Nothing is more constant than change

On February 7, 2018 GS Kunststofftechnik Gebrüder Schmidt KG in Idar-Oberstein celebrated its 200th anniversary. It is the oldest industrial company in the Birkenfeld district and at the same time one of Germany’s oldest family-owned industrial companies. The company’s eventful history spans a period of time during which not only the company has had to reinvent itself again and again to adapt to changing market situations – true to the company’s motto: “Only change is constant”.

It begins before the industrial revolution in the stagecoach era and leads through two centuries in which humankind permanently changed the face of the earth. The beginnings of today’s system supplier and specialist for plastic injection moulding go back to the early 17th century. The ancestors of the company founder Johann Carl Schmidt started as blacksmiths in Oberstein. 1818 became the official year of foundation, from that time on the company’s continued existence has been documented in business journals.

Schmidt Family Dynasty

Johann Carl Schmidt

Johann Carl Schmidt (1796-1864)
Company founder 1st generation

To the portrait

Friedrich Schmidt

Johann Carl-Ludwig (1818-1898) & Friedrich Schmidt (1827-1906)
2nd generation

To the portrait

Carl Ludwig & Johanna Schmidt

Carl-Ludwig Schmidt (1854-1930)
3rd generation

To the portrait

Karl Otto Schmidt

Karl Otto Schmidt (1892-1982) & Paul Friedrich Schmidt (1888-1978)
4th generation

To the portrait

Karl Wilhelm Schmidt

Karl Wilhelm Schmidt (1924-1987)
5th generation

To the portrait

Dorothee Schmidt & Karoline Wedler

Dorothee Schmidt (1950 – present) & Portrait Karoline Wedler (1978 – present)
6th  & 7th generation

To the portrait

Regional heritage

On the occasion of the company’s 200th anniversary, a publication on the company’s history was produced. The book “tells” the story of the oldest industrial company in the Birkenfeld district, but above all the history of the people who designed it. It largely reflects the political, economic and social conditions in the Idar-Oberstein region.

The historical heritage of the company was transferred to the ownership of City of Idar-Oberstein in a deed of donation in order to make it permanently accessible to the public.

Gebrüder Schmidt KG sees the donation as a gift to the city of Idar-Oberstein and its home region. With the presentation of the company’s 200-year history, the company contributes to the cultural memory of its citizens as a shaping actor in regional history.

Curious? Visit the exhibition at Villa Bengel from June 21 to October 14, 2018.

Company logo

The current logo goes back to the trademark registered with the Imperial Patent Office in 1907. It symbolically represents the company name Gebrüder Schmidt. The chain between the two initial letters of the company graphically represents the unbreakable partnership of the nephews and company owners Friedrich Rudolf and Carl Ludwig Schmidt. However, Friedrich Rudolf Schmidt left the company at his own request in 1909, which meant that the company was continued by Carl Ludwig Schmidt as sole owner. It is possible that he made only extremely restrained use of the trademark as a result, which meant that it almost fell into oblivion.

In addition, the Idar-Oberstein jewellery and metal industry, which largely produced for other well-known companies on behalf of the company, was not branded at the time. As a rule, the products were also not marked.

From the 1920s, Gebrüder Schmidt, true to its own design line, also relied on objective typography and a clear, unadorned appearance in corporate communication (e.g. letterheads).

Only in the 1980s, probably already in the aegis of Karl Wilhelm Schmidt, this was reconsidered and the design of a company logo was inspired by the old trademark of 1907. Hans Rupp, the company’s technical draughtsman, took up the trademark as a logo and used diamond symbols as an abstraction of the chain links.

The use of the logo in the actual sense was only created in connection with the new factory from 1995. The logo was modernised in 2010. Today a clear and modern typography without decorations determines the appearance of the logo of Gebrüder Schmidt KG.

Gebrüder Schmidt 1818 – today

We look back on 200 years of company history. The foundation stone was laid in 1818 by Johann Karl Schmidt when he founded Metallwarenfabrik Gebrüder Schmidt KG in the centre of Idar-Oberstein. At that time, the focus of business activity was initially on metal processing and finishing for the local jewellery industry. The company had its own electroplating shop.

Gebrüder Schmidt KG has always been a big step ahead of its time: in 1955, shortly after the German chemist and father of polymer chemistry Hermann Staudinger received the Nobel Prize for his work in 1953, the processing of plastic materials using injection moulding machines was started. The company’s own product range included office supplies, desk accessories, smokers’ requisites and tooth mugs and was already sold worldwide at that time.

Once again, the signs of the times had been recognised, and work was quickly begun to specialise in the up-and-coming sanitary sector. Many of the patents still in use today date from this phase. The company continues to expand.

A devastating fire destroyed large parts of the traditional production site in 1995. The 75 employees at the time – some of whom are still with us today – helped with great commitment in the removal of the rubble.

In 1996, the new start came in the form of moving into the newly built production facility in the Michelswiese industrial estate with a total area of 15,000 m² and its own logistics centre. The product range was adjusted once again: the focus was on plastics processing for the global sanitary and cleaning market.

In recent years, we have repositioned ourselves somewhat more broadly in order to meet customer requirements. Today you get to know us under the name GS Kunststofftechnik as an injection moulding company rich in tradition, which can convince local and international customers from the fields of hygiene, sanitation, mechanical engineering, high-quality cosmetics and household appliances, among others, as a system supplier with meanwhile 160 loyal employees.

In addition to our 200 years of manufacturing know-how and almost 60 years of competence in plastics processing, our long-standing customers particularly appreciate our high flexibility and innovative strength.