Revisiting enterprise politics in the interwar Hungary: The case of The Rimamurány–Salgótarján Iron Works Co.

RÉKA VÁRKONYI-NICKEL

The Rimamurány–Salgótarján Iron Works Co. in Salgótarján started to run up from 1871. The people who lived in the workers’ colony of the Steelworks in Salgótarján differentiated themselves from the rest of the local residents not only spatially but also in their appearance, as a result of their higher standard of living. At the begining of the 20th century the major streets of the colony (Acélgyári Street) had macadam or stoned surface and were lit with public street lightning. The duty of the socalled Dwelling Master was to guarantee neat, clean, tidy streets within the colony. Steelworkers had more opportunity to visit the shops and barbershop than those men who lived within the downtown. This difference was partly due to their higher income and partly due to the fact that the services of the comany’s shop and the barber at the colony were much cheaper than those of other local barbers since it was ordered so by factory management. Workers’ houses were up to the standards of the time, they did not pay rent or just a very low price and workers had a possibility to build their own garden houses on the land of the company. All this fundamentally changed in the second half of the 1940s owing to post-war lack of raw material and Socialist ’modernization’ and uniformization. The period of communist dictatorship after World War II, nationalization of the works and Socialist ’modernization’ created trauma at the colony.