"Firsts," "Oldests," "Biggests"
ABOVE: A vessel of Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt, Germany's oldest fleet of
Normally we don't
use press releases in our editorial coverage, but the Dresden Tourist Office
has put together a release titled "Dresden - A Record-Breaking City" that
deserves wider circulation. Here's a lightly-edited and abridged version:
The first German Pilsner beer
The Radeberger Exportbier-Brauerei brewed Germany's first Pilsner in the late
19th Century. (That beer is now Dresden's leading brew.)
Germany's first beer mat
Rudolph Sputh of Dresden patented an "absorbent wood-fiber beer-glass coaster"
in 1892, ending the enmity between beer and tablecloths.
The world's first bra
In Saxony, it's said that beautiful women grow on trees, but their beauty is
need of direction and support. On September 5, 1895, Fräulein Christine Hart
applied for the first patent on a "bodice to keep the breast in shape."
largest Protestant church on the European continent
Saxony was in the forefront of the Reformation, and it strove to become the
"Protestant Rome" with the massive domed Frauenkirche. (By the time the church
was built, the ruling dynasty of Saxony had long reverted to Catholicism.)
The first single-lens reflex camera
In 1936, the Kineexacta (developed in Dresden) was introduced at the Leipzig
fair. The Pentacon camera works didn't survive the political changes of
1989-1990, but another innovative photographic tool--the Noble panoramic
camera--is manufactured in Dresden.
The world's first toothpaste tube
Dr. Ottomar Heinsius put paid to tooth powder in 1907 with the first
mechanically-produced tooothpaste,which was sold in the Löwenapotheke pharmacy
on Dresden's Altmarkt.
The world's first mouthwash
In 1893, Dresden industrialist Karl August Lingner developed Odol mouthwash,
which is still sold in the original style of bottle. (Lingner later bought three
palatial mansions overlooking the Elbe and built the German Hygiene Museum.)
world's oldest fleet of paddle steamers
Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt, a.k.a. the Saxon Steamship Company, has been
in business since 1836. It currently has eight historic paddlewheel steamers
(some more than 120 years old) and two modern motorships. The company's
excursions include local cruises and longer trips to Meissen and Decin (in the
The world's oldest hillside suspension railway
The first passenger-carying hillside suspension railway was built in Dresden
between 1898 and 1901. It extends 274 meters or just over 300 yards from
Körnerplatz in Dresden-Loschwitz to a viewing platform in the area known as
The world's first coffee filter
Melitta coffee filters were invented and patented in 1908 by Melitta Beltz,
a 35-year-old Dresden homemaker.
The first industrially-produced condensed milk
The Pfund brothers developed condensed milk for coffee in 1886; long-life
pasteurization was introduced in 1900. Pfund's Dairy Shop, built in 1892, has
been described as "the world's most beautiful milk shop." It's still in business
as a cheese shop.
Germany's oldest Christmas market
was combined with commerce in Dresden as early as 1434. The result was the
Striezelmarkt, which was named after a type of fruity bread that later became
the famous Dresden Stollen.
Every year, on the second Sunday in Advent, the
world's biggest Stollen is cut. Apart from Stollen, handicrafts such as wooden
toys from the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge), ceramics from Lusatia, and
gingerbread specialties such as Pulsnitzer Lebkuchen are sold at the
Striezelmarkt Christmas Market.
The first European porcelain
In 1709, working in the vaults of the Dresden fortress under pressure from
the Saxon Elector, Augustus the Strong, alchemist Friedrich Böttger invented the
first European white porcelain, which was also the world's first hard porcelain.
To keep the recipe secret, manufacturing was moved to Meissen Castle, but
industrial espionage was rife even then, and porcelain was being made all over
Europe within a decade.
The world's biggest porcelain frieze
Fürstenzug, or Procession of the Princes, represents ruling members of the
Wettin dynasty over 800 years. It's 102 meters (335 feet) long, is made of
25,000 Meissen porcelain tiles, and was designed in 1907 by Dresden art
professor Wilhelm Walther.
The world's largest porcelain collection
The Porcelain Collection in Dresden's Zwinger contained more than 50,000 objects
at the time of Augustus the Strong (1694-1793) and is even larger today.
Augustus further enriched his collection by trading 500 of his best soldiers to
the rival state of Prussia in exchange for more than 150 vases.
The oldest stage equipment in Germany
The Schauspielhaus Theatre, erected in 1912-13 opposite the Zwinger, houses the
oldest fully-functional technical stage equipment in Germany. The hydraulic
stage machinery survived World War II. (It's also worth noting that the
Schauspielhaus Theatre was heated by Europe's first district-heating power
Dresden Werbung und Tourismus GmBh
Top, 3rd inset, 4th inset photos copyright © DWT/Christoph Münch.