The beginnings and orientation
Franz Kaldewei starts his own business in 1918, manufacturing pre-finished items with two employees for Ahlen’s enamel industry. There is enormous demand for enamelled household and kitchen items in the years after the First World War. The company founder quickly expands his range of products, adding milk cans and dairy equipment. His son Heinrich, who joins the company in 1928, is in charge of tinware manufacturing. Initial success makes it possible for the company to invest in its own enamelling works with an in-house enamel furnace. This puts Kaldewei in a position to handle all production along the entire value chain. This independence from suppliers and outside capital still remains firmly enshrined in the corporate culture.
Kaldewei’s first enamelled bathtub comes into being in 1934. For the first time and using the new “Anker” trademark, the company begins selling bathtubs made of steel enamel – at this time, still made up of several parts welded together. This milestone of corporate history sets the course for all future developments. Economical manufacturing is still a long way off, however. With a combination of pioneering spirit, technical know-how and a great feel for steel forming, Franz Kaldewei and his son Heinrich successfully launch the serial production of bathtubs in 1937, using a new power-driven press. This means that within just a few years, production capacity can be increased from the initial 20 to 250 bathtubs per day.