Skip Navigation

History

The logos

The logos

Thyssen & Krupp merge to become thyssenkrupp AG on March 17, 1999. The new logo combines the established identifying elements: the Thyssen arch & the Krupp rings.

Read more
Beginnings
1811 - 1891
Krupp
Establishment of the cast steel factory by Friedrich Krupp


On November 20, 1811 Friedrich Krupp establishes a factory with two partners for the making of English cast steel and all products therefrom. After he succeeds in making high-quality cast steel (crucible steel) in 1816, he begins production of tanner's tools, coining dies and unfinished rolls. In 1817 the Imperial Mint in Düsseldorf confirms the quality of Krupp cast steel. In 1818 Krupp supplies his first coining die to the Prussian mint head office in Berlin.

Krupp
First delivery of rolling machines


Following the death of Friedrich Krupp, his widow Therese Krupp continues the running of the company, supported by her relatives and her then 14-year-old eldest son Alfred. Long and complicated tests are carried out to perfect the production of high-quality crucible steel. In 1830 Krupp begins to supply finish-machined rolls instead of his earlier unfinished rolls as these frequently crack due to incorrect machining by customers. The products are supplied with a guarantee of quality.

From 1833 Krupp manufactures complete rolling machines, initially in limited volumes, but after the customs barriers are lifted by the German customs association in 1834 the customer base is expanded. In addition, the purchase of the first steam engine in 1835 lowers production costs. Both these events boost sales and as a result the manufacturing shops are extended. Trips to other European countries attract new customers.

Krupp
Start of production of railroad equipment


Since the previously manufactured rolls are practically indestructible, demand for them - over the long term - decreases. However, the expansion of the railroads opens up virtually unlimited possibilities for durable cast steel. This triggers the company's first surge of growth. Supplies include axles and springs and in particular the seamless tires developed in 1852/53 by Alfred Krupp - sole proprietor of the company since 1848 - which are able to withstand the increasing running speeds without fracturing. In 1875 Alfred Krupp uses three superimposed tires as his trademark which goes on to become famous throughout the world.

Krupp
Order for 300 gun barrel ingots from the Prussian military authorities


Krupp has been experimenting with the manufacture of gun barrel ingots since 1847 and in the 1850s supplies individual orders to various customers. The order from the Prussian military authorities in 1859 is a breakthrough in the development of the company's second major production segment. Shortly afterwards Krupp starts production of complete artillery.

Krupp
Introduction of the Bessemer process


In 1862 Krupp builds the first Bessemer steel plant on the European continent, paving the way for the mass production of rails and steel sheet. This leads to another phase of vigorous expansion for the company. In addition, in 1869 Krupp commissions the first open-hearth furnace in Germany. Using pig iron and scrap charges, it produces steel of higher quality than Bessemer steel which for some products, e.g. railroad tires, can replace the more expensive crucible steel. However, crucible steel remains important for highly stressed machine components and gun barrels.

Krupp
Acquisition of iron ore deposits, iron and steel mills, and coal mines


The purchase of iron ore mines in the Lahn region triggers the start of the company's expansion into a vertically structured group.

Alfred Krupp wishes to avoid being dependent on external suppliers for his increasing raw materials requirements. In 1865 he acquires the Sayner iron and steel mill near Koblenz from the Prussian treasury, followed over the next few years by other iron and steel mills on the Rhine along with numerous ore mines on the Lahn and in the Westerwald region. To cover coal requirements he leases the Graf Beust colliery in Essen from 1864 - 1884 and buys the Hannover colliery near Bochum in 1872. By buying a share in the Spanish company Orconera Iron Ore Co. he at the same time gains access to low-phosphorus ores which are suitable for the Bessemer process. This means that Krupp is not forced to adopt the new Thomas process for smelting phosphorus-bearing ores, as many other iron and steel mills in the Ruhr area do. To transport the Spanish ore he establishes his own shipping company in Rotterdam in 1873.

Thyssen
Establishment of Thyssen, Fossoul & Co. in Duisburg


In 1867 August Thyssen invests in a company being set up in Duisburg by the Walloon industrialist family Bicheroux - his youngest sister had married into the family. He becomes the first commercial manager of Thyssen, Fossoul & Co., which makes hoop iron for barrels, crates, baling etc. After only four years in which he more than quadruples his investment, Thyssen leaves the company to start his own business.

Thyssen
Establishment of Thyssen & Co. in [Mülheim an der Ruhr-]Styrum


Together with his father as co-owner, on April 1, 1871 August Thyssen establishes the firm of Thyssen & Co. in Styrum near Mülheim an der Ruhr. On October 2, 1871 the company produces its first hoop iron. After the death of his father in 1877 August's younger brother Joseph (1844 - 1915) joins the firm. At first Thyssen & Co. only operates a steel and hoop iron rolling mill. In the course of time the brothers add a steelmaking shop, a tube mill and plate mill with galvanizing shop, a foundry and a machine shop. The latter becomes well-known for the manufacture of large gas machinery. Today the works belongs to Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG.

Krupp
The "General Directive" on corporate organization


As early as 1862 Alfred Krupp gives powers of attorney to a body of management independent of himself. In 1872 he issues the "General Directive" written by him and revised by the management board, which establishes the internal hierarchy from the supervisor and foreman to the company management, defining their specific duties and functions, and at the same time contains regulations concerning the company welfare schemes.

