02.07.2024 - Mainz - Company-News

Renewal of a Mainz Landmark

Unveiling of restored Erdal Frosch celebrated on Rheinallee

The red frog has been missed for a long time. Starting today the protected Mainz landmark will again greet city residents and guests from its prominent perch. Werner & Mertz owner Reinhard Schneider unveiled the frog at a celebration with Rhineland-Palatinate Minister of the Interior Michael Ebling at his side. Highly visible from afar, the freshly restored “Erdal-Frosch” wearing a crown sits in a glass-enclosed tower on Rheinalle, close to Werner & Mertz headquarters.

The time and labor consuming restoration of the historic frog and the decision about its new place near the head office of Werner & Mertz are unmistakable declarations of the company‘s loyalty to its location. The manufacturer employs a workforce of more than 1,100 in Europe, 800 of whom work in Mainz.

“It’s a pleasure for me to see our landmark in its new splendor and to realize that more than ever, our traditional mascot stands for today’s and tomorrow‘s sustainable values of quality, trustworthiness and, not least of all, the exemplary handling of our natural resources in a functioning circular economy,“ said Werner & Mertz owner Reinhard Schneider.

Reinhard Schneider (right) proudly unveiled the restored Frosch as Rhineland- Palatinate Minister of the Interior Michael Ebling, who knows the Mainz landmark since his childhood, looked on. Photo: Werner & Mertz, Photographer: Marcus Steinbrücker

Frosch means a lot to Werner & Mertz and the City of Mainz

Werner & Mertz has been in buiness for more than 150 years and the red frog prince has been its brandmark for more than 100 years. First known as the brandmark of Erdal, the crowned red frog  later became the corporate logo of the entire group. Constructed in 1959, the frog is made up of two transparent plastic half-shells that can be illuminated from within. The protected industrial monument soon became a well-known sign of the Rhineland-Palatinate capital and, until 2019, sat in its “frog tower” on the factory grounds of the cleaning products manufacturer near the Rhine. As part of factory restructuring plans, experts carefully moved the frog to a protected hall, where they examined its construction and general condition. Then they developed a conservation concept and proposals for its restoration.

“The Erdal-Frosch is not just a distinctive landmark but also a symbol of the innovative strength of Werner & Mertz and its commitment to environmental protection. This historic monument stands for 150 years of corporate history marked by ecological responsibility and economic progress. I am delighted that we could support the restoration of the frog figure with state funds for the preservation of monuments. Now the Frosch shines again and remains a proud ambassador for Mainz and Rhineland-Palatinate,“ said Interior Minister Ebling.

A real wow effect arose as the Frosch was slowly unveiled to show off its new splendor. Photo: Werner & Mertz, Photographer: Marcus Steinbrücker

Restoration of one of Europe’s unique industrial monuments

The state of Rhineland-Palatinate provided 50,000 EUR for the conservation work on the protected landmark.   In the course of the restoration from 2019 to 2004, Werner & Mertz invested nearly 500,000 EUR in the Frosch tower and monument. The restoration was  directed by Friederike Waentig, professor for Conservation and Restoration of Art and Cultural Property at the Technische Hochschule Köln (University of Technology, Arts & Sciences).  “We presume that with regular maintenance, the frog will long remain a cultural monument and a landmark for the City of Mainz,“ said Waentig.

“The historic Frosch illuminated advertising for Mainz-based Werner & Mertz enriches the varied monument landscape of the state capital in a special way. It is among the few backlit advertising sculptures from the federal territory in the post-war era that have survived  (e.g., the Dortmund-Union-U from 1968). What’s so special is the preserved connection with the industrial plant along with the enthusiasm of company management and workforce for ‘their’ frog, ‘their’ cultural monument. All of that contributes to what we hope will be long-lasting preservation of this glowing advertising medium,“ said Alderwoman Marianne Grosse from the Mainz Buildings Department.

State Conservator Markus Fritz-von Preuschen added: „I am happy that we, as GDKE State Landmark Conservation, with our advice and funds, could help to restore an unusual protected illuminated advertisement, which is one of Europe’s oldest, and to return a landmark to Mainz.”

The frog, a 3.8-meter-high advertising sculpture of glass-reinforced polyester on a concrete base, is unique in Europe. Its size was just one of several challenges for the restoration.  The fields of monument conservation and restoration had no experience with such a sculpture. Waentig and her team developed methods for cleaning and protecting the frog figure. After the frog had been cleaned and its defective parts repaired, the concrete base was restored. The work continued with the complex installation of new energy-saving lighting and a new paint job in which the paint was applied to an intermediate layer so that the original paint was retained for monument conservation reasons. Now the frog shines again in its original splendor.

During the event after the unveiling, Michael Ebling praised Werner & Mertz and the frog: “Frosch represents a species that shows us how to go through life wisely.” Werner & Mertz, Photographer: Marcus Steinbrücker

Additional background information on the history of Frosch and the restoration of the cultural monument is available on the Website froschturm.de.