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150 years of Wesco: a history of numerous ups and downs, numerous great events, and a wealth of experience.
Wesco is founded by Martin Westermann in 1867, initially as a plumbers’ workshop. This evolves to become ‘Martin Westermann & Co’ around the turn of the century.
Over the years that follow, new products are continually added to the manufacturing range – for example, coffee flasks for miners. The company then gradually specialized in the processing of sheet steel for household goods and continued to expand its product range.
The company relocates to a new facility in 1909. The range of manufactured goods is expanded in the next few years until the factory is able to produce – from metal – all the household and kitchen appliances available at the time.
The product portfolio includes white-enamelled, hot-tinned and lacquered metal goods for the kitchen and the home.
The ‘Wesco’ brand is registered in 1911.
After the war years, the first ‘ash bucket’ joins the family of products.
In 1938, Wesco relocates again, this time to the former ‘Beume factory’ in Hüsten, a district of the city of Arnsberg, now the company’s headquarters.
The company expands continuously over the following years and decades. Today, the Arnsberg location includes a state-of-the-art logistics centre with over 37,000 square metres of storage space.
1939 - 1945
During World War II Wesco is
producing collecting tins for the
German Winter Relief and metal
transport boxes for the German Air
Force. At that time 586 forced
labourers from different countries are
working for the company. In the year
2000 Wesco pays – as one of the first
German companies – 50.000 DM
compensation to a relief fund set up
to the benefit of the forced labourers
who are still alive.
At the end of World War II Wesco is facing severe war damages and supply problems like the rest of the country. For several months production is coming to a standstill. In summer 1946 work can be resumed.
The Wesco word/device mark is registered in 1949.
During the years of Germany’s post-war ‘economic miracle’, the range of bread storage boxes and waste bins also grows. The first pedal bin joins the product portfolio and is presented at trade fairs. It has a brand-new, innovative internal pedal mechanism.
1960 - 1970
During the 60s and 70s, waste bins and bread storage boxes are strictly utilitarian.
Their design and decoration are inspired by the spirit of the times. Despite a wider choice of colours and first stainless steel products, the waste bin was still a necessary evil in kitchen and bath. Designs mainly followed functional aspects.
The ever-growing mountains of waste, and the problem of its disposal, have just become hot topics among experts in the field when WESCO becomes the first manufacturer to market a double waste bin.
Following this, the range of bin inserts is continuously expanded and today comprises more than 250 articles with solutions to problems for any requirement and any kitchen.
1989 begins with the introduction of the Pushboy, heralding a new era in the house of Wesco. Up until then, waste bins had been more or less regarded as a necessary evil in the kitchen, but now the Pushboy transforms the ‘ugly duckling’ into a statement item in the kitchen.
The Pushboy has since become a design icon. It was the starting-point for today’s range of over 60 design products in the fields of kitchen accessories and waste bins.
In 1991, the subsidiary H. Dedores & Co. GmbH is founded in Schwarzenberg, Sachsen.
This decision lays the foundation stone for a success story that unfolds over the next few years: Continuous investment in buildings, machines, and surface treatment systems transform the factory into a cutting-edge manufacturing facility.
Egbert Neuhaus with Hermann Dedores, who died in 2007.
After a private visit to Cape Canaveral in Florida in the year 2000, Wesco manager Egbert Neuhaus conceptualises the SPACEBOY, a waste bin in the form of a space rocket.
The SPACEBOY is accompanied by the successful computer game ‘Captain Wesco’, which is advertised in a media and promotion campaign.
2004 sees the launch of the Grandy. This is a bread storage box with a retro look, just like the one in Grandma’s kitchen. This is why it is called ‘Grandy’, in honour of Grandma.
Customers have taken the Grandy into their hearts, and it can now be found in kitchens all over the world. And some time ago, the shop in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York started selling the Grandy, cementing its status as a genuine design classic.
Following extensive conversion work on the WESCO campus in Arnsberg, 2011 sees the inauguration of the VILLA WESCO, a brand discovery centre with a factory retail outlet, a furniture exhibition, a school of cookery, and a restaurant. At its heart is the original villa, which dates back to the late 1800s and is protected as a heritage site.
The VILLA WESCO has welcomed around 600,000 visitors since it opened.
A series of smaller-sized WESCO products meets the needs of the increasing number of people who live alone. The famous WESCO design has been adapted to a format suitable for single-person households. In 2012 a range of products is successfully launched to the market: the Single Breadboy breadbox, the Kickmaster, the Single Boy waste bin and a new version of the Pushboy Junior. Another space-saving design is the Superball: a stylish metal sphere that can be used as a breadbin, but also as a hygienic storage container for vegetables, fruit or cookies.
The range of kitchen accessories has been widened during the last years. The ‘Metal Space’ line, launched in 2014, comprises storage containers, breadbins and tableware products.
In 2014, Wesco is awarded the Southern Westphalia Marketing Prize, and in 2015 is presented with the ‘Best of DMV’ award by the German Marketing Association (DMV).
Wesco is given this honour because of its ‘systematic brand management between the twin poles of tradition and progress, which has enabled the company to achieve a consistent brand architecture and an outstanding position in the consumer market.’
Photo: Wesco CEO Egbert Neuhaus (right) and Willi Denecke, President of the Southern Westphalian Marketing Association.
Following extensive construction work, March 2016 sees the inauguration of the second VILLA WESCO on Mallorca in the Balearic Islands. Like the VILLA in Arnsberg, this is also designed to be a brand discovery centre.
The historical building that houses the VILLA dates back to the year 1867 – the very year that the M. Westermann company was founded.
In WESCO’s anniversary year 2017, the new Classic Line series – comprising the Elly breadbox and containers for storing cookies and other foodstuffs – will hark back to their historical predecessors.
Additionally Wesco wins a legal dispute on brand rights with a British company. The Chinese court, where the dispute is dealt with, considers Wesco as a worldwide known brand and is thus granting the legal protection of the trademark.
The company’s headquarters in Arnsberg now has 120 employees, and there are the same number again at the subsidiary in Schwarzenberg.
Products are exported from Arnsberg to over 50 countries worldwide. In addition to the range of household goods and the extensive range of waste bin inserts, there is now also a furniture series, called ‘Aluments’. Each item of furniture is produced by hand in the Arnsberg location’s factory on an order-by-order basis. So even today, Wesco is still a metal-working manufacturer in the classic sense of the term.
Modern technology and finest materials guarantee the quality and longevity of WESCO products. But the final touch is given by the WESCO staff: We are familiar with the material we work with, that’s why we are able to shape it in a new and exciting way.
We would like to thank our customers, our business partners, our employees both past and present, and all friends of the Wesco brand
for 150 years of trust, good cooperation, support and assistance, inspirations, ideas, criticism and praise.
And simply for being so faithful to Wesco for so long!