• FA-124234 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
  • FA-124235 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Everyday Life
Collection
Environmental Engineering
Exhibition
Everyday Life - directions for use
Epoch
beginning in 2000

"Ohropax Classic" ear plugs, 2005

A sound suppressor for the ears: "Ohropax" ear plugs have already been on the market for more than 100 years. A congenial product which makes it possible to keep the noise from the outside world at bay.

The Berlin pharmacist Maximilian Negwer invented "Ohropax" in 1907. Whilst searching for new products, he stumbled upon the topic of noise protection. At the time, this was a hotly debated topic in many of Europe's metropolitan areas. Inspiration struck whilst he was reading Greek mythology: as Homer reports, Ulysses sealed the ears of his companions with wax in order for them to be able to resist the enchanting song of the seductive sirens. Negwer tested out his idea and eventually found the optimal combination: cotton wool soaked in a blend of Vaseline and paraffin wax.

The pliable plugs proved to be easy-to-use and very effective. Right from the start, they prevailed against competing products. The decisive breakthrough was achieved when soldiers in World War I were equipped with "Ohropax".

The Viennese writer Peter Altenberg was one of the first supporters of the new product. He spoke about an "absolutely ideal way of sealing the ears" and, in June 1915, even Franz Kafka apodictically admitted: "Without Ohropax day and night, it simply would not work."

The company Ohropax expanded and relocated to Potsdam in 1924. After World War II, the company moved to Frankfurt am Main and, finally, to Bad Homburg, which is where the family business with its approximately 30 employees is still located today. Until 1990, the wax ear plugs were rolled by hand. Since then, they are manufactured fully automatically using two computer-supported high-tech production lines. The annual output lies at around 25 million wax ear plugs with an increasing trend.


Inv.Nr. 68872
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