It handles the 16th-20th century records of industrial, commercial, transportation and agricultural companies, banking institutions, insurance companies, cooperatives as well as economic corporate bodies of national importance. The majority of the surviving documents were created in the 20th century. Although the archival material of the companies that operated before 1945 is incomplete, the most important periods of Hungarian economy can still be traced, from the guilds to the bustling economic life after the Compromise of 1867, from the economic expansion during World War I to the recession between the two world wars. The extensive material created after 1945 throws light on the process that significantly rearranged economic life from nationalization to company transformations in the 1990s.
In case of the material created before 1945 all types of records are considered archival regardless of ownership. During the socialist era creation and preservation of business records were operated under state supervision, therefore the Central Archives of Business Records, later the New Hungarian Central Archives gathered the industrial business records of national importance. After the change of regime according to the Archival Act of 1996 the National Archives of Hungary started collecting only the records of the organs belonging to its competence. In case of economic organs continuous state property and its majority has been the leading principle. As regards records of liquidated companies the archives act on the law of bankruptcy. In case of state companies that later were privatised archival jurisdiction covers those records which have permanent value and were created during the period of state property.
The constantly growing material is divided into two parts: records of the pre-nationalization period can be found under the reference code ’Z’ (fitting to the section system of the old National Archives of Hungary), while records of the post-nationalization era can be found under Roman numeral reference codes (XXVIII /Corporate Bodies/, XXIX /Companies/, XXX /Cooperatives/ and XXXII /Collections/). Archival materials were grouped in 23 different economic branches.
In the post-nationalization material one fonds contains the records of one company. The fonds structure of the pre-nationalization material is significantly different: the 724 reference codes do not contain records of 724 companies, but a lot less, because in the section system sub-fonds have their own ’Z’ reference codes.Records of pension offices founded by companies and records of works committees set up at the companies after 1945 were grouped into separate fonds. In case of certain companies the records of the war factory chief of staff and occasionally also the records of the company sports clubs are grouped in separate fonds.
The 99 fonds of banking institutions include the records of banks, the institutions and enterprises of banks, savings banks, pawnshops and mortgage institutions.
It was after 1867 when the banks and banking institutions played a vitally important part in the organisation and development of Hungarian economy. The most significant fonds preserved in the National Archives are as follows: First Home Savings Bank Association of Pest Co., Hungarian Commercial Bank of Pest Co., Hungarian General Credit Bank Co., State Banking Centre.
The establishment of an independent central bank of issue was a fundamental prerequisite for the consolidation following the post-WW I economic collapse. The Hungarian National Bank was established to resolve this problem in July 1924. After their nationalisation in 1948, most banks and banking institutions were closed down or merged with other institutions. The scope of activities of the remaining institutions was narrowed down and it had become subservient to the central economic will. The National Bank became the centre of the specialised socialist bank system. From the post-1945 material the fonds of the National Savings Bank, the Hungarian Investment Bank (State Development Bank) and the National Mint deserve attention.
Finding aids: Repertories are available for several fonds of banking institutions.
The Hungarian Land-bank was established in
Finding aids: Contemporary place-name indexes, synoptic repository registers.
The foundation of credit unions was important to the stimulation of the economy. The most valuable fonds of such institutions are the material of the National Central Credit Union, the Union for Financial Management of the Land Reform, the National Villatic Building-society and the
The record group of insurance companies consists of 25 badly fragmented fonds. The 1860s and 1870s are considered as the period of the formation of the insurance organisation. Parallel with Hungarian investments, German, Austrian, Italian and French investors also took part in the build-up of the insurance business. The examples of foreign investments include the UNITAS, the Hungarian branch of
Finding aid: Repertory
The institution of chambers was introduced in the entire territory of the Habsburg Empire in 1850. By its influence and wide-ranging activities, the Budapest Commercial and Industrial Chamber rose above the others. Besides operating as a corporate body, it also acted as an authority concerning commercial, industrial and public administration. Between 1945 and 1948, when it was dissolved, its activities were connected to the industrial reform and the issuing of merchant licences.
Finding aid: Repertory
The Produce and Stock Exchange of Budapest was established in 1864. The growing manufacturing industry organised an independent corporate body, the Union of Hungarian Manufacturers (GYOSZ), in 1902. Its archival material survived in a badly fragmented state. In 1948, both the Stock Exchange and GYOSZ were dissolved.
