The funicular pioneer Luis Zuegg made history in his young years and was a crucial figure for the development of funiculars in the 20th century
Luis Zuegg was born on Apil 26, 2009, in Lana. While his father was a fruit growing and stock breeding farmer, his mother owned the first fruit shop in Lana. After having completed secondary school in Merano he started studying at the Technical College in Graz, he returned to South Tyrol in 1903, where he dedicated himself to the first project, which was the electricity plant in Lana.
Already at the turn of the century the inhabitants of Lana had the idea to open up Monte San Vigilio and in 1909 the construction contract was conferred. Not to Zuegg, but to the famous Zurich engineer Emil Strub, who died before construction works started. Zuegg assumed this project and the funicular was inauguarted on August 31, 1912. From the beginning of WWI, Zuegg was deployed in the funicular sector and he constructed numerous funiculars as supplies for soldiers.
After having opened a factory for the processing of wood in Lana, Luis Zuegg had to close it due to the war and started, together with his brother to process fruit of the family to jam. In this way Zuegg lay the foundations for the still existing Zuegg AG.
In 1920, after WWI Luis Zuegg founded a drawing office for overhead railways. In this year also the funicular from Merano to Avelengo was built. Bleichert & Co. which was the most important funicular factory of the world, offered a contract to Zuegg, which he also signed. In this way the foundations for "Bleichert-Zuegg" was laid and in the years after numerous funiculars were built worldwide.
However, the economic situation was quite difficult and Luis Zuegg discontinued the production in 1936. In total, engineer Luis Zuegg applied for 7 patents in Austria, Italy and Switzerland from his groundbreaking inventions in ropeway construction. Emperor Franz Joseph I honoured Luis Zuegg for his achievements with a bravery medal and crown.
Luis Zuegg died on January 14, 1955, in Bordighera, Italy.