Krupp strives to alleviate the growing social problems brought about by industrialization by introducing company benefits. As early as 1836 a voluntary sickness and burial benefit fund is set up which is converted into a compulsory sickness and death benefit insurance scheme in 1853. In 1855 a pension fund is established, in 1858 a company bakery, which later evolves into the employees' retail store. From 1856 hostels are built for unmarried workers. 1861 sees the introduction of company dwellings for foremen. Workers' housing estates incorporating schools and branches of the retail store follow in 1863 and from the early 1870s grow apace. In 1870 the company acquires its own hospital.

Thyssen
August Thyssen becomes owner of Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser in Hamborn near Duisburg


From 1883 August Thyssen buys shares in the not especially flourishing coal mine Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser (founded in 1867 as Gewerkschaft Hamborn) and becomes a director of the mine. Its favorable location on the Rhine with its own docks, a link to the railway network and direct access to coal seem to him to be particular advantages in realizing his business ideas. Over the next few years he gradually buys up all the mine's stock. In 1889 he takes over as chairman of the board. On September 29, 1891 August Thyssen announces that together with his brother Joseph he is in possession of all of Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser's stock. A year earlier, on August 14, 1890, the board had decided to build a steelmaking shop and rolling mill directly next to pit 3. The growth of Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser into an iron and steel mill with its own coal base begins. The first steel is tapped from the open-hearth furnace on December 17, 1891. Both events of the year 1891 are later seen as the birth date of the Thyssen group. Today the main facility of Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG is still producing steel at the same site as over a hundred years ago.

Wilheminian period
1892 - 1917
Krupp
Acquisition of the Gruson works in Magdeburg


Following the death of his father in 1887, Friedrich Alfred Krupp expands the enterprise into a horizontally diversified concern. In 1886 the company had already acquired the Annen steel mill near Witten. In 1893 the Gruson works in Magdeburg is purchased (takeover agreement of 1892). In 1896/1902 Krupp takes over the Germania shipyard in Kiel (Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG Germania). Here Krupp takes up the construction of diesel engines in 1906 - Rudolf Diesel, in collaboration with Krupp and Maschinenfabrik Augsburg having developed the first working diesel engine in 1897.

Thyssen
First blast furnaces built in [Duisburg-]Hamborn: Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser expanded to an integrated iron and steel mill


In 1895 August Thyssen takes the final step in setting up an integrated iron and steel mill when Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser in Hamborn near Duisburg builds its own blast furnace plant. In the subsequent years he systematically expands the company by only buying or founding firms which add to the vertical integration of the group.

Thyssen
Baling hoop rolling mill built in nearby Dinslaken


To add to its manufacturing capacities, in 1896 Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser decides to build a baling hoop rolling mill. Due to a lack of labor and housing space in the [Duisburg-]Hamborn area, this mill is set up in nearby Dinslaken, linked to the Hamborn site by a works railway. In 1937 Europe's first fully automated wide strip rolling mill is installed in Dinslaken; after the end of World War Two it is dismantled on allied orders and transported to the Soviet Union.

Krupp
Establishment of an iron and steel mill in Rheinhausen near Duisburg


The group's pig iron, crude steel and rolling mill basis is strengthened in 1896 by the establishment of an iron and steel works in Rheinhausen, which in 1904 is given the name Friedrich-Alfred-Hütte. The adoption of the Thomas process leads to a significant increase in steel production. To secure the phosphorus-bearing iron ores needed for this process, Krupp acquires various ore mines in Lorraine in 1889 and 1894 and near Gelnhausen on the River Lahn in 1906/07. In 1907 a workshop is set up in the Friedrich-Alfred-Hütte mill for structural steel engineering and bridge building, which in 1941 is made into an independent company Fried. Krupp Stahlbau Rheinhausen. In the years 1982 to 1993 the phased closure of the Rheinhausen plant is implemented.

Krupp
Acquisition of the Hannibal colliery near Bochum


The further development of the business into a vertically structured concern is systematically continued with the expansion of the coal base. In 1889 Krupp acquires a majority stake in the Ver. Sälzer & Neuack colliery in Essen (purchase 1901). After the acquisition of the Hannibal colliery in 1899 Krupp then purchases a 50% shareholding in the Emscher-Lippe coal mine near Datteln (100% in 1928).

Thyssen
'Aktiengesellschaft für Hüttenbetrieb' established, today North Duisburg landscape park


In 1902 August Thyssen founds Aktiengesellschaft für Hüttenbetrieb (stock corporation for iron and steel production) in the then still independent town of [Duisburg-]Meiderich to cover pig iron requirements for his open-hearth steel mills in Mülheim an der Ruhr and [Duisburg-]Hamborn. After closure of the operation in 1985, the blast furnace plant is converted into a landscape park under the IBA Emscherpark project and private initiatives.

Krupp
Conversion of the company Fried. Krupp into a stock corporation


When Friedrich Alfred Krupp dies suddenly in 1902 at the early age of 48 his elder daughter Bertha Krupp inherits the company. By will of the late owner the company is converted into a stock corporation in 1903. The heiress retains all the stock apart from the four shares required by law. The company's management is now in the hands of the directors and supervisory board. As Bertha Krupp is still a minor, her mother, Margarethe Krupp, exercises her rights as proprietor and thus takes over the helm of the company. In 1906 Bertha Krupp marries the counselor of legation Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, who is granted the right by royal Prussian decree to bear the name Krupp as a prefix to his own family surname. At the end of 1906 he is appointed vice chairman of the supervisory board of Fried. Krupp AG and from 1909 to the end of 1943 acts as its chairman. In the subsequent years the company undergoes strong expansion.

