Erich Kurzel-Runtscheiner was a curator and deputy director of the Technisches Museum Wien (TMW) from 1928 to 1939 and 1945 to 1949. As member of the board of the Österreichischer Automobil Club (ÖAC) he was intensively involved as a journalist and engineer with the car invented by Siegfried Marcus (1831–1898). At the end of May 1939 Kurzel-Runtscheiner was forced into retirement on full pay on account of his membership of the fascist Heimwehr, his unconcealed support for the Dollfuß-Schuschnigg regime, and apparently because he had been married from 1912 to 1938 to the Jewish banker's daughter Elisabeth Thorsch (1887–1943), with whom he had three children. Kurzel-Runtscheiner's appeal against the forced retirement was rejected, but with the support of the director of the TMW and National Socialist Ludwig Erhard he found a position as head of the archive of Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (MAN) in Augsburg, where he remained until autumn 1944.
He was reinstated on 27 June 1945 as curator at the Technisches Museum Wien. Because of his Heimwehr past, he was not popular, above all with the museum's employees. Director Viktor Schützenhofer therefore informed him that he was being re-employed only as head of the Forschungsinstitut für Technikgeschichte (Research Institute for the History of Technology), but not as a member of staff of the Technisches Museum Wien. This arrangement remained in force after 1 January 1946, when Kurzel-Runtscheiner was formally appointed as deputy director of the Technisches Museum Wien. He retired in 1949.