“Alexa, switch the light on!” A mechanism clicks, the light goes on and the well-oiled cogs inside the almost 100-year-old ELPA staircase light timer switch engage with one another. I beg your pardon? You read that right: a smart Alexa is controlling a mechanical staircase light timer switch! “This exhibit is an excellent example of the huge technological scope covered by this exhibition. From analogue technology in our early years to the first electric clock thermostats up to the smart networked systems of today,” explains Paul Schwenk with a smile, before adding: “We have to understand the past before we can shape the future.” In making this statement, the great-grandson of the company’s founder is not just talking in terms of technology: “There’s a whole host of exciting, touching and even funny stories and anecdotes from the 100-year history of our family business just waiting to be discovered!”
Discover the (hi)story of ThebenThe anniversary exhibition
The exhibition in the historic granary at Schloss Haigerloch has been open to visitors every Saturday and Sunday since 3 July. Alongside our analogue classic – the legendary theben timer – modern pioneering technology including our LUXORliving smart home system is also on show. Visitors can also find out more about the people behind the products. Part of the exhibition is dedicated to Ellen Herl, the “good soul” of the company and she, like her brother Paul Eberhard Schwenk, is brought back to life in a number of interviews from back in the day. The videos can be played by scanning a QR code. Or simply click here.
The banner by Tim Berresheim provides an artistic addition to the exhibition. It’s a collaborative work of art involving Theben employees. Like our virtual dancing Abu Simbel, the banner is also in augmented reality, which means that you can unfurl more of its exciting elements in all of their 7-metre glory on your smartphone with the “TB – Theben 100 AR” app (free to download from the Google Play Store and the Apple Store).
Theben and Schloss Haigerloch are inextricably linked. A special exhibition on a smaller scale in the castle’s vaulted cellar tells the story of its eventful history and prominent guests: Mario Adorf, Heino, Lothar Späth and even the jazz legend Dave Brubeck are just a few of the happy celebrities whose visits have been immortalised by their signatures in the guest book.
Exhibition opening times:
Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entry is free of charge. The exhibition is due to close on 31 October 2021.