Thyssen
In-house trading and shipping organization established, internationalization of he group


The in-house trading and shipping network is initially geared to the locations of the ore mines acquired and their shipping routes:
To allow iron ore to be transported at low cost via the River Rhine to meet the rising requirements of the Hamborn and Meiderich blast furnace plants, the first step in 1903-1905 is to build the Schwelgern port to supplement the existing Alsum works port. After the Schwelgern port goes into operation, in 1906 Thyssen founds Transportkontor Vulkan GmbH, [Duisburg-]Bruckhausen, with a branch in Rotterdam, in particular to ship ore arriving in Rotterdam up the Rhine.

1910 sees the establishment of N. V. Handels- en Transport Maatschappij Vulcaan, Rotterdam, an ocean shipping company aimed at making the Thyssen group independent of the international freight market.

From 1912 a number of company-owned branch establishments are set up in the Mediterranean area. Freighters can bunker coal there en route to the Russian or Indian ore mines, and can also deliver bunker coal or freight for third parties. This provides the vessels with freight from Rotterdam or Newcastle for at least part of their journey, helping reduce operating costs. In-house branches are established in Algiers, Port Said, Suez, Oran, Naples, Bona, Bizerte, Tangier and Genoa. In 1913 Thyssen turns its attention to Latin America, founding Deutsch-Überseeische Handelsgesellschaft (German Overseas Trading Company) in [Duisburg-]Hamborn with a branch in Buenos Aires. Thyssen's own ships transport ironware to Argentina and return to Europe carrying grain.

Thyssen
Steel mill built in Hagendingen / Lorraine


In 1910 a new steel mill is built in Hagendingen / Lorraine, this time near to minette ore deposits rather than coal. The vertical company organization is expanded to Lorraine. Coal and coke are supplied to the Lorraine steelmaking operations from the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial area, and minette ore from Lorraine is transported back to the Ruhr for smelting. The Thyssen AG steel mill in Hagendingen starts production in 1912. At the end of the First World War the mill is expropriated by the French authorities.

On a similar basis, August Thyssen builds a steel mill in Caen near the iron ore mines of Normandy.

Krupp
Development of stainless, acid-resistant steels


In 1908 Krupp begins production of electrical steel. In 1912 after intensive research the first stainless, acid-resistant steels are developed. NIROSTA and V2A quickly find a wide range of applications especially in the chemical and food processing industries, in medicine and the building trade. They are a byword for quality the world over. The spire of the Chrysler building completed in New York in 1929 is faced with panels of the new stainless steel.

Thyssen
Thyssen acquires a leading position in the west German iron and steel industry behind Krupp


To counter the lack of housing, which made it difficult to attract labor to the as yet underdeveloped western Ruhr area, in 1880 Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser for the first time sees the necessity to build housing. This starts on a large scale in 1895/96. By the end of 1913 Thyssen's mining operations own 8,750 housing units for their 15,500 employees and around 850 civil servants, providing homes to some 44,000 people.

This not only means that works housing is available for one in two Thyssen mine workers, but also that around 1/3 of the population of Hamborn can live in accommodation from Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser. August Thyssen also supports the development of a corresponding infrastructure.

In the last year before the First World War, the plants in [Duisburg-] Hamborn, Dinslaken (strip and tube rolling mill) and [Duisburg-]Meiderich (pig iron) employ almost 11,000 people, while a further 16,000 work in company-owned mines and coking plants.

Thyssen
War requires start of arms production


In the First World War industrial production, which initially suffers a sharp decline, soon expands again to support the war effort. As at other steel companies, Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser produces armaments, including artillery shells and tracks for light railways. As in the rest of Germany's war economy, Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser compensates for labor shortages by employing women, Belgian civilians and prisoners of war.

Krupp
Development of a long-barrel gun with 130 km range ("Paris gun")


To meet government orders, production in World War I increases to more than five-fold its pre-war level. Particularly well known is the heavy 42 cm mortar "Big Bertha". Krupp invests most of the profits made at the beginning of the war in sophisticated new factories for which the company later has no use.

The initially high reserves are eroded by soaring personnel and social costs during and after the war and by the necessary production changes.

Weimar Republic
1918 - 1933
Thyssen
Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser renamed and mining operations transferred to an independent company, loss of foreign interests


To minimize the impact of attempted socialization in the coal and steel industry, in 1919 Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser is renamed "August Thyssen-Hütte, Gewerkschaft" and the mining operations transferred to an independent company, Gewerkschaft Friedrich Thyssen, named after August Thyssen's father. Thyssen's foreign interests in the countries of the victorious allies and the Soviet Union are expropriated.

Krupp
Switch to peace-time production


After the War and as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, Krupp adapts production, beginning among other things with the manufacture of locomotives, trucks, agricultural machinery and excavators. The associated costs and losses brought about by dismantling, inflation and the occupation of the Ruhr lead to the brink of a crisis in 1924/25 which can only be averted with drastic rescue measures.

The board of directors' proposal to close the Krupp works or contribute them to the soon to be established Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG is rejected by Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. In the following years the company is successfully stabilized, with the focus on streamlining the processing operations and expanding stainless steel production.

