120 years of Dürr - few companies can look back at a history as long and rich as this. We would like to take this as an opportunity to browse through the chronicle of our company and look at selected photos.
In 1895, the era of German Emperor Wilhelm II, a 24-year-old Paul Albert Dürr starts his own business, together with his wife Luise, by founding the Paul Dürr metal shop for roof flashing in Bad Cannstatt near Stuttgart. Thanks to his technically advanced manufacturing work, the business soon makes an excellent name for itself. As its reputation grows, orders become more demanding and the scope increases.
The First World War erupts in July 1914. The devastating consequences of the global military conflict also take their toll on Dürr's roof flashing business. Due to the severe shortage of materials, the workshop in Bad Cannstatt begins sheet metal processing for the first time. After the war, the business focuses increasingly on manufacturing sheet metal products. During the economic upswing of the 1920s, dealings with the automotive industry grow.
In 1932 Otto Dürr takes over the business. At that time the company's existence is threatened by the world economic crisis. Things start to pick up again in the mid-1930s. 1936 sees the establishment of a modern branch in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, followed by a design office created in 1938. At the same time, day-to-day operations in German companies are increasingly dominated by the Nazi regime. This results in ideological interference and a loss of autonomy. When Hitler triggers the Second World War in 1939, Dürr is involved in arms production. In 1943 the main plant in Bad Cannstatt is destroyed during an air raid.
The 'zero hour' of 1945 also marks a new beginning for Dürr. Production in the Bad Cannstatt factory is unfeasible, and Zuffenhausen initially only makes sheet-metal products for domestic appliances, including a very popular kitchen range. After the currency reform, things start to improve. 1950 marks a turning point in the history of Dürr. The company enters the equipment engineering market, specializing in chemical surface treatment. In the years to follow, plant engineering expands to become a high-performing production sector, and the company grows steadily.
In 1960 Heinz Dürr joins his father at the helm of the company. Three years later he and his engineers develop electrophoretic dip coating. This new coating process is the company's first step towards becoming a market leader in paint systems. The international expansion of carmakers leads to Dürr opening its first subsidiaries in Brazil and Mexico, with many others to follow. Collaboration and acquisitions broaden the range of paint system products and pave Dürr's way towards becoming an international systems company.
The 1989 acquisition of the Behr Group and the IPO required for this lead to two strategically important decisions. The takeover of the application technology specialist enables Dürr to significantly expand its core competence, i.e. the delivery of turnkey paint shops. The "mid-sized multi-national" (Heinz Dürr) thus becomes a world market leader. In the anniversary year of 1995, more than ten million vehicles pass through paint shops 'made by Dürr'. Further acquisitions follow – including that in 2000 of measuring technology group Carl Schenck – extending the company's global reach.
In 2005 Dürr faces difficulties and finds itself in deep debt. This leads to comprehensive restructuring measures. Divisions that are not part of the core business are sold and Dürr re-directs its focus towards mechanical and plant engineering, mainly for the automotive industry. In addition, a capital increase is carried out, to which the Dürr family contributes. Over the next few years the company responds to increasing demand in the emerging markets by creating additional capacities and new businesses. In 2014 the company acquires the HOMAG Group.