Finding aid: Repertory
Within the 157 fonds of mining companies the documents of every relevant branch of the mining industry can be found including the coal, bauxite, metal and oil companies as well as the companies processing mineral by-products like brick, plaster, lime and cement works, their supply stations as well as the institutions organically connected to the activities of the companies such as retiring funds, mine directorates and inspectorates, workers’ and screening committees, party organisations and sports clubs.
In the historical
In 1946, the coal-mine companies were taken into public ownership, and the
The United Hungarian Coal Mines Co. was established in
Finding aid: Repertory
The Bauxite Mine and Industrial Co. began its activities in 1917. After the First World War, in order to utilise mine-fields that remained outside the decreased
Finding aids: Repertory to the pre-1945 material, repository registers to the post- 1945 records.
The Hungarian–American Oil Industrial Co. was the only significant firm of the inter-war period oil industry. Its archival material can be studied by repertory. The Hungarian–Soviet Oil Company and National Oil and Gas Industrial Trust belonged to the major companies of the postwar period.
The record unit of the iron, metal and machine industry consists of 127 fonds. The economic documents of the companies usually survived in a defective, fragmented form.
The Rimamurány–Salgótarján Ironworks Co. was one of the largest industrial companies after the Austrian–Hungarian Compromise of 1867. As a result of the Trianon peace treaty the firm got into an extremely difficult situation. Its mines and certain depots were placed under foreign control and it lost most of its markets, but its processing factories remained in
Following the Compromise, the production of vehicles and agricultural machines became predominant within mechanical engineering with the exception of the Ganz Co. which produced railway and mill equipment and joined in the electrotechnical industry as well. At the turn of the century the Ganz Co., with its 6500 workers, was the largest mechanical company of the country. The Hofherr-Schrantz-Clayton-Shuttleworth Hungarian Mechanical Engineering Co. was one of the Monarchy’s, later
Finding aids: Repertories
On drawing near the Second World War, the government invested large amounts in the development of war industry. The Manfred Weiss Concern Enterprises was one of the biggest war factories. The leading role of the Manfred Weiss Steel and Metal Co., including the management and control over both domestic and foreign companies, guaranteed the co-ordinated governance of the companies and the protection of the Weiss family’s interests. In 1928, the Manfred Weiss Aeroplane and Motor Industries Co. was established, then in
An exceptionally important source of the nationalisation period is the material of the Heavy Industrial Centre which contains valuable information on the postwar reactivation and reorganisation of large industrial companies. A similarly important material is the fond of the Representation of Industrial Works National Co. of which commercial questionnaires provide an overall view on individual companies including data on the nationalisation and financial status of the firms.
The Ikarus Carrosserie and Vehicle Factory was established by merging the nationalised Uhri factory in the Ikarus Mechanical and Hardware Co. The Csepel Iron and Metal Works, Danubian Iron Works, Lenin Metallurgic Works, Diósgyőr Mechanical Works and the Hungarian Anti-friction Bearings Works were the centres of the large-scale socialist industry.
The 59 fonds of chemical works contain valuable information on a wide range of chemical productions.
The material of the Hungarian Rubber Co. is a significant source of economic history. Following the First World War, the company belonged to the first line of international chemical industry.
In the pharmaceutical industry, the Richter and the Chinoin were the two largest and most famous companies. Important documents can be found in the material of the Chinoin’s scientific and patent department and the Richter’s directorate. After 1945, the pharmaceutical industry remained one of the most dynamic branches of the economy. The fond of the Hungarian Pharmaceutical Union contains important documents of the industry’s medium level management.
The record unit of chemical companies also contains such significant enterprises as the Shell Oil Co., the Vacuum Oil Company, the Hungaria Artificial Fertiliser, Vitriol and Chemical Co. or the Nitrokémia Industrial Plants Co. The Hungarian Chemical Industry Union, established in 1968, co-ordinated the development and research activities of associated firms. From among the companies that worked within the framework of the
Finding aids: Repertories and repository registers.
This group of fonds contains the archival material of such companies as the Corporation for Electric Industrial and Transportation Companies, Hungária Electrical Co., Hungarian Transdanubian Electrical Co., Hungarian Electrics Trust as well as the Thermal Power Plants of Ajka, Pécs and Tatabánya.