Krupp
Continued expansion to vertically and horizontally structured group


As early as 1911 Krupp had concluded a syndicate agreement with Westfälische Drahtindustrie in Hamm (Westphalian wire industry) and in 1915 acquried all the shares in the Schlesische Nickelwerke mining company near Frankenstein (Silesia). In 1919 Krupp acquires a majority stake in the sheet rolling mill Capito & Klein AG, Benrath (transfer agreement 1938). In 1921 Fried. Krupp AG concludes operating and syndicate agreements with the mining companies Ver. Helene and Amalie in Essen (acquired 1927) and Ver. Constantin der Große in Bochum (majority shareholding 1927). In 1927 Krupp acquires a majority stake in Norddeutsche Hütte AG in Bremen, and in 1929 in Harburger Eisen- und Bronzewerke AG. Krupp is also a major partner in the establishment of Badische Wolframerzgesellschaft mbH in Söllingen in 1928.

Thyssen
August Thyssen dies at his residence Schloss Landsberg near Essen


Upon the death of August Thyssen, his industrial enterprises are inherited by his sons Fritz Thyssen and Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. The other two children, Hedwig and August jr., have already been compensated beforehand. In 1928 the residence is transferred to the August Thyssen Foundation Schloss Landsberg. From 1993 the castle is used as a conference and seminar center for the group.

Thyssen
Major parts of the Thyssen group transferred to Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG


In 1925 the need for capital and the excess capacities on the German steel market convince August Thyssen, by then over 80, to agree in principle to transfer his companies to a new merged group, Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, bringing together all coal and steel companies in the Ruhr area with the exception of Hoesch, Gutehoffnungshütte, Mannesmann, Klöckner and Krupp. The aim of the merger is to solve the cost and production problems facing the iron and steel industry caused by excess capacities. A few weeks after August Thyssen's death (April 4, 1926) his son Fritz and his nephew Hans (for the Joseph Thyssen line) agree to transfer their Thyssen companies to Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG.

Fritz Thyssen is appointed supervisory board chairman of the new group. Upon foundation of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, Thyssen's coal and steel operations are valued at 26% of the nominal capital stock of 800 million reichsmarks. Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza does not transfer his industrial inheritance to Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, but initially combines these companies in August Thyssen'sche Unternehmungen des In- und Auslandes GmbH.

Krupp
Krupp markets WIDIA tool metal


Sintered tungsten carbide was developed by the "Osram study society for electrical lighting" to replace diamonds as a material for machining metal. Not having the equipment to exploit this material on an industrial scale, Osram sells the license to Krupp at the end of 1925. In 1926 Krupp brings sintered carbide onto the market under the name WIDIA (acronym for WIe DIAmant = like diamond). Its exceptional hardness and wear resistance represent a major breakthrough in tool engineering. The new product group performs very well and WIDIA soon becomes a synonym for sintered carbide.

Krupp
The blast furnace plant of the Essen-Borbeck iron and steel mill goes into operation


In 1917 Krupp had already built a large steel melting shop (Martinwerk 7) in Essen-Borbeck, to which a rolling mill was added in 1922/23. With the completion of the blast furnace plant, an integrated iron and steel works is formed which is among the most advanced in Europe. It becomes the center of the group's stainless steel production which is gaining importance in particular for the construction of chemical processing equipment.

Also commissioned in 1929, the 15,000 ton forging press - at the time the biggest in the world - is capable of producing high-pressure boilers from special steel ingots weighing up to 300 tons. Both plants are completely dismantled after World War Two. The undamaged steel plant is transported to the Soviet Union, the forging press to Yugoslavia.

Third Reich
1933 - 1945
Thyssen
Establishment of August Thyssen-Hütte AG as an operating company of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG


In 1933/34 Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG is decentralized to improve its management function. Factories with similar production priorities are combined and spun off into so-called operating companies. Their assets remain with the group holding company, which also performs strategic functions. The company in which the factories in the Duisburg area are combined is named August Thyssen-Hütte AG, after the founder of the region's most important iron and steel mill.

It includes the operations Thyssenhütte, Hütte Ruhrort-Meiderich, Hochöfen Hüttenbetrieb, Niederrheinische Hütte and Hütte Vulkan. The main products of the export-oriented Thyssenhütte mill are steel sections and semis, which are shipped to customers via the Rhine.

Krupp
Establishment of Krupp Treibstoffwerk GmbH


After 1933 Krupp is closely integrated in national socialist economic policy. In the effort to become self-sufficient, not only is indigenous coal used to produce fuel and oil but also the domestic ore basis is further expanded, with the Renn process developed by Krupp in 1929 permitting the reduction of low-grade ores.

Under the Four-Year Plan the state authorities intervene in the company's production planning. The production of locomotives, trucks and ships is strongly expanded and armaments production resumed, albeit on a much smaller scale than during World War One. The 80 cm railroad gun "Dora" completed in 1942, only two of which were ever produced, represents the biggest gun ever built but is already obsolete, being no match for aerial warfare. In 1938 the heavy cruiser "Prinz Eugen" is launched from the Germania shipyard, where many of the German submarines are also built during World War Two.

