„Karl Wilhelm Schmidt”
After the death of Karl Otto Schmidt on 23 July 1981, Karl Wilhelm Schmidt became the sole personally liable partner on 1 January 1982.
The company was still a metal company in this phase. However, by 1955 – initially largely unnoticed by the public – the process of converting to the new, then revolutionary material of plastic began with the production of plastic parts by injection moulding. Gebrüder Schmidt was increasingly becoming an innovative company that sought to secure the results of its own application-oriented research and development work through patents.
Karl Wilhelm Schmidt was leading the way here, who in particular was driving the project to change to the new material. In particular, the possibility of surface finishing of plastics opened up a wealth of new applications for this material in automotive engineering, household appliances, cosmetics and many other areas. Karl Wilhelm Schmidt’s pioneering work, which made a major contribution to the success of plastics in Germany, showed him to be a technophile, forward-looking, even visionary entrepreneur, who took the liberty of working personally in the company’s development department at the lab bench time and again.
One of the focal points of the development work was electroplating plastics, which had previously been impossible. The company was one of the first in Germany to assemble a fully automatic electroplating line in cooperation with Schering AG. From the 1970s onwards, the collections previously made of metal were increasingly replaced by products made of plastic.
Dorothee Schmidt, today’s main shareholder, worked as an industrial designer in the company during these years. However, as ever stricter environmental protection regulations made it uneconomical to operate its own electroplating system at the previous site, electroplating had to be discontinued at the beginning of the 1980s and replaced by sputtering systems.
The entry of the former emerging countries into the industrial age completely changed the world market from the 1950s onwards. Above all, the decline of the European watch industry hit Gebrüder Schmidt hard with the loss of this important production segment. Despite immense efforts in trademark protection, the company was increasingly becoming the victim of piracy. This forced the company to change its strategy again.
Shortly after the early death of Karl Wilhelm Schmidt (1987), metal production was completely stopped. The company became a cooperation partner of large internationally operating companies in the sanitary and cleaning sector and subsequently advanced to become a specialist in the field of plastic injection moulding.
6th & 7th Generation