto to a foreign international party and had been appointed for direct
sale in a privatization project. The government decision regarding the privatization of the Karosa plant
in Brandys to C.I.E.B. Kahovec was realized November 1st, 1995 when C.I.E.B. Kahovec spol. s r.o. won
the competition. In the years after the privatization, seats under the K-Bass brand (“Brandys Automotive
Seating System”) were exported all over the world including Australia, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia,
Between 2000 and 2007, a seat assembly cooperation started directly in Russia. The seats were used by
bus manufacturers Iveco (Karosa), SOR, Polish Autosan, Bussan, Jelcz, Hungarian Ikarus…
Seats produced in Brandys were used by tram manufacturers such as CKD Dopravni systemy and Skoda Dopravni
The seats can be found in numerous buses and trams in many European countries but also in Manila in the
Philippines. All the Skoda Ostrov nad Ohri trolley buses, Prague metro carriages, Stavostroj Nove Mesto
nad Metuji construction machinery, and CKD Praha and Skoda Plzen train engines were equipped with these
All Tatra, Liaz, Daewoo and Avia trucks had the driver and passenger seats.
Even Karel Loprais and later his nephew, Aleš, were customers of C.I.E.B. Their racing Tatras were equipped
with our seats for the legendary Paris-Dakar race. Also, Martin Macík and Tomáš Tomeček who drives the
traditional route in Africa as a single driver every year, drove in our seats.
Apart from driver seats, the Brandys plant also produced passenger seats for buses, trams, trolley buses
and metro carriages. From 1996 to 2008, seats were produced in cooperation with Vogel Sitze, a German
company, at the time, one of the leading companies specializing in these products.
1993 start of production of driver seats with an
integrated three-point seat belt
1995 1.11. company privatization, owner CIEB Kahovec
spol. s r.o.
1996-2008 production cooperation for passenger seats with the Vogel Sitze brand
1997 destructive floods, the whole premises
1999 Kaub premises acquisition, start of reconstruction
1999 galvanizing workshop cancelled, a new
tube and profile bending workshop were installed
2000-2012 production of headrest frames, panel holders, windscreen wiper holders
2000 production terminated in Karbond leased
and sewing workshops transferred to the premises in Delnicka
2006 robotic welding of seat frames and structures
with the first two new-generation robots
2006 29.11. company sold by Mr. Kahovec, new
owner CVG from USA
2012-2019 lathe shop and dispatch within the premises cancelled, gradual increase of r
to a total of 9 robots
2015 drainage of the company, connected to
the town wastewater treatment plant at the back of the company
1990-2019 reconstruction of the welding shop, roofs, yard driveway, former lathe shop
and dispatch floors, electrical installations, reconstruction of the dam, race, turbine, production buildings
façades reconstruction commenced
2019 Kaub building demolition, start of construction
of a new building
In 2006, Commercial Vehicle Group, an American company with its seat in New Albany, Ohio, became the owner
of the company. This company is a leading supplier of integrated system solutions for global customers
in the commercial vehicle markets, especially manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, medium-
and heavy-construction vehicles, agriculture machinery and military vehicles.