Thyssen
The supervisory board chairman of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, Fritz Thyssen, rejects the German invasion of Poland and flees to Switzerland


August Thyssen's eldest son Fritz did not wish to become chief executive of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG when it was founded. Instead, as the biggest single private shareholder (26%) he is elected chairman of the supervisory board. On May 1, 1933 he joins the NSDAP with great hopes of organizing the party's economic policy along corporatist lines. However these ideas are soon no longer in line with those of the party. After the state murders committed in the so-called Röhm putsch Fritz Thyssen distances himself more and more from the NSDAP and its aims, even if Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG continues to play an important role in the Nazi's autarky and armaments economy. He does not leave the NSDAP or the Reichstag but shows his rejection of the regime through small gestures (borrowing from the "Jewish" banker Simon Hirschland, Essen; financial support for the family of the imprisoned Martin Niemöller, etc.). He breaks openly with the regime after the German attack on Poland.
In an open telegram to Hermann Göring, Fritz Thyssen refuses to appear at a Reichstag session in Berlin on September 1, 1939 to ratify the German invasion of Poland. Pushed by his family he flees with them first to Switzerland, later to France. There he is overtaken by the events of the war and is unable to emigrate to Argentina as planned. Unoccupied Vichy France hands him and his wife Amélie over to the German Reich at the end of 1940. The state confiscates his assets, thus gaining control over the business policy of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG.

Thyssen
The war effort of August Thyssen-Hütte AG


The rearmament policy pursued from the mid-1930s initially has little effect on August Thyssen-Hütte AG, which has been assigned responsibility for semifinished products within Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG. This changes with the outbreak of war: In the regulated war economy production becomes increasingly difficult in the face of shortages of construction materials, raw materials, labor and energy. The labor shortage caused by the conscription of employees combined with increasing arms requirements is offset by the use of foreign labor and prisoners of war.

Krupp
Acquisition of majority shareholding in Deutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG Bremen "Deschimag"


This transaction has to be seen in the context of the necessities of war. "Deschimag" widens the range of the Krupp Germania shipyard to include larger ships and submarines. In the same year the structural steel activities of the Friederich-Alfred-Hütte mill are transferred to an independent company Fried. Krupp Stahlbau Rheinhausen, originally with the aim of relocating the operation away from the cramped site of the Rheinhausen steel plant to give both operations room for further expansion. With an increasing number of men being drafted, there is a serious shortage of labor. To solve the problem Krupp - like other German companies - employs foreign laborers including prisoners of war.

Krupp
Conversion of Fried. Krupp AG into a sole proprietorship


In December 1943 Fried. Krupp AG is converted back into a sole proprietorship and transferred to the eldest son Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach as sole proprietor. He takes over the firm at a time when the munitions authorities and semi-private control bodies are intervening to an even greater extent in business activities. Increasing production demands are set against a shortage of labor and air raid damage. In an effort to overcome the problem, from 1943 activities are relocated to areas less vulnerable to aerial attack.

Thyssen
The Thyssenhütte mill is finally brought to a standstill after a heavy air attack


During the Second World War the Thyssenhütte mill is attacked 96 times by Allied bomber units, but only two of the raids are a major success. A heavy attack in October 1944 halts production only briefly and it is not until the air raid of January 22, 1945 that the mill is finally brought to a standstill after heavy damage to power and transportation facilities. On March 28, 1945 Hamborn is occupied by US troops. After the end of the war the workers are occupied with clear-up work as the Allies refuse the mill a production license.

Bonn Republic
1945 - 1997
Krupp
The company is placed under Allied control


At the end of the war approx. 32% of the Essen works have been destroyed and 29% badly or very badly damaged. As a result of dismantling the company loses among other things the Essen-Borbeck steel plant and the Germania shipyard, which is liquidated in 1963. The Gruson works in Magdeburg is expropriated. The coal and steel operations are severed under a divestment plan. As a result the company loses its raw materials and steel base. The remaining manufacturing operations are organized into independent companies. The company's assets are placed under the control of the military government and its management in the hands of a British officer. In 1945 Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach is taken into custody and in 1948 sentenced by an American military tribunal along with ten of his senior staff. As part of a general amnesty the high commissioner for Germany, John McCloy, grants the prisoners early release in January 1951.

Thyssen
Dismantling halted at the Thyssenhütte mill


On October 16, 1947 it is officially announced that the Thyssenhütte mill is also to be dismantled as part of the Allied policy to reduce Germany's industrial potential and compensate the countries particularly affected by the Second World War. In April 1948 the British dismantling office in Hamborn commissions the first German firms to undertake dismantling work. This work is accompanied by numerous protests by the workers affected and by the people of Duisburg, and these protests are also directed at the dismantling firms. Politicians from all parties, churches and unions show their solidarity.

The Petersberg Agreement of November 22, 1949 signals the end of dismantling for many western German firms, including Thyssenhütte. The Western Allies continue their deconcentration and reorganization of the western German coal and steel industries: By Allied order, Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG and its operating companies are liquidated.

Thyssen
Reestablishment of August Thyssen-Hütte AG


Six months after the Petersberg Agreement, in May 1950, reconstruction work begins at the Thyssenhütte mill. The first blast furnace is blown in on May 7, 1951, and in the same year an open-hearth furnace restarts production. With the entry into force of the ECSC Treaty, all Allied restrictions on production are removed on July 28, 1952. As part of the break-up of the western German coal and steel sector Thyssenhütte is split off from the Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG group and reestablished on May 2, 1953 as August Thyssen-Hütte AG; the new company receives only the assets of Thyssenhütte.

