KBC - History

KBC - Creative and innovative since 1753

1753 (official founding year):
With the financial support of Peter Merian from Basel, Johann Friedrich Küpfer acquired the company in Lörrach, Germany leading it to prosperity.

1808:
After four years of shutdown, the brothers Merian from Basel and the entrepreneur Koechlin from Mulhouse buy the indienne printing plant. They start the production under the name “Großherzogliche Badische Zitz- und Cotton-Fabrik”. The Koechlins keep the company a family property until 1917.

1819:
The brothers Merian leave the company. “Nicolas Koechlin & Gebrüder” whose headquarters are established in Mulhouse, France.

1831:
The German-French company is divided into three independent parts. Peter and Eduard Koechlin managed the company based in Lörrach.

1836:
The indienne printing plant is now called “Peter Koechlin & Söhne”.

1843:
Chemist and businessman Léon Baumgartner joins the company as next managing director.

1856:
The company changes its name from “Peter Koechlin & Söhne” to “Koechlin, Baumgartner & Cie.”, registered as limited partnership.

1876 – 1892:
As chief-chemist Horace Koechlin propels the company to the top of the international printing plants focusing on the key elements of design originality and quality fabrics.

1897:
The private enterprise is transformed into the “Koechlin, Baumgartner & Cie. Plc.”. However, KBC still remains the property of the Koechlin family. The company name is still used today only the legal form has changed from Plc. to Ltd.

Facts
390

Employees

100

% Commitment

9200000

Meter Inkjet print p.a.

10500000

Meter Rotary print p.a.

2800000

Meter Sailcloth print p.a.

20th century - Decades of reconstruction

1917:
The German Reich Chancellor enacts a regulation against French capital holdings; as a result KBC is expropriated from the family Koechlin and becomes German.

1918:
During and after the two world wars, KBC continued production without any considerable interruptions.

1928:
On the occasion of the 175th company anniversary large festivities take place. The shares are transferred from the German “Blumenstein-Konzern”, to the French industrial group “Lederlin-Thaon” which, under the name “Gillet-Thaon-Konzern” and together with “Dolfuss-Mieg & Cie.” (DMC) establish the “Texunion” in 1935.

1945:
During and after the two world wars, KBC continued production without any considerable interruptions.

1953:
On the 200th company anniversary, Federal President Theodor Heuss visits the company headquarters and Chancellor Ludwig Erhard comes to see the KBC booth at a textile exhibition in Frankfurt.

1949 – 1960:
KBC becomes the leading textile printing plant in Europe during the post-war decades. While maintaining the domestic business, the company expands its export market.

1935 – 1965:
The Swiss chemist and colourist Hans Stössel manages KBC successfully. During the Third Reich the production of KBC is ranked as not war-important and from 1938 the “Reichskommissar for the treatment of hostile assets” governs the company.

20th/21th century - "Dress for success"

1965:
Hans Unterseh takes over the management as chairman and leads KBC to its position as an international operating firm expanding KBC’s earnings to reach the billions in the 1990’s.

1995:
Hans Unterseh retires from the management.

1992 – 1998:
Since the 70’s KBC belongs exclusively to DMC. It incorporates changes in management and strategies.

1999:
The group “Daun & Cie. Plc.” buys KBC, which is threatened by bankruptcy; Hans Unterseh returns to KBC as chairman of the supervisory board until August 2006.

2001:
Henri Rowienski assumes control of the company as managing director.

2003:
On August 30th KBC celebrates its 250th anniversary. The company ranks as one of the oldest and richest in tradition in Europe.

2005:
Under the successful management of Henri Rowienski, KBC becomes the leading inkjet printer in Europe. It also is the biggest supplier of fabrics in Europe.

2009:
During the worldwide financial crisis, KBC proves to be a stable traditional company within the international original design and manufacturing industry with its slogan “Creativity for you.”

2010:
A representative exhibition museum was opened highlighting the most valuable and historically important archives of KBC’s inventory.