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Thyssen - An unusual company start-up

August Thyssen ca.1917. Portrait by Franz Josef Klemm
August Thyssen ca.1917. Portrait by Franz Josef Klemm

On September 29, 1891 August Thyssen announces that he and his brother Joseph own all shares in the coal mine Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser.

Joseph Thyssen, brother and close confidant of August Thyssen, ca. 1900.
Joseph Thyssen, brother and close confidant of August Thyssen, ca. 1900.

On December 17, 1891 the first steel is tapped at the new Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser steelworks in Hamborn near Duisburg. These two events in 1891 are later regarded as the dates on which the Thyssen Group was founded.

Share certificate in Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser.
Share certificate in Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser.

From 1883 August Thyssen purchased share certificates in Gewerkschaft Deutscher Kaiser as the plant was (and still is) ideally located for his business plans. With its own coal mine, works dock on the River Rhine and link to the railway network, the location ensures the productivity of the operations. The main plant of Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG still produces steel at this location today.

In the following years August Thyssen rationalizes, modernizes and enlarges the production of iron and steel and systematically expands both the raw materials base (foreign ore mines) and the manufacturing operations (shipbuilding, machine casting etc.) of his companies. He ensures that the products of the newly acquired or established companies fit together well to form a vertically integrated group.

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