In 1955 the first hot wide strip mill installed in Germany after the war goes into operation, becoming the central facility in Thyssen's production, now focused on flat steel. It gives the company new possibilities in the production of sheet steel.

Krupp
Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach resumes management of the Krupp Group


As part of the Allied dismantling process, sequestration and divestment orders are placed on the firm's coal and steel assets. The steel plant in Rheinhausen together with the Krupp mines in Essen, on the Rhine and in the Harz-Lahn region are transferred to the parent company Hütten- und Bergwerke Rheinhausen AG, and the coal mining assets in the Bochum region are contributed to the newly established unit companies Steinkohlenbergwerk Hannover-Hannibal AG (1954) and Bergbau AG Constantin der Große (1953). The coal and steel operations are placed under a divestment order. In November 1953 Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach appoints Berthold Beitz (1913 - 2013) as his chief executive.

Thyssen
Start of horizontal diversification of August Thyssen-Hütte AG


The horizontal diversification of August Thyssen-Hütte AG as a steel producer is served by numerous significant acquisitions.
In the mid-1950s the main products of August Thyssen-Hütte AG are semis, sections and flat steel. The company broadens its product range in 1956 by combining with Niederrheinische Hütte AG, a producer of wire rod and bar with considerable wire processing interests. The acquisition of a majority stake in Deutsche Edelstahlwerke AG (1957), the largest stainless steel producer of the time, adds stainless and quality steels to the range.

Steel tubes and heavy plate are added with the acquisition of Phoenix-Rheinrohr AG Vereinigte Hütten- und Röhrenwerke (1965), a leading German pipe manufacturer alongside Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG. The merger of August Thyssen-Hütte AG and Hüttenwerk Oberhausen AG in 1968 is designed not to diversify the range further but to add capacity in raw materials and iron and steel production. All the link-ups of the 1950s and 1960s result in a concentration on the most cost-effective facilities for the production and processing of iron and steel. At the same time a rapid increase takes place in the size of steelmaking facilities regarded as optimal. In the mid-1960s August Thyssen-Hütte AG is Europe's biggest steel producer and number five in the world.

Thyssen
Establishment of Fritz Thyssen Foundation


Fritz Thyssen's heirs, his wife Amélie Thyssen and daughter Anita Gräfin Zichy-Thyssen, establish the Fritz Thyssen Foundation on July 7, 1959, contributing a significant part of their assets, nominally DM100 million in August Thyssen-Hütte AG stock, to the foundation to promote the sciences.

Fritz Thyssen's heirs, his wife Amélie Thyssen and daughter Anita Gräfin Zichy-Thyssen, establish the Fritz Thyssen Foundation on July 7, 1959, contributing a significant part of their assets, nominally DM100 million in August Thyssen-Hütte AG stock, to the foundation to promote the sciences. Earlier Fritz Thyssen himself had considered the idea of foregoing his property in order to prevent the dismantling of the Thyssenhütte mill. When his widow and daughter set up the foundation, the fear of dismantling has long since disappeared but the memory of the time when the entire Thyssenhütte mill was being considered for demolition has by no means faded. Thus Amélie and Anita combine their appreciation to the company management and staff with thanks to the federal and state governments for their help during the reconstruction. It is the first large private scientific foundation to be set up in the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War.

Thyssen
Addition of a trading organization


In parallel with the horizontal diversification (see 1956) the addition of a trading organization begins in 1960. After the break-up and liquidation of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG its trading activities were initially combined in a holding company, Handelsunion AG. In 1960 August Thyssen-Hütte AG buys a blocking minority in Handelsunion AG, called Thyssen Handelsunion AG after 1969, which is systematically increased in the following years. From 1973 Thyssen Handelsunion AG is a wholly owned subsidiary of August Thyssen-Hütte AG. Despite this link with August Thyssen-Hütte AG, Thyssen Handelsunion AG is not limited exclusively to business with Thyssen steel. In the following decades the company evolves from a straight trading company into a service provider. In the mid-1990s a reorganization begins as the new core Business Areas materials, industrial and facility services and project management are defined.

Krupp
Establishment of Fried. Krupp Hüttenwerke AG and expansion of steel base


Under the Allied divestment order Gewerkschaft Emscher-Lippe near Datteln is sold in 1954. In 1956 the majority shareholding in Bergbau AG Constantin der Große is sold to Bochumer Verein für Gussstahlfabrikation AG. The remaining coal and steel operations are combined to form "Hütten- und Bergwerke Rheinhausen AG" in 1960. In 1965 the new group company Fried. Krupp Hüttenwerke AG is formed following the merger with Bochumer Verein für Gussstahlfabrikation AG.

With this merger the company begins to re-establish a broad steel base. In 1974 Fried. Krupp Hüttenwerke AG acquires an initial 26% stake in Stahlwerke Südwestfalen AG which by 1977 has increased to 97.1%. In 1980 Krupp Hüttenwerke AG is renamed Krupp Stahl AG, into which Stahlwerke Südwestfalen is merged in 1984.

Krupp
Conversion of the sole proprietorship into Fried. Krupp GmbH


After the death of the proprietor Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach in 1967 his assets are contributed to the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation established by him, made possible by his son Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach's renunciation of his inheritance. The purpose of the Foundation is to preserve the unity of the company and to serve philanthropic purposes. The Foundation is the sole shareholder. Berthold Beitz (1913 - 2013) is appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation. The Allied divestment order ("Mehlem Treaty" 1953) on the coal and steel holdings is lifted.

