From the technicians' get-together to the Ball of Industry and Technology


The origin of today’s Ball of Industry and Technology goes back to the activities of the "Techniker Kränzchen" committee, which goes back over 170 years and was first documented in 1842. The net profit of the Techniker Kränzchen was dedicated to the support of worthy and needy auditors of the k. k. Polytechnical Institute in Vienna, the predecessor institution of the Technical University of Vienna. A similar dedication of the net profit of the present Ball of Industry and Technology still benefits the areas of research and education at the Technical University of Vienna.
In 1931, an increased integration of industry was initiated by renaming the Technicians' Ball to the Ball of Technology and Industry. Twenty years later, the event was given its current name of “Ball of Industry and Technology”.

Industrialisation inspired the Strauss family

The age of industrialisation with its vast variety of inventions triggered plenty of enthusiasm and great expectations, which also gripped famous musicians and composers of the time.
In 1842, Josef Lanner dedicated the “Geistesschwingen” waltz to the “listeners of technology in Vienna”.

Johann Strauss, the father composed the “Technicians' Ball Dances” and the “The Adepts” waltz.

Johann Strauss, the son is the composer of numerous pieces with the same dedication, including the electro-magnetic polka in 1852, the motor quadrille in 1853, the waltz accelerations in 1860 and the electrofor polka in 1865.

Josef Strauss, a graduate of the k. k. Polytechnical Institute in Vienna, was suddenly inspired to compose the waltz “Mein Lebenslauf ist Lieb’ und Lust” when he was a conductor at the Technicians' Ball in 1868. The paper on which he quickly jotted down the notes of the main melody was in the position of the Techniker Cercle for a long time, but unfortunately was lost in World War II. Since then, this waltz has been the traditional opening waltz of our ball.

Josef Strauss dedicated the “Streichmagnete” and “Combinationen” waltzes (1863 and 1865) and the Polka française “Tanz-Regulator” (1868) to the technicians.

Eduard Strauss composed some of the dances dedicated to the committee of the Technicians' Ball that had to do with technical inventions, for example the Telephon Polka of 1878, the fast Hectograph Polka of 1880 and the Mazur Herzenstelegraf Polka of 1881.
Handed-down documents show that Johann Strauss the father, Johann Strauss the son, Josef and Eduard Strauss personally acted as conductors at our events and balls.

A gift for the ladies

The organisers of the ball presented the ladies' present with little gifts: artful miniatures of current technical inventions or constructions of the time, such as an Edison Phonograph or a ferris wheel that could be fastened to a ball gown by a hook.

The Ball

At the times of the monarchy, one member of the imperial house was always a protector of the ball. From 1892 to 1911, this was Archduke Ferdinand Karl. In 1912 he was followed by Archduke Leopold Salvator.
In the first Republic, top politicians such as the presiding chancellor assumed the patronage of the ball. In the second Republic, the Balls of the Industry and Technology were under the auspices of the respective president or chancellor, who also repeatedly opened the ball personally.

The Young Ladies and Young Gents Commitee, led by the Ball President, opens the ball with a polonaise, the Fledermausquadrille and the traditional Linkswalzer to Josef Strauss’ “Mein Lebenslauf ist Lieb’ und Lust”.
The entrance of the guests of honour with representatives from the areas of industry and economy, followed by the rectors as well as government members, underscores the social significance of the ball. The connection to the Technical University of Vienna is honoured with a high number of dignitaries.

The guest list of the ball is dominated by members of the Techniker-Cercle and their circle of friends and relatives. The Techniker-Cercle assumes the organisation every year and ensures a dazzling ball and a successful result through honorary activities.

The atmosphere heated up thanks to the young members, who were always present in large numbers and happy to dance, and two bands who alternated playing in the "Goldener Saal", one specialising in Viennese waltzes, the other in international standard dances. The disco in the “Gläserner Saal” facilitated a transition to modern rhythms and also a change to a bar atmosphere.

The ball's atmospheric highlight was the Mitternachtsquadrille, in which every guest could take part.

Those who made it to the traditional end of the ball at 5 am could enjoy a contemplative close to the ball with “Brüderlein fein”, played with tender violins.
For years, the Ball of Industry and Technology was distinguished by the connection of technology, industry, economy and science with the vibrancy of youth. With its real elegance and its festive mood, it is one of the social highlights of Vienna's ball season.