The Family of Salomon Bernhard Bling

Hop trader Salomon Bernhard Bing *1818 in Windsdorf was a dyer in Memmelsdorf, where his four children from his first marriage with Babette Tuchmann were born.

© We have the picture of Salomon Bing from Ignaz Bing's memoirs 'Tales From My Life', which Carolin Sommer - a member of the Bing family - translated into English. She kindly allowed us to use this photograph.

The children of Salomon Bing and Babette Tuchmann were :

Ida Bing *18.02.1838 in Memmelsdorf.  Her husband was Hirsch Ottenstein and the couple first lived in Gunzenhausen

Ignaz Bing *29.01.1840 in Memmelsdorf.  He was married to Ida Ottenstein and managed a toy factory in Nürnberg, which for some time was the largest in the world.

Adolf Bing *18.02.1842 in Memmelsdorf. He managed the toy factory together with his brother Ignaz.

Berhold Bing *04.02.1844 in Memmelsdorf.  He lived with his wife Fanny, né Schuler, at Bahnhofstrasse 11, subsequently at Dr. Heinrich-Eidam-Platz 14.  The couple had eight children and one of them, their daughter Louise, born 08.04.1880, died in the Kaunas Camp in Lithuania, together with her husband Henri Goldstein.

Salomon Bernhard Bing's request to move to the city of Gunzenhausen still exists. He justified his move with the following:

"(...) my place of residence in a larger town and specifically in the city of Gunzenhausen,

wherever the desired educational schools are available for my children

(...) I also choose especially the city because of its advantageous location for hops shopping,

for which the surrounding area offers an opportunity and because of its location on the railway, which makes it much easier for me to transport my hops (...) "

© Gunzenhausen City Archives

The children of Salomon Bing's second marriage were :
-    Antonia
-    Josephine
-    Marie
-    Heinrich
-    Oscar
-    Edmund
-    Bernhard

Unfortunately we know neither the name of his second wife nor the dates of birth of the children, but the five youngest were born in Gunzenhausen.

Ignaz Bing's family in London told us about his book "My Life" (Aus meinem Leben) that he had dictated to his secretary in 1917.  From this comes the following information, which we have summed up briefly :

Father Salomon Bing, who actually was a dyer, started a hop trading business in Gunzenhausen following his departure from Memmelsdorf.  Five further children were born here, so that already in their youth Ignaz and his siblings had to take care of their own livelihood.  Ignaz trained as a merchant in various towns and businesses.

In 1864 he founded a wholesale haberdashery business in Gunzenhausen with his brother Adolf.

He enjoyed writing poetry and wrote an award-winning composition "Sängergruß" for the local choir. As he associated with many business people in the town, in 1864 he applied for membership of the Cultural Society.  Jews had never been accepted as members and his application was rejected, although only barely, 7 votes to 6.

One person is said to have been particularly against it, the district judge Hermann Richter, a grandson of the writer Jean Paul, who is still known today. Hermann Richter  worked from 1851 to 1862 as a district judge and from 1862 to 1880 as district administrator in Gunzenhausen and repeatedly offered his grandfather's books in the official gazette, which he still had in stock as inheritance.

After his rejection Ignaz Bing published an epigram in the Gunzenhausen official gazette "New Sayings of Demokritos"

Freely translated :
It is good to try and sell what one cannot understand oneself
Do you want to acquire Jean Paul's masterpieces ?
Verily I know the right man for you
You can get them new and very cheap from him
What should he, who cannot himself think, do with a poet's gifts?

"The whole town laughed"

Subsequently in 1865 Ignaz and Adolf Bing moved their business to Nürnberg, Karlinenstrasse.

1866 they extended their business to include metal goods

1879 it became the "Nürnberger Metal Goods Factory, Bing Brothers"

1880 they have their own production of tin toys

1906 the company has 8000 employees and is the largest toy manufacturer in the world

1920 some 16.000 people are working for the Bings in four large factories

An annual catalogue was published with the company's production, with almost 1000 pages.

On 11th May 1869 Ignaz Bing had married the daughter of the Jewish teacher of Gunzenhausen, Ida Ottenstein.  They had six children, Anna, Bertha, Frieda, Marie, Siegmund and Stephan.

Bing-Familie um 1910 © „Aus meinem Leben“ von Ignaz Bing, erschienen 2004 in der Reihe Quodlibet, Hrsg. Jürgen Cieslik
Bing-Familie um 1910 © „Aus meinem Leben“ von Ignaz Bing, erschienen 2004 in der Reihe Quodlibet, Hrsg. Jürgen Cieslik

Bing Family around 1910 "Aus meinem Leben" (my memories) by Ignaz Bing, published in 2004 in the Quodlibet series by Jürgen Cieslik - © Verlag Marianne Cieslik: Ignaz Bing "Aus meinem Leben" , 2004 Jülich, mit freundlicher Genehmigung des Verlages Marianne Cieslik.

Ignaz Bing was an enthusiastic naturalist and in 1905 he discovered a new stalactite cave in the area known as Franconian Switzerland near Streitberg and named it the Bing Cave.  In 1908 he even gave a guided tour of the accessible areas to the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig. It can still be visited today.

Ignaz Bing died in Nürnberg in 1918.

His youngest son Stephan took over the company in 1919 and at the beginning ran it very successfully.  He made a name for himself as a railway builder, and left the company in 1927 in order to join the "Trix" company.  And so he was not responsible for the decline of the Bing empire two years later, when it was plunged into bankruptcy during the Great Depression.

He left Germany in 1938 and moved his family to England, where he founded the company "Trix Limited".
The Bing company was not able to recover and was broken up completely.

Bing carburetors for companies such as Triumph, Zündapp, BMW, Auto-Union or Hercules are, however, still produced by "Bing Power Systems". A company in Bamberg still sells Bing toys.

There was also a business man in Gunzenhausen called Emil Bing, but we haven't been able to find out if he was related to the above family.  An engineer, he registered an engineering business in Gunzenhausen in January 1902 at Hensoltstrasse 13.  But in November 1902 the entire works burned down, including the steam boiler shed, the machinery shed and the stables. 

Emil Bing subsequently moved his company to Nürnberger Strasse 58, where he had bought the premises for 11.598 Mark.  Between 1903 and 1914 he was constantly building and expanding the Bing machinery works.  Amongst others there are records of the construction of a steam saw, of furnaces, storage sheds and an iron shed for equipment.

However in 1916 he sold the whole company to Sigmund Bergmann for 90.000 Mark.  Where he then moved to is unknown.

"Maschinenfabrik Bing" plates can still be seen on some of the agricultural machinery in the Amslinger Museum in Muhr am See.