Eternit is a brand of roofing and paneling material, commonly called fiber-cement board, made of fibres and cement.
Originally, the fibres were made of asbestos and the material was commonly used as siding in house building due to its low cost, fire-resistance, light weight, and other properties. After the discovery that asbestos is highly carcinogenic, its use is now prohibited in some countries. However, it is still sold "under the counter" in some places, especially in coastal areas where it withstands the climate much better than other materials. Today, Eternit and other manufacturers of fiber-cement board now produce asbestos-free panels.
Recommendations for the handing of Eternit differ from country to country.
Eternit was invented in the late 19th century by the Austrian Ludvig Hatschek. He mixed 90% cement and 10% asbestos with water and then ran it through a cardboard machine. He named the product after the Latin word "aeternitas".
From Vöcklabruck’s old "Kochmühle" paper mill in 1894 to today’s modern industrial plant – that is ETERNIT’s thriving history.
At the end of the 19th century the founder of the Eternit factory, Ludwig Hatschek, succeeded in developing an entirely new material, which was destined to change the roofs of the world.
Ludwig Hatschek (1856 - 1914) began manufacturing asbestos board and asbestos gaskets (asbestos) in Vöcklabruck. In order to make the asbestos board hard so it can be used to produce panels, Hatschek experimented with various binding agents.
The addition of Portland cement in 1900 led to the sought-after achievement. For the new material, Ludwig Hatschek chose the name Eternit, a neologism referring to the Latin word aeternus = eternal, everlasting.
And so asbestos cement began its triumphant march over the roofs of the world. It was registered as Austrian Patent Number 5970.
The preferred application range was large and small panels, for roof coverings and panelling as well as for corrugated sheet. Later Eternit was also made into tubing. Over the years the material was developed further.
Today Eternit is a composite, that uses cement as the primary ingredient to which various fibers, water, pigment and aggregates are added. On the so-called Hatschek machine, this mixture is then wound in several layers of felt on the roll forming machine to the desired panel thickness. The sliced layer is then cut up in the die cutting machine, the segments are stacked on top of one another on steel plates and then compressed under high pressure. Eternit tiles feature exceptional characteristics, such as light weight, great durability, frost, heat and weathering resistance, inflammability and easy machinability.
Ludwig Hatschek was born on October 9 in Olmütz, Austria; he and his family moved to Linz ten years later.
Ludwig Hatschek purchases the "Kochmühle" (production of rag paper, paperboard and later asbestos board) in Schöndorf near Vöcklabruck.
The new roofing material is given the trademarked brand name "ETERNIT", and the factory is renamed the "ETERNIT-Werke Ludwig Hatschek".
On July 15 – two weeks before World War I begins – Ludwig Hatschek dies after a long and serious illness. His son, Hans Hatschek, who in addition to his academic studies has worked for the company since 1910, assumes the legacy.
1930 - 1939
Construction of the hospital established by Hans Hatschek in Vöcklabruck - the city appoints him as honorary citizen. The manufacture of large panels begins. Numerous row houses and residences are built for employees.
The number of employees in Vöcklabruck reaches its lowest point of 14 (!) due to the economic crisis. Acquisition of many machines, expansion of the pipe factory -> highest number of employees (840) in the existence of the original factory in Vöcklabruck.
1945 - 1965
Turbulent post-war years of labor-intensive reconstruction ensue.
1972 - 1980
Significant annual investments in state-of-the-art occupational health and safety measures and environmental protections. Continuous expansion of the research and development department.
1987 - 1993
The most significant innovation in company history. After 10 years of research and development work, the entire product range is changed over // adapted to an asbestos-free, "new technology".
Patent application for a new fiber cement manufacturing process, which reduces the amount of waste water to nearly nil. 100-year company anniversary. Award of the Kaplan Medal on April 23, 1992.
Re-structuring of the roof panel product range into the "natura" collection, as well as the new "tectura" and "structura" lines manufactured in offline-production. Fritz Hatschek resumes chairmanship of the supervisory board.
ISO 9001 certification of the Hatschek Betondachstein GesmbH. Awarded the Austria mark of quality in March 1996.
Eternit is again leader in the sloped roof market segment.
Introduction of the new roof panel with an overall investment volume of € 5.7 m.
Cross Industries AG has an 80 % equity holding in the Eternit-Werke Ludwig Hatschek AG
The FibreCem (Eternit Schweiz AG) a group of the Swiss entrepreneur Bernhard Alpstaeg, acquires the stake of 80% from Cross Industries AG.
The FibreCem acquires the remaining 20% and becomes sole owner.