Multimax (drilling machine)


August 19, 2022

Multimax was the brand name of a product family of hand drills and their accessories from the GDR, which was manufactured from 1965 to 1990. The draft came from the designer Wolfgang Dyroff, the drills were produced in the VEB electrical tools Sebnitz (VEB tool combine Schmalkalden). The drill intended for do-it-yourselfers was an integral part of everyday culture in the GDR due to the large number of units and the design that had remained unchanged for a long time.


The HBM 250 Multimax hand drill was developed in 1963. The drill was designed by the designer Wolfgang Dyroff, who worked as a research assistant at the Central Institute for Design in Berlin. In addition to other household appliances, Dyroff was primarily responsible for the design of switches and functional elements of electrical devices. The drills were produced from 1965 at VEB Elektrowerkzeuge Sebnitz in Saxon Switzerland, with other GDR companies also involved in the accessories. The name "Multimax" was intended to be a portmanteau of "multiple" and "maximum" for the diverse range of uses. The Multimax had a fairly modest output of 250 watts and was aimed at DIY needs. The wide range of uses was only made possible by the modular accessories, from the percussion drill attachment and the orbital sander to accessories that turned the drill into a hand-held circular saw or even hedge trimmers. From the beginning of the 1970s, the packaging of the Multimax showed a woman working as a do-it-yourselfer in dungarees and a sweater, her long hair protected against accidents at work. Today, this role model is interpreted as emancipated, also in comparison to the stereotypical portrayal of women in Western advertising. From 1966, the Multimax was also presented in consumer mail-order companies, but was not reliably available via GDR mail-order companies. The standard model HBM 250 (later HBM 251.1) cost 123.70 GDR marks (EVP), later drills from the VEB Elektrotools Sebnitz with higher performance and electronic speed control were significantly more expensive (those later drills did not carry the Multimax brand, but were called e.g. B. Smalcalda HBM 480). Theoretically, the Multimax was available in different colors, but in practice only the variant with a gray housing was usually available. The Multimax was "very well known and popular" in the GDR, and it was also exported to 28 countries. In 1969, the VEB issued a production license for the HBM 250 with drill stand to India. From 1976 to 1983, the drilling machine production of the VEB Elektrotools Sebnitz moved to the new location in Amtshainersdorf, a district of Sebnitz. In 1987, VEB Elektrowerkzeuge Sebnitz employed around 600 workers at the Sebnitz (Amtshainersdorf, Siedlerstrasse) and Dresden (Löbtauer Strasse) locations and manufactured 350,000 power tools per year in 15 basic types, including the Multimax. The Multimax was produced until the end of the GDR in 1989/90. In October 1990, Bosch acquired the Multimax production site, the power tools plant in Sebnitz, from the Treuhandanstalt. Bosch only took over the comparatively modern Amtshainersdorf site with around 300 employees from VEB Elektrowerkzeuge Sebnitz. To this day, Sebnitz is home to Robert Bosch Elektroinstrumente GmbH, a subsidiary of Robert Bosch Power Tools GmbH, which is still the largest and most important employer in the region. Like many other, highly standardized GDR consumer goods, it is considered by former GDR citizens to be a symbol of their shared past and a reason to exchange memories - its design, which has remained unchanged for more than 25 years, and its high level of robustness and durability, despite all its flaws, call for comparison with less Durability created