17.06.2024 | In Focus

A story of devotion

Jakob Schuler’s story is one of passion, devotion and a special friendship. As a result of his work in Krupka (CZ), he is helping to preserve a piece of Swiss engineering ingenuity. His story shows how personal interests and professional knowledge can be combined to achieve greatness – an inspiration to us all.

A life in the mountains: Jakob Schuler’s journey from Braunwald (CH) to Krupka (CZ)

Jakob Schuler (64) is a man whose life has been shaped by highs and lows – literally. Born and raised in Braunwald, an idyllic car-free mountain village in the Canton of Glarus, Jakob has been fascinated with mountains and cable cars since way back when he was a youngster. He lost his father, a cable car technician and mountain guide, to an avalanche at the age of just 12. Two years later, Jakob and his three siblings relocated with their mother to Biel in Western Switzerland,

where he completed an apprenticeship as a machine mechanic and worked in locomotive maintenance for 24 years. When the old workshop closed, he had to look for a different career path and found his calling in geotechnics. For 17 years, he monitored the quality of the track ballast throughout Switzerland and carried out comprehensive studies and renovations.

Jakob Schuler sitting on one of Von Roll’s transverse seats


A friendship and a passion for cable cars

Jakob has always been passionate about cable cars. As long ago as when his father worked as a mountain guide and cable car technician in Braunwald, he was surrounded by cable cars and found them fascinating. His hobby took a surprising turn 18 years ago. A Czech surgeon by the name of Tom messaged him to ask about a model of a Von Roll chairlift that Jakob had built to a scale of 1:10. Even though Jakob initially refused, he eventually made Tom a model, marking the start of a friendship.

A year later, Jakob and his wife traveled to Czechia to visit his friend. Together, they set off for Krupka, the home of the last remaining Von Roll VR101 chairlift in the world – a particular rarity in the history of Swiss cable car systems. This line was built in 1952 in the historic little town of Krupka, approximately 1.5 hours away from Prague. For 17 years, Jakob traveled to Krupka every year to voluntarily inspect the cable car line.

Jakob and his team during inspections


Life and work in Krupka

Not only is Krupka – once known as Graupen – the home of the last Von Roll chairlift, it is also a charming destination with a rich cultural heritage and lovely inns. Jakob is a member of a team that maintains the cable car line, which means he is able to draw on his many years of experience and his knowledge.

Maintaining the Von Roll chairlift is a challenging task that involves a lot of mechanical work. For example, he uses a hoist to periodically remove the pulleys from the line, examine them in the workshop and then reassemble them. In addition to the mechanical work, Jakob’s tasks also include inspecting electrical components. With isolated screwdrivers, he checks that all connections are secure and there are no loose contacts. He considers safety measures such as wearing safety goggles and gloves to be hugely important in order to avoid accidents. Usually, the maintenance work takes around a fortnight and requires good preparation and safety measures.

The main difference between Von Roll chairlifts and others is that Von Roll, a Swiss manufacturer, enabled travel with transverse seats. This means that passengers face sideways in the chairlift, so are able to enjoy the beautiful panoramic views and have a unique travel experience.

Krupka in the Czech Republic


Why PB Swiss Tools?

Jakob relies on the high-quality tools made by PB Swiss Tools for his work. He particularly rates the screwdrivers with SwissGrip handles, which stand out from the competition with their color-coding system and secure grip. The isolated VDE screwdrivers are indispensable for electromechanics so that the open, live parts can be inspected safely. The L-wrenches are also an important part of his equipment.

“The quality of the PB Swiss Tools product is outstanding. It makes my work a great deal easier, especially as a result of the color-coding system and ergonomic handle”, says Jakob. “The team in Krupka used to work with old tools that had to be repaired often. With PB Swiss Tools, we have taken a big leap forward.”

Screwdrivers with SwissGrip in use





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