Gollmer & Hummel is a family business that has always changed and will continue to change in order to continue its worldwide successes. Whereas in 1872 Friedrich Gollmer weaved 1,500 meters of hemp hose by hand, 150 years later the company stocks 1 million meters of hose for a wide range of branches - from agriculture to firefighting and industry. Customers from 80 countries worldwide appreciate GH hose quality - made in Germany.
It shows: GH has faced technological innovations, various requirements of different user industries and last but not least historical as well as personal upheavals in every phase of its history.
From the interplay of continuity and change over the past 150 years, Gollmer & Hummel, with currently around 60 employees, draws the certainty that it is also optimally equipped for the years to come. With an unbroken passion for hoses!
Gollmer & Hummel was founded in 1872 by master rope maker Friedrich Gollmer, who learned the craft of hose weaving in Vienna. Back in the Black Forest town of Neuenbürg, he wove 1,500 meters of hemp hose in his first business year - by hand!
"That was an enormous feat of craftsmanship. Compared to these ancient times, today we produce this amount in only 1 to 2 days with modern machines," Christoph Schönthaler, Managing Director and 5th generation at Gollmer & Hummel, appreciates the achievement of his ancestor Friedrich Gollmer.
In retrospective, it is clear that Friedrich Gollmer vigorously pursued his idea of hose production in the years to come and invested in innovative semi-mechanical looms. He pushed his vision forward and was the founder of a true start-up in today's sense!
Albert Hummel joined Friedrich as a financial backer in 1891. In addition to financial resources, he contributed his name: Friedrich and Albert founded Gollmer & Hummel oHG. Albert left - his name remained.
At the end of the 19th century, the energy supply was problematic in many places. With the choice of location for the new company headquarters in Neuenbürg near the river Enz, Friedrich killed two birds with one stone: On the one hand, of course, there was space for the flourishing production with fully mechanized looms from England as well as the first own twisting mill - on the other hand, he tapped water power as an alternative source of energy!
His plans worked out: Black Forest hoses were awarded prizes and Gollmer & Hummel expanded throughout Europe as a specialist for fire hoses.
With Herrmann Gollmer, the 2nd generation joined the family business in 1904. The approaching First World War put the family and the company to the test, as all male employees except Herrmann were called up for military service. The female weavers were left behind to keep production going.
After this challenge, which was due to history, Friedrich Gollmer finally handed over the reins of the company to Herrmann and his daughter Helene in 1922 - after about 50 years. It was they who were to lead Gollmer & Hummel through the years of the Second World War.
Christoph Schönthaler looks into the company archives of that time: "It is documented that before the outbreak of World War II, 30 employees were employed and 15 flat looms were operated. New export markets such as Persia or South America were opened up. The war was an unimaginable, bitter break in this heyday. Everything simply came to a standstill. The family and the entire workforce held tightly together and by allocating raw materials, production could be resumed in small steps. And so everyone managed to overcome the crisis together. Things were looking up."
Herrmann and daughter Helene nevertheless did not rest on achieved successes and replaced the flat looms with modern circular looms. The needs of customers and requirements for fire hoses also changed. At that time, rubberized hoses were in demand. Gollmer & Hummel established a strategic partnership with Gummiwarenfabrik Simon and was thus able to serve this new market with the usual quality.
Herrmann Gollmer retired at the end of the 1950s and Helene took the reins.
Christoph Schönthaler looks back on his grandmother Helene: "She left her own footprints, which we can still touch and see. She introduced polyester threads for the production of our hoses back then, and to this day, multi-twisted polyester fibers are the basis of all GH hoses!"
From the early 1970s, Helene's son Erich Schönthaler gradually replaced his mother. He is remembered as a shrewd, diplomatic businessman. With him and the rubber-manchon production from specially developed compounds, the company secured a nose ahead of the market players from 1975 onwards. Gollmer & Hummel hoses were in demand worldwide.
When Erich Schönthaler suddenly passed away in 1984, his wife Eva stepped into the breach and took over the management of the business with a logical approach and conscientiousness.
Her son Christoph Schönthaler sums up appreciatively: "For my mother, this period of her life was an immense feat of strength. In addition to running the business, there was me and my two siblings, she had to raise."
Despite this burdensome challenge, further development did not fall by the wayside. Increasingly complex production processes demanded a spatial restructuring - so finally, in 1991, hose weaving and rubber production were combined at the Straubenhardt site. Beyond fire hoses, Gollmer & Hummel was able to expand its product range and open up new sales markets.
Since the mid-1990s, the driving force behind these developments has been Managing Director Matthias Rinke, who got to know and appreciate Gollmer & Hummel at a young age as a vacation jobber.
Over the years, the Straubenhardt plant has been continuously expanded. Most recently in 2021 with a new weaving mill in which modern circular looms are operated.
Christoph Schönthaler is confident about the future of the company: "With our dynamic team and cohesion, we are ideally equipped to continue to convince the market with high-quality, innovative products that are geared to demand."
To date, Eva Schönthaler, Christoph Schönthaler and Matthias Rinke share the management of the company.