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Navigation aidMONTAN UNION

Brief History

Montan Union GmbH was a distributor of coal and other solid fuels based in Hamburg established prior to World War II. Seeing the rise of liquid fuels, it moved into petroleum products and by 1957 had developed a chain of 200 filling stations in West Germany. As with many other independents its numbers almost doubled in the next decade to 397 outlets by 1967, its peak year. The subsequent decline in numbers was even faster; it was back down to 184 service stations by 1974, although the name lingered on in use until 1985 when the company finally succumbed to bankruptcy.

Montan Union also sold coal in Austria, although by 1942 its Vienna based subsidiary had been taken over by the Nazi's Reichswerke AG für Berg- und Hüttenbetriebe HG holding company. This would almost certainly have fallen under Russian control in the period to 1955, and it is not known if the assets were later returned to the German parent company. However the Austrian arm did also establish a chain of service stations, supplying over 100 locations, almost entirely in Styria (Steiermark) by the early 1960s. The fate of this operation is unknown, but it appears to have been taken over or stopped selling branded petrol prior to 1971.


Montan Union maps are uncommon, and this example dates from around 1957. Sheet 2 of an unspecified number, it was specially prepared for the company by Ravenstein, and marks towns and villages with MU-Tankstellen by a light blue ring. This reveals that the chain was far from evenly spread across West Germany, but concentrated into a few areas near Montan Union's depots in Hamburg, Berlin, Braunschweig, Frankfurt/Main and Köln. Both sides of the paper were used to create a map at the useful scale of 1:400,000.

ca1957 Montan Union map 2 of W Germany

ca1962 Montan Union map of Austria

The only known Montan Union map of Austria dates from 1962 or 1963, and was specially prepared for them by Freytag-Berndt u. Artaria at 1:600,000. The map has insets of Vienna and Graz marking the location of Montan-Union's two offices in red. The reverse lists the villages with Montan-Union sites, naming the operator and listing the basic facilities at each. There were 119 locations, of which four were in Burgenland, two in Kärnten (Carinthia) and the rest in Steiermark (Styria). Although most were large enough to be called Tankstelle, 16 of the smallest outlets were described as being Verkaufstelle.
The rear cover carries the slogan "Fahre mit Kraft + Oktan" (Travel with Power and Octane), and notes the new additive TML against corrosion.

Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2003-5

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.