"Clouth Gummiwerke" by Wickipedia

M. Backhausen

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Clouth Gummiwerke AG was founded in 1868 by the entrepreneur of the rubber industry Franz Clouth , who has written German industrial history with its products. Parts of the company were temporarily owned by Felten & Guilleaume and Continental AG. In 1990 Continental took over nearly all shares. Later some of the company's parts were sold and the remaining production at the Cologne site was shut down in December 2005; the complete destruction of firm buildings for new housing areas took place in 2015.


  • 1 Founding phase
  • 2 Land and sea cables
  • 3 Wide product range
  • 4 post-war period
  • 5 end of the company
  • 6 Weblinks
  • 7 Single sign

Founding phase

On September 10, 1862, Franz Clouth founded the company with the name "Rheinische Gummiwarenfabrik" [1] In the year 1864 the enterprise in the Cologne address book took place with the designation "Franz Clouth, commissioned business in rubber goods for technical purposes"; The headquarters of the company continued to be in the Kölner Sternengasse 3, where at the same time was also the flat of the Franz Clouth family  . The scope of business expanded rapidly, which meant that the business had to be relocated in wider areas. This took place in 1868 in the district of Cologne-Nippes on an area of ​​initially 10,000 square meters. Carl Vorberg, who was appointed as a procurator, rose in 1872 as co-owner (until 1899), when Franz Clouth - Rheinische Gummiwaarenfabrik oHG (sic) was founded. It is reported that Clouth rode daily from the family seat in Sternegasse 3 on horseback to Niehler Weg (now Niehlerstraße 102) using Hohe Straße (High Street in regard to the position of the Rhine). First gum products were mainly household items such as milk bottle suckers and hosier carriers, followed by industrial equipment such as roller covers, conveyor belts or belts. In 1870 the firm had already 70 employees. A 50 m high chimney (1872) and a steam engine (1892) announced the beginning of industrial production. On September 14, 1891 the company management was transferred to the electrical engineer Georg Zapf. At this stage, the company diversified strongly; diving apparatuses (1882) were manufactured, which made the company as sole supplier of the Imperial Navy in 1887. In 1890 the cable works were founded. Here, Guttapercha and fiber cable telegraph cables as well as telephone cables for the Reichstelegraphenverwaltung (1893) were established, the first knotted cable cables were used as a city cable in Cologne (1895).

Land and sea cables

Due to its production, the cable division expanded to an area of ​​20,000 square meters with 600 employees. On May 11, 1898, it was spun off into Land- und See Kabelwerke AG, a company specially founded for this purpose. They were able to catch a spectacular order with the laying of the third sea cable from Emden to New York. This project, which was carried out within the framework of the German-Atlantic Telegraph Society, was put into operation on 1 September 1900, using the Clouth ship  "von Podbielski". Another order was the laying of cables 1898 in St. Petersburg, which were only replaced in 2001. A look at an underwater cable between Wangerooge and the lighthouse Rotersand and the wiring of the North Sea Canal can also be seen. The capital requirements of the maritime cable works were so large that the leading Cologne and Berlin banks (Bankhaus A. Levy & Co., Cologne, Dresdner Bank AG, Disconto-Gesellschaft, Privatbanken Bankhaus S. Bleichröder and Born & Busse [2]) as a bank consortium of 50 percent, which they transferred 1901 to the Cologne cable manufacturer Felten & Guilleaume. F & G took over from the Clouth family the remaining 50 percent in 1904, so that the land and sea cables no longer belonged to the Clouth family.

Wide product range

In 1901, the remaining company was transformed into a limited liability company (Rheinische Gummiwarenfabrik Franz Clouth GmbH), which now belonged to Franz and his son Max Clouth. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin visited the company in 1898 and brought an order for 18 large drum-shaped balloons, which were to be hung into the skeleton of the first Zeppelin LZ1. In July 1900, the company also supplied the fabric cover for the LZ1. Clouth also developed and produced gummed silk for the outer cover of LZ1. Ballonseide (gum silk fabric) was also produced in the company, and finally the Clouth-Werke produced their own pallets: "Clouth I" to "Clouth V". The balloon "Clouth I" was put into operation in May 1908. The airship was 42 m long, had a diameter of 8.25 meters and a gas volume of 1700 cubic meters, which was relatively small. Key to his development was Franz Clouth's son Richard.

