Ignaz Schustala, founder of a company that later became Tatra, born 130 years ago

Schustala carriages, photo: Palickap, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

This week marks 130 years since the death of Ignaz Schustala - the founder of the Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft, which later became Tatra.

Ignaz Schustala was fascinated by carriages from his early childhood. Later in his life, he established a successful factory for producing carriages and buggies.

Ignaz Schustala,  photo: Wikimedia Commons,  CC0

He learned his trade at the court carriage maker F.Koller in Vienna. After years of travelling and improving his skills, Schustala returned to Kopřivnice, in the Moravian-Silesian region, where he opened a small workshop at his brother’s house making carriages and buggies.

Schustala’s business flourished and he started employing apprentices, moving on to produce luxury stagecoaches, as well as freight and postal carriages. He also registered numerous patents. In 1870, his company (which by that time had 150 employees), produced 1,200 carriages.

With growing imports to Russia, Galicia, neighbouring Prussia, but also across the ocean, Schustala decided to expand abroad, opening branches in Ratiboř, Wrocław, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Černovice and Kyiv. In 1860, he established a joint-stock company Kopřivnická vozovka. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see its further development. He died on January 29, 1891.