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History of Schmidthammer Elektrokohle GmbH



90 years of Schmidthammmer  - that is the story of  a company. the chronicle of four
generations. It's the life and activity of fathers and sons. It's finally also a part of age and industrial history of development.

That happened then, and nowadays, from the beginning of crafts until todays modern enterprise of quality products, has been documented on the following pages. This presentation may give a convincing impression of the actual standard of the company Schmidthammer. It should also be a "thank you" to all, who helped to realize the development of todays standard based on close relationship and faithfulness.

For better understanding of the foundation of KOHLEBÜRSTENFABRIK ADOLF SCHMIDTHAMMER in Schwabach in 1929 it is essential to consider the pre-history in detail:
The know-hows about the electrical carbon fields (also known as "black magic") date back to the ancestor Leonhard Schmidthammer.

He developed own carbon grades before the turn of century, which he put successfully on the electrical motors at the time. These acquaintances were given away by him as instructor from Germany to France, UK, Italy, the USA until Russia over a period of 20 years.

Only later, in 1918, Leonhard Schmidthammer founded the "Dynamobürstenfabrik" Schmidthammer & Magnus in Nürnberg-Reichelsdorf, which was transfered    in 1923 to a bigger German company of the same line, due to serious illness of the owner.

His son Adolf Schmidthammer emmigrated 1923, after a 5 years practical work in father's company, to the USA, where he was active for further 2 years in the electrical carbon line. New knowledges - especially on the field of metal graphite brushes - were the reason of the establishment of the KEYSTONE CARBON COMPANY in Emporium, St. Marys, USA, together with the hitherto President B.R. Reuscher, who has formed the company to its todays size of 1200 employees.

After 3 more years of activities as co-founder of the Keystone Carbon Company Adolf Schmidthammer decided to return back to Germany, and established here his own factory.

The 1. quarter-century 1929-1954

The 1. quarter-century 1929-1954

The foundation by Mr. Adolf Schmidthammer in the beginning of 1929 – in the middle of the economic world crysis, shortly after the inflation – was more than a risk. With enormous diligence, and excellent specialized knowledge he succeeded to find first customers being a one-man workshop.

His acquired know-how in the USA about the production of copper graphite and metal graphite grades, the crystal growing of copper, without the annoyances caused by binders, under simultaneous application of pressure and heat, found great attention. Further advantages were the technology of pressing-in cables, pins, bolts, screws, hooks and threated bushings into single pressed metal brushes, depending on the brush shape.

The electrical load capacity of these copper graphite brushes with pressed-in connections was much higher in particular with low voltage machines and converters. Also the density of the material could be manipulated due to the newly developed hot pressing technology. The rich experiences with single cold pressed metal brushes with moulded pig tails have been successfully continued until today.

In the first years from 1929 till 1932, inspite of the worldwide recession, Adolf Schmidthammer succeeded to market the semiproducts of copper graphite and metal graphite grades in block-shape to so-called cutting workshops in Germany and market abroad.

The production of finished products started in Schwabach rented buildings. In 1934 a former brewery with a 35m high chimney was bought and modified to the needs of a carbon graphite factory.

The installation of 2 cassette crucible furnaces and an electric kiln made the production of the total range of carbon brushes, carbon contacts and the semiproduct of carbon blocks possible.

Year by year the number of customers increased, and the number of employees grew up to 32 people.

In 1939 we realized already that a bigger production of carbon graphite products in the years to come, and in the centre of Schwabach residencial areas would be unbearable. As a consequence a land of 10000 m² was bought in one of the city´s industrial zones. With the beginning of the second world war further steps were paralized, and in 1941 a building in the back yard was acquired and modified. The number of employees accrued to 63, and grew to 130 people at the beginning of 1945.

The postwar period resulted in a temporary closing of the factory, and in considerable problems, which lasted until 1948, the year of the German currency reform. The reorganised financial platform supported the further construction, with heavy engagement of the employees and the management.

The trademark OMEGA has been changed into MEGA, and registered. Due to new customers in Europe and Overseas, a permanent extension of the production capacity was required in during the early 50ties.

The logo MEGA obtained a globally wide reputation.

The 2. quarter-century 1955 – 1979

The 2. quarter-century 1955 – 1979

The until then existing company structure of a single enterprise „Kohlebürstenfabrik Adolf Schmidthammer Schwabach“ was transformed into a Limited Partnership (KG), and became effective in January 1st ,1955.

As general liable partners Messrs Adolf and Ralph Schmidthammer as well as Mrs. Mina Schmidthammer were appointed.

The growing demand for carbon products, in particular for the car and electrical industry, asked for a permanent increase of the production line. Further extensions in the existing premises were no longer possible, and in 1958/1959 the land in the industrial zone was extended by further 12000m², together with already existing buildings, the kiln house and the 40m high chimney.

In 1959 was the start of construction of the new factory in Walpersdorfer Street 33 – 39.

The new carbon production with 1200m² was distributed into 8 ground levelled halls, with an upgraded production process and aircon-system.

The other halls have been occupied by modern tool shops, a locksmith work shop, the electrical and testing department, and store rooms.

The kiln house was stepwise equipped with 5 single cassette crucible furnaces and an electric furnace, which guaranteed a much faster frequency of the raw carbon graphite than with the ring furnace system. In the separated 4 story main building the cutting, the drilling with electroplating, the assembly  for industrial and automobile brushes got established. Administration and packing department on the ground floor made it possible to take shorter deliveries of goods into account-a demand of time. In particular the export into more than 70 countries required more and more production capacity. The number of employees went up to 150.

On January 1st, 1963, Klaus Schmidthammer joined the company as limited partner. On 1st January 1973 Mr. Adolf Schmidthammer resigned as general partner, he joined simultaneaously as limited partner, his son Dipl. Ing. Klaus Schmidthammer as general partner the Company.

In 1968 a carbon cutting company in Vienna / Austria, the Heinrich Brandl & Son was acquired and modernized. In 1975 a share in M.KRUG S/A Cachoeirinha/Brazil followed as to participate on the growing South American Continent.

In the 70ties we took over the marketing of Keystone Products USA for Europe. Their thermistors, sinter metal parts and specific carbon brushes found the interest of reputable customers.

In 1979, the year of the 50ties anniversary, a separation of the company structure followed. Besides of the limited liability KG, a production and sales company, Schmidthammer Elektrokohle GmbH was established, directed by the MDs Ralph Schmidthammer and Dipl. Ing. Klaus Schmidthammer.

The 3. quarter-century 1980 - nowadays

The 3. quarter-century 1980 - nowadays

The company MEGA, in its 8 decade, is now again obliged to face new challenges of the markets, in order to obtain maximum efficiency with most economical efforts.
This goal can be realized only together with employees and management.

The concept of the company for the future is based on a qualified and solid development, and on a permanent improvement of the service offer with new products, better technology and a defined service commitment.

We look forward with trust based on the well approved efficiency and the confidence acquired in many countries globally-wide.