Finding aids: Repository registers.
The archival material of electric industrial companies is badly fragmented as, during the Second World War, most of the companies became a military target, therefore a large amount of their documents perished.
The United Electric Co. was established in 1896. Its name was changed to United Light Bulb and Electrics Co. in 1906, and its products became world famous by the trademark Tungsram. It also produced telephone and telegraph appliances, and the first Hungarian automatic telephone exchange was made in its factories too. The Hungarian Brown Boveri Works Electric Co. produced electric machinery, motors, transformers and generators. The Hungarian Siemens-Schuckert Works Electric Co. was formed in 1904 and specialised in power-current and weak-current engineering. The company’s name was changed to Hungarian Siemens Works Co. in 1942. Between 1945 and 1947 it worked under the name of Electric Industrial and Commercial Co. then, for almost five years, it has been taken into Soviet ownership.
The Hungarian Wolfram-lamp Factory János Kremenezky Co. was founded in 1913. Besides producing electric bulbs, it also manufactured machinery, appliances and tools to electric lighting and electric power transmission. (Their products were circulated under the name of Orion.) The Telephone Factory Co., the Remix Electrical Engineering Factory Ltd., the Hungarian Philips Works Co. and the "Standard" Electrics Co., which was formed from the telephone department of the United Electrics, were also among the most significant electric industrial enterprises.
From among the post-1945 firms the material of the VIDEOTON Electronics Company contains a considerable amount of documents, but the Hungarian Telecommunications United also deserves attention.
In the 1920s, the Hungarian Optical Works Co. produced precision mechanical appliances, road and railway construction instruments as well as mining, military, scientific, aviation and electrical engineering instruments. It also dealt with grinding of optical lenses. Between 1945 and 1950 it worked as a Soviet–Hungarian joint venture. The Gamma Precision Engineering and Optical Works Co. produced geodesic, optical and precision instruments as well as anti-aircraft and targeting appliances. The Hungarian Siemens Reiniger Works Co. produced several surgical instruments and appliances.
The precision engineering factories, due to their war industrial character, also suffered serious damages during WW II. Their documents survived in a fragmented state.
From among the post-1945 companies, the fonds of the MIKI Measurement Technology Development Company, the Labor Precision Instrument Works and the Microelectronics Company can be mentioned.
Finding aids: Repertories.
The fond group of construction and building material industry consists of 16 fonds. The companies of the bourgeois age are represented by the badly fragmented material of some brickworks, road construction, glass and ceramics factories. Within the post-1845 material, the Road Construction Trust as well as the Cement and Lime Works have a considerable amount of documents.
Finding aids: Repository registers.
The 15 fonds of paper and timber-industry contain records concerning woodworking, paper making and trade.
Finding aids: Repository registers.
The fond group of printing and publishing companies contains 14 fonds. The records of the Royal Hungarian University Press form the most valuable material within the group. The documents, created between 1784 and 1947, are a precious source for researchers interested in the history of book publishing. The fonds of the Révai Brothers Literary Institute Co. and the Athenaeum Literary and Press Co. form a challenging material for librarians and the researchers of literary history.
The archival material of the Printing Industrial Trust and Association is a valuable source of the socialist economic organisation and management. The Trust was founded in 1963 and dissolved in 1968 parallel with the establishment of the Printing Industrial Association. The Association consisted of 38 member companies including ancillary industries and commercial firms as well.
Finding aid: Repository register.
The film and entertainment industry is represented by 5 fonds. The scripts of quite a few old movies can be found in the material of the Production Department of the Hunnia Film Factory Co. The records of the Hungarian Cinematography Company are arranged by film productions. The Hungarian Circus and Show Variety Company organised and managed a considerable part of the show-business.
After the Compromise, the light industry, including the textile, fur and leather industry, was modestly represented within the industrial production, however, in the inter-war period, the textile industry became one of the most developing branches.
