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 1896 - 2021 with arrows

Looking back and ahead

Guest contribution by Dr. Ingo Stader

A few years ago, I was surprised when someone told me that they didn’t even know there were companies that were more than 100 years old. Now, I am a historian and it is my profession to focus on tradition and origin. Therefore, I may well have a somewhat selective perspective. However, a look at the statistics shows that, in fact, not even eight percent of companies in Germany are older than 100 years. This begs a number of questions: Why do so few companies become so old? How do they manage to survive crises and world wars? Is there a “recipe for success”? And: Who were and are the people behind these companies; the players? The longer I think about it, the clearer it becomes how special such an age is for companies and what a wealth of experience is passed on from generation to generation. History does not repeat itself, but experiences, both positive and negative, crises and successes can very well be applied to the present and the future.

The history of Dürr is full of examples and anecdotes that repeatedly illustrate the company’s ability to change: its path from a metal shop for roof flashing to a plant engineering firm, the courageous leap across the Atlantic in 1964, or the decision to go public. The key players assumed a special role in the process: The ability to recognize opportunities and then seize them is a very decisive factor for the longevity of a company. Acting this way is a typical characteristic of many successful entrepreneurs, but there is another decisive aspect: a sense of responsibility. You can only succeed by being aware of the long-term consequences for the company and its employees when making decisions. This brings to bear what Heinz Dürr so aptly puts in a nutshell: “The company is a social event.” This anticipates everything that is understood today by purpose, social responsibility, and sustainability.

The study of history is very rewarding and by no means backward-looking. So, working on Dürr’s corporate history was also an exciting search for the company’s identity for everyone involved. For me as a historian, it is always highly interesting to see that the attitude and principles of a company need to have grown historically to establish them permanently as a living corporate culture. This is where the power of history lies.

The history of Dürr is full of examples and anecdotes that repeatedly illustrate the company’s ability to change.

Dr. Ingo Stader

Personal details

Dr. Ingo Stader advises and supports well-known companies in the reappraisal and presentation of their history, as of 2013 with his own history consultancy, H&C Stader. He holds a PhD in history and has studied Dürr’s past intensively.

125 YEARS IN 8 MINUTES

In 1896, tinsmith Paul Dürr founded a craftsman’s workshop in Cannstatt near Stuttgart, which was later to become one of the world’s leading mechanical and plant engineering firms. Click Play and immerse yourself in the eventful history of our company.

 

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