Johann Carl-Ludwig & Friedrich Schmidt

Friedrich Schmidt

„Friedrich Schmidt“

At the end of the 1840s Joh. Carl Schmidt took over the business from his sons Johann Carl Jr. and Friedrich, who in 1864 transferred the company to Gebrüder Schmidt OHG by being entered in the commercial register at Oberstein District Court.

With the relocation of the company to the later, long-standing company site on the Nahe (“Auf der Au”), which was made possible by the purchase, conversion and expansion of a former tannery in the 1850s, the industrial revolution entered the “Obersteiner factory”: in 1854 Gebrüder Schmidt built the first steam engine in the Principality of Birkenfeld and focussed on the series production of semi-finished products, especially for the Obersteiner jewellery industry. After many years of political and economic stagnation after the foundation of the German Empire in 1871, the city experienced an unprecedented rise: Oberstein gained worldwide recognition with its watch chain and jewellery industry. As specialists for mass products in the low-price segment, the companies in Oberstein outperformed their competitors in the German jewellery centres and even in Birmingham at the turn of the century in 1900. In the last third of the 19th century, a surge in investment with a wave of mechanisation changed the structures of Oberstein’s industry: increasingly larger companies were formed with their own production of semi-finished products, which increasingly deprived Oberstein’s tombac forges of their economic basis. Gebrüder Schmidt reacted with foresight by manufacturing its own end products and became a manufacturer of “fancy goods”.

Special attention should be paid to the efforts of the Schmidt family of entrepreneurs to qualify young family leaders. By the 2nd generation, the sons were sent to the leading German jewelry centres, above all in Pforzheim. There, they were trained in partner companies for several years as entrepreneurial thinking executives with the latest knowledge of production technology, business organization, business administration and marketing. In this process of professional and personal formation, a new generation of manufacturers was growing up in the Schmidt family: the prior handwork masters became entrepreneurs in the 19th century.

The performance of the 2nd generation of the entrepreneurial family cannot be seen alone in the expansion of the company premises through the acquisition of adjoining land and factory buildings: It consisted above all in the organisational, which was managed on the conditions of newest economical knowledge.

1st Generation

3rd Generation