The Samuel F. Golberger & Sons Co. was turned into a large-scale enterprise in the mid-20s. The archival material of Leo Goldberger, which forms a separate record unit, contains the family’s private and business related documents from 1817. The documents of this record unit reveal the colourful political and public activities of Leo Goldberger. The main rival of the Goldgbergers, the Hungarian Cotton Industry Co. became one of the leading textile factories of the inter-war
The primary conditions of large-scale mechanised leather and fur industry were established in the 1880s and 1890s. The Pannónia Lambskin Manufacturing and Trade Co. dealt with the currying and tanning of lambskin, sheepskin, game and precious fur. The Panofix trademark became known even in the world market. The scope of activities of the Julius Wolfner & Co. included the wool washing, tanning and currying as well as the shoe sole and uppers production. The Wolfner family played a significant role in the organisation and development of the sports and cultural life of the town of
Finding aid: Repertory.
Only a very small, fragmented part of the documents of the milling industry has been transferred to the National Archives. Within this material, the records of the Syndicate of Hungarian Export Mills deserve attention.
The Hungarian Cocoa and Chocolate Factory Co. was the first large-scale Hungarian sweets industry enterprise. The Dreher Maul Cocoa and Chocolate Factory Co. was the other most serious firm. It merged into the Dreher Brewery and Cholate Factory in 1933. Within the post-1945 material, the Danube Chocolate Factory has a considerable amount of documents.
Within the distillation business the Geschwindt Spirit, Yeast, Liqueur and Sugar Factory Co. as well as the J. Zwack & Sons Liqueur and Rum Works were among the most significant. In
One of the most interesting and, on the basis of the available documents, relatively well accessible material of the nationalised food industry is the records of the post-1945 centralisation period. Among others, the fonds of the following food industry trusts can be found in the material of Department IV: Cereals Trust, Animal Trade and Meat Industrial Trust, Trust of Sugar Works, Trust of Distillation Plants and Trust of Breweries.
Finding aids: Repertories and supplementary repository registers
The 76 fonds of cooperatives and agricultural enterprises contain the archival material of various producer, commercial and consumer cooperatives along with their institutions and enterprises as well as some agricultural enterprises.
Finding aids: Repertories to the pre-1945 material of co-operatives and agricultural companies. The fonds of post-1945 marketing boards and consumers’ co-operatives contain only some centimetres of documents.
The fragmented fonds of commercial enterprises cover almost every branch of foreign and internal trade.
Part of the enterprises specialised in the trade, export or import, of a certain group of goods (for example the Singer Sewing-machine
Among the nationalised foreign trade companies which were created at the end of the 1940s, the AGRIMPEX Hungarian Agricultural National Company, the BUDAVOX Telecommunications Foreign Trade Co. and the ELEKTROIMPEX Electrical and Precision Engineering Company have the most significant fonds.
The post-1945 nationalisation of internal trade companies began with the creation of önational enterprises”. From among the internal trade companies established subsequently, the Furniture-warehouse Company, the MOBIL Vehicle and Autospares Trade Company, the Hungarian Stamp Trade Company and the Co-operative Bookseller Company have a considerable archival material.
The fond group of transportation companies consists of 36 fonds including the fonds of railway transportation, riverine and marine transport, road transportation of passengers and goods as well as a very small material of air transportation.
The fond of Narrow-gauge and Suburban Railway (HÉV) corporations contains the records of 160 railway companies. The Directorate of Hungarian Royal Railways was established in 1869 by the fusion of three already nationalised lines. The railway network of the Hungarian State Railways (MÁV) was formed by taking lines, constructed and maintained by private companies, into public ownership. The presidential (1875–1949), "small" (vice-president) presidential (1920–1946) and confidential (1888–1949) records as well as the protocols of directorial meetings of the MÁV are valuable historical documents.
Finding aids: Contemporary finding aids and repertory (except general records).
The most significant domestic shipping company was the Hungarian Royal Riverine and Maritime Transport Corporation.
The post-1945 period is represented by the fonds of several transportation companies. The scope of activities of the Hungarian State Railways Road Transportation Company (MÁVAUT) was confined exclusively to local (point-to-point) transportation of passengers. The Domestic Commercial Transportation Company as well as the VOLÁN Trust also belonged to the most significant transportation companies of the period.
The fonds of planning and investment companies contain the material of such firms as the General Building Design Company, the Building Equipment and Electrical Design Office, the Chemical Engineering Design Company as well as the Agricultural Planning and Investment Company.
Finding aids: Repository registers.