Thyssen
Specialization through cooperation


In the final phase of the horizontal diversification August Thyssen-Hütte AG undergoes specialization through cooperation. In 1969 Mannesmann AG and August Thyssen-Hütte AG agree a division of responsibilities along the lines of "tubes to Mannesmann, rolled steel to Thyssen". Steel tube and pipe production, which came to August Thyssen-Hütte AG through the acquisition of Phoenix-Rheinrohr AG Vereinigte Hütten- und Röhrenwerke, is carried out jointly with Mannesmann AG in Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG, which is initially 1/3 owned by August Thyssen-Hütte AG and 2/3 by Mannesmann AG. In return Mannesmann AG transfers its rolled steel production to August Thyssen-Hütte AG.

Krupp
Expansion through horizontal diversification


In 1970 Fried. Krupp GmbH acquires two shares amounting to 82% of Polysius AG in Neubeckum, a leading cement plant engineering company. In 1964 Krupp had already acquired a majority stake in Atlas-Werke AG in Bremen and thus in its subsidiary MaK Maschinenbau Kiel GmbH. 1974/75 sees the takeover of Heinrich Koppers GmbH in Essen, a leading supplier of coke-oven plant and coal gasification technology.

In parallel with the investments in plant engineering, the mechanical engineering activities are expanded: The acquisition of a 75% interest in Maschinenfabrik Buckau R. Wolf AG in Grevenbroich in 1974 is followed by the takeover of Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH in Bonn (1977) and Gildemeister Corpoplast Maschinen GmbH in Hamburg (1980). In 1985 Fried. Krupp GmbH acquires a majority shareholding in Werner & Pfleiderer in Stuttgart, a manufacturer of special machinery for the chemical and plastics industry and industrial bakery equipment. In 1978 Fried. Krupp Hüttenwerke AG purchases 58.2% of the shares in Gerlach-Werke GmbH, one of the most advanced drop forging operations in Europe.

Thyssen
Growth into a conglomerate focused on steel, capital goods, trading and services


The acquisition of Rheinstahl AG in 1973 broadens the business base and at the same time reduces dependency on the cyclical steel sector. Rheinstahl AG is mainly engaged in manufacturing.
The merger of August Thyssen-Hütte AG and Rheinstahl AG strengthens production and processing capacities for iron, steel and stainless steel and at the same time establishes an extensive capital goods base with activities in locomotives, engineering, shipbuilding, wagon building and construction and heating equipment. The wide-ranging activities of Rheinstahl AG are combined with the corresponding Thyssen businesses in four new business groups Capital Goods and Manufactured Products, Trading and Services, Stainless Steel, and Steel.
The structural change is reflected in a change of name in 1977 from August Thyssen-Hütte AG to Thyssen Aktiengesellschaft vorm. August Thyssen-Hütte, which is shortened to Thyssen Aktiengesellschaft in 1997. To document to the outside world that Rheinstahl AG represents the manufacturing business of the Thyssen group, in 1976 its name is changed to Thyssen Industrie AG, which, augmented by Krupp activities, becomes thyssenkrupp Industries in 1999.

Thyssen
Internationalization and further vertical diversification


Already in the early 1970s August Thyssen-Hütte AG considers ideas to strengthen the group's international focus. Plans to produce steel at different places around the world and process it in Duisburg are abandoned after the 1973 oil crisis. In an effort to expand the business base and reduce the dependency on steel The Budd Company (USA) is acquired in 1978. At the time of the acquisition this US conglomerate is mainly engaged in automotive components and numerous capital goods.

The further globalization of the group is supported in the 1990s by a concentration on selected fields of business holding good market and earnings potential. Worthy of mention in this connection are the acquisitions of the machine tool manufacturer Giddings & Lewis Inc. (USA) and Copper and Brass Sales Inc. (USA), a leading trading and service center for nonferrous metals in North America, in 1997 and of Dover Elevators (USA), market leader in hydraulic elevators in North America, in 1998.

Krupp
Reorganization and expansion of Group


Fried. Krupp GmbH is organized into a holding company. Group subsidiaries formerly managed as operating departments are made into independent companies.
The holding company takes charge of the strategic management of the subsidiaries which are responsible for their own earnings. The aim is to expand existing businesses and establish new ones.

The 1980s and 1990s are also characterized by the effort to strengthen and expand the group's own position in the market worldwide. To this end mergers and alliances are entered into with other companies and unprofitable businesses are sold or closed down.

In 1983 the forging activities of Krupp Stahl AG and Klöckner-Werke AG are amalgamated to form Schmiedewerke Krupp-Klöckner GmbH in Bochum. The takeover of VDM Nickeltechnologie AG in 1989 expands the group's range of high-alloy stainless steels. The joint venture Hüttenwerke Krupp Mannesmann GmbH Duisburg, established in 1990 by Krupp Stahl AG and Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG - in which each hold equal shares - supplies both parent companies with semi-finished products for the manufacture of flat steel products and tubes.

