WIDMER – Quality as tradition. Since 1886. The Oskar WIDMER GmbH is a family-owned company rich in tradition. Here are the milestones of its over 120 years of history.
Carl Härdtner, a great-uncle of the WIDMER family, founds the company in the german town Oberndorf am Neckar.
Today’s Jugendstil headquarters is built in the Kalterer street in Heppenheim. Since then, the company has been based here. The city fathers in Heppenheim are very farsighted and allow a direct railway connection in front of the premises to facilitate the raw materials supply.
Oskar WIDMER Sr., a Swiss, marries Clara Holder, the niece of Carl Härdtner. He takes the business over and the company is named after him. The then ultra-modern factory produces “blind rollers”. Blind rollers were then wooden bars with incorporated spring mechanics. They could roll up fabrics or curtains without any auxiliary actuation, therefore the german name was “Selbstroller”, which means literally traduced “self roller”. Based upon the spring rod technology, the development of roller blinds is fostered, in order to penetrate the sun protection market. WIDMER booms at this time.
The company has 146 employees, mainly from Heppenheim, and is thus one of the largest employers of the region. OskarWIDMER Jr. joins the company already in 1932 and is a vital part of WIDMER‘s success story.
After World War II until the monetary reform, the company has to cope with inflation and is forced to produce other wooden products like hay wagons, cribs, or toys. The young Oskar WIDMER even thinks of producing small cars and tinkers at prototypes with VW and Opel engines.
In times of the “Wirtschaftswunder”, the factory in Heppenheim re-establishes on its home market and exports its blind rollers to its neighbor states. The company has then again 75 employees.
In the early 60s, the company strikes new paths. Wood as the most important raw material is replaced by aluminum. WIDMERenters new markets, re-organizes sales and rationalizes production. Aluminum alloy blinds, curtain tracks, and precision shading systems enlarge the range of products. Improved blind rollers can now handle up to 60 kg.
After Oskar WIDMER Jr. dies, his wife Erna WIDMER and his two daughters, Anneliese Bodewig and Doris Hage-WIDMER, continue the business. The production of exterior blinds, vertical blinds, and awnings starts.
The refined spring rods are presented at the international fair for roller shutters and sun protection systems. Steel pipes with diameters up to 130 mm are now able to move weights up to 180 kg.
In the 80s, the production program is enlarged further. Pleated blinds in different diol fabrics complete the range of sun protection systems.
Erna WIDMER retires form business. From then on the company has been a civil law company (GbR) and is changed in 1996 to a limited liability company (GmbH). Its associates are the daughters of Erna WIDMER: Anneliese Bodewig and Doris Hage-WIDMER. The administration and production facilities are modernized and enlarged.
In the last years sun protection, the second foothold of WIDMER that had been built early and with acumen, has now been continuously enlarged and the spring rod technology has been futher perfected. Today, WIDMER is market leader in spring rod technology and one-stop provider for sun protection systems. The premium product range satisfies market needs shaped by climate change and rising energy cots. In course of the succession plan, business management has been handed over. The future is bright for WIDMER.