I have far too few memories of the Margina factory chimneys at work. I rather know it from the tales of those who have worked there for so many years. Lately, I have been passing by it not as often as I usually did. Maybe you have too – it stands right at the edge of Margina (Colonie), on the right side (see map). And it is grand! Or, was. Because now, whenever I see it, it appears to be degrading every time. Annexes have disappeared, walls have come down and so on…
Now, the building is supposed to be under the administration of a company from Bucharest. It is rumored to be scheduled for demolition. Whether it’s true or not, one Sunday afternoon I stopped and took a few photos of it. For the generations to come.
There once was a vinegar factory…
The railway between Lugoj and Ilia, built at the end of the 19th century, with a length of 81 km, facilitated the attraction of investors inside Margina. Therefore, in 1910, the Rozskatol Society in Budapest makes a request to a German Enterprise to elaborate a plan and begin construction of a factory that would chemically distill beech wood. This factory would start running in 1912 and last until the end of the First World War.
In 1921, the factory starts running again, this time with a majority of Romanian funds, and in 1930 it starts the manufacturing of acetone. The Sturdza Prince, owner of grapevines in Moldova and Basarabia, steps in, besides the Romanian Parliament, in order to stop the production of nutritional vinegar made out of wood because it was considered to be noxious. A short while after, the owners of the factory bought an installation that could produce vinegar from wine and also started selling pickled cucumbers and, later, a larger variety of pickled vegetables, with a capacity of 20 waggons per season.
There were over 600 souls working inside this factory
Between 1945 and 1947, the Margina vinegar factory stops its activity. It becomes nationalized on the date of 11 June 1948 and receives the name of Severin Wood Distillery (Distileria de Lemn Severin). 20 years later, this becomes the chemical section of the “Solventul” Conjunct of Timişoara. At that time, there were over 600 souls working inside this factory. In 1989, when this unit was in full process of modernization and extension, the Revolution takes it by surprise. Since 1990 and until this day, year after year, the factory has gone into a slow but steady decline.
Written by Alexandra Palconi. Translated by Doiniţa Spuză.
Photo credit: Flavius Neamciuc