Thyssen
Thyssen AG concentration on group management functions and spin-off of steel activities into Thyssen Stahl AG


The spin-off of the steel business is triggered by negotiations on a merger with Krupp Stahl AG, which fails to come about in 1983. In the following years Thyssen adapts its steel production to the market and streamlines its structures. Thus, on October 1, 1992 Thyssen Edelstahlwerke AG is merged into Thyssen Stahl AG.
The discussions resumed in the 1990s concerning a joint venture with Krupp result in collaborations in tinplate (Rasselstein Hoesch GmbH), electrical steel (EBG Elektroblech Bochum GmbH) and stainless flat products (Krupp Thyssen Nirosta GmbH) in 1995. In 1997 - after Fried. Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp withdraws its intention to acquire a majority stake in Thyssen AG - the flat steel activities of Thyssen Stahl AG and Krupp Hoesch Stahl AG are combined in Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG.

Thyssen
Expansion of Thyssen Aufzüge through acquisitions in Europe and North America


The elevator business goes back to the 1973 acquisition of Rheinstahl AG, whose subsidiaries included two wellknown elevator firms Rheinstahl Eggers-Kehrhahn GmbH in Hamburg and the elevator department of R. Stahl KG in Stuttgart. In 1973 a new large-scale production site is built in Neuhausen an der Fildern near Stuttgart.

In the 1990s Thyssen expands this capital goods business with acquisitions in Europe and overseas to achieve a leading global position. In 1998 Thyssen purchases the elevator business of Dover Elevators (USA), the market leader for hydraulic elevators in North America.

Krupp
Merger of Fried. Krupp AG with Hoesch AG to form Fried. Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp


The companies Krupp in Essen and Hoesch in Dortmund, which can both look back on a long tradition, are active in a large number of related businesses, including steel production, plant engineering, the production of components for the automobile industry, and trading. With the aim of realizing synergies, Fried. Krupp GmbH acquires shares in Hoesch AG from 1991. When a majority shareholding has been acquired, Hoesch AG is merged into Fried. Krupp AG on December 8, 1992. The limited liability company Fried. Krupp GmbH had been converted into a stock corporation (AG) in March 1992. The new company is entered in the Commercial Registers of Essen and Dortmund in December 1992 and commences work with economic effect at January 1, 1992.
The group is restructured, with the business activities being organized into the divisions: Plantmaking, Automotive, Trading, Mechanical Engineering, Steel and Fabricating. The steel activities of Krupp Stahl and Hoesch Stahl are combined in Krupp Hoesch Stahl effective January 1, 1993.

Thyssen
Concentration on core businesses


To concentrate its activities Thyssen defines core businesses in 1996. They include elevators, automotive, flat steel, production systems and materials trading. Concentrating resources on core businesses results logically in a streamlining of the portfolio through the sale of the defense engineering business of Thyssen Henschel, Rheinische Kalksteinwerke GmbH, Thyssen Haniel Logistik GmbH and other companies.

Pastures new
(1997 - heute)
Thyssen und Krupp
Flat carbon steel activities of Krupp and Thyssen combined to form Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG


After Thyssen and Krupp's previous efforts at cooperation in flat carbon steel had remained unsuccessful (see Thyssen 1983), in March 1997 it becomes known that Fried. Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp is planning to acquire a majority interest in the Thyssen group. After the takeover plans are abandoned, the two companies hold intensive talks on the industrial strategy for a joint flat carbon steel company incorporating the relevant activities of Thyssen Stahl AG and Krupp Hoesch Stahl AG. Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG starts business operations on September 1, 1997 as one of the world's biggest flat steel producers. Following the steel merger the two companies agree to look at the possibility of cooperating in other areas (see March 17, 1999).

thyssenkrupp
thyssenkrupp AG officially registered


The idea of a merger is not a new one. It has been addressed by generations of managers in the preceding decades. With globalization advancing in the late 1990s, Thyssen and Krupp are also ready to agree to a merger.

They commence talks on further cooperation in August 1997 after establishing a joint flat carbon steel company.

The strategic opportunities and potential synergies offered by a full merger are found to be huge. thyssenkrupp AG is officially registered on March 17, 1999 and commences operations with economic effect at October 1, 1998.

The activities of the new company are initially combined in 23 different business units allocated to the five segments Steel, Automotive, Industries, Engineering and Materials & Services.

thyssenkrupp
10 years of thyssenkrupp


Today’s thyssenkrupp AG was entered in the commercial register on March 17, 1999. Thyssen AG and Fried. Krupp AG Hoesch Krupp merged to form a new company.

In terms of corporate culture, history and products, the two companies were a good fit.

In the ten years from fiscal year 1998/1999 to 2007/2008 (prior to the economic crisis), thyssenkrupp quintupled its earnings, achieved 65 percent growth in sales and increased its dividend by as much as 80 percent.

The founding families

Companies going through change

Companies going through change

The official registration of Thyssen Krupp AG on March 17, 1999 marks the beginning of a new chapter in Germany's industrial history.

Read more

thyssenkrupp Group Archive

Further information

Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation
Krupp Historical Archive - Archive history

Further information

Contact

To help you get the information you need as quickly as possible, the following list shows who to contact on specific questions.

thyssenkrupp Konzernarchiv

ThyssenKrupp Contact

Prof. Dr. Manfred Rasch

thyssenkrupp
Konzernarchiv
47161 Duisburg

Telephone: +49 203 52668-22

Fax: +49 203 52668-25

Send email

Historisches Archiv Krupp

Prof. Dr. Ralf Stremmel

Historisches Archiv Krupp
Villa Hügel, Hügel 1
45133 Essen

Telephone: +49 201 18848-21

Fax: +49 201 18848-59

Send email
To the top