Ernst Fehrer of Linz made an international name for himself with a groundbreaking invention in textile machine construction. The DREF II coarse yarn spinning machine system was used, among other things, to produce yarns for rocket engine nozzles, brake linings and heat protection clothing in the steel industry. Fehrer received the first Austrian State Prize for Innovation for this in 1979.
DREF II was produced by Dr. Ernst Fehrer AG in Leonding, which was founded in 1953 and advanced to become the world’s leading supplier of needle felting machines for the nonwovens and textile industries. In 1989, it was rated by the business magazine Trend as Austria’s strongest exporting company (export ratio 98 percent).
Fehrer, who had studied mathematics and physics, obtained more than 1200 patents for the construction of new textile machines. He was also honored, among other things, with an honorary doctorate from the Vienna University of Technology, which also awards the annual Dr. Ernst Fehrer Prize for the Promotion of Technical Sciences.