On July 14, 1907, an airship hall, which was 45 meters long, 29 meters wide and 17 meters high, was constructed on the company site. This was the first company-owned airship "Clouth I", which was put into operation on 1 May 1908. However, the affinity of the rubber industry for airship was no special feature at the time. [3] Clouth also manufactured tires, first for bicycles, later also for automobiles. As a manufacturer of bicycle tires, the company initiated the founding of the Cölner Bicycle Club, which built the Riehler cycle track in 1889, which also boosted the bicycle boom in Cologne. [4]

The company has developed into a specialist in rubber compounds, a combination of rubber and other materials. In addition to diving suits, rubberized fabrics for car and horse corners, children's toys, suits for miners and sailors, aprons and rubber gloves, tents, inflatable boats, medical rubber articles and special products for defense technology. The broad product range made the company the largest employer in the district, with 680 employees (1910). On June 3, 1910, the "Clouth" landed on the square in front of the "Military Airship Bickendorf". After the death of Franz Clouth in September 1910 his son Max took over the management of the GmbH, which still belonged to the widow and the children of the deceased.
Core areas have increasingly become industrial molded articles (eg for the automotive industry) and conveyor technology. On 22 April 1920 the conversion to an AG (Rheinische Gummiwarenfabrik AG Franz Clouth) took place with a basic capital of 6.5 million Marks. This was taken over completely by the competitor F & G Carlswerk AG in 1925. In that year, a large expansion of the factory (halls 17, 18b) took place with the pavilion (gate 2). From 1939, the factory was almost exclusively used for war production. [5] For this reason, March 1942 targeted air raids against Clouth, which already caused a destruction of about 70 per cent. On October 15, 1944, the factory site was destroyed by 90% of the air traffic; on March 6, 1945, US soldiers were employed.
Already in October 1945 the production started again, since conveyor belts from Cologne in the Aachen area and the Rheinischen brown coal mining were urgently needed.

Post-war period:

When Max Clouth died in September 1951, Clouth's interest in the company ended. The Clall VIII rubber boot started in Bonn in December 1952 - Max Clouth no longer experienced the start of his hobby. Steel cable straps were produced starting in 1955, the large production started 1957. Now there was a rapid economic development, which also reflected the growth in the number of employees. In 1951, when only 700 workers were employed, their number rose to 2,100 in 1961, reaching a peak of 2,241 employees in 1962. In 1966 the tire manufacturer Continental AG acquired 50 percent of F & G's stock, so that one of the customers of the Clouth products became a shareholder.
The innovative product range of the company Clouth made inventions, which led to a total of 30 patents. [6] A vibration absorber is the elastic rail bearing known as "Cologne Egg". The "Kölner Ei" was developed by Mr. Hermann Ortwein, employee of the company Clouth Gummiwerke in Cologne-Nippes and patent pending on 30 June 1978. It was given the order number 1403C. The "Kölner Ei" was first installed in 1978 on the route Ebertplatz - Lohsestraße. Due to the excellent results (impact reduction), the "Kölner Ei" was installed shortly afterwards on the track of the KVB (Cologne transport companies) on a length of 1500 meters. Many other sections followed. The installation was carried out wherever a ballast bed was undesirable for railroad tracks, for instance at stops. The sound-absorbing invention was installed 30,000 times in Cologne alone and is used worldwide.
The "ISAD" patent was used as a replacement for the starter, flywheel and alternator in the car and led to the founding of the Clouth AG subsidiary ISAD-Systems GmbH in 1997.

Since 1982, Clouth Gummiwerke AG has been trading with the new shareholder (50 percent) Philips Communications Industry PKI [7] and Continental AG (50 percent). In 1982, the factory area had grown to 146,000 square meters. 1988 saw the creation of a high-performance production line for steel cable straps, whose 90-meter-long line was able to produce steel cable straps with an annual capacity of up to 80,000 meters. From 1987, Clouth AG entered a company crisis, triggered by product liability for defective products. This led to considerable losses, and the bottom of the crisis was reached in 1989. [8] Continental increased its shareholding to 98.29 per cent in share capital in 1990, after the Bundeskartellamt had agreed in March 1990. [9]

End of the company