1856 until 1877: Lorenz Wolf – a pioneer of the German chamotte industry

Around the middle of the 19th century, the brick factory owner Lorenz Wolf supplied the gas works in Nuremberg with his products. It was here that he first got to know refractory bricks, which were needed to a great extent for the construction of firings, but until then had to be obtained from England at very high prices. The bricks immediately aroused his interest, as he had often encountered traces of refractory clay on his way to Nuremberg. Lorenz Wolf recognized his chance and founded a fireclay production at Rollhofener Höhe in 1856. Wolfshöher Tonwerke is thus one of the oldest manufacturers of refractory products in Germany.

Lorenz Wolf
Lorenz Wolf founded Wolfshöher Tonwerke in 1856 and is thus one of the pioneers of the German chamotte industry.

1877 until 1911: Georg Wolf – on the road to success during the German Empire

1878: Plant I – Mechanical improvements
In the year of the founder’s death in 1878, the company – still small but in good development – was passed to his son Georg Wolf. Thanks to his pronounced technical predisposition, he was able to make significant mechanical improvements and thus significantly increase the quality and performance of the manufacturing.

1897: Plant II – A separate rail connection
The construction of the Neunkirchen-Simmelsdorf railway line in 1897 brought a railway connection to the company, an advantage not to be underestimated in a time without automobiles. Plant II was built directly next to the Rollhofen railway station. Here, the focus was on the production of fireclay bricks, while in plant I only iron clinker bricks were produced.

1902 : Regional raw material sources in company property
The company received a further significant boost in 1902 with the purchase of the clay pit in Großbellhofen. Georg Wolf thus secured a long-term source of raw material for his production. Expanded through further acquisitions, it is still the basis of consistent quality and reliability of Wolfshöher products. At that time, about 200 people were employed and the sales area already included the whole of southern Germany, northern Switzerland and western Austria until the beginning of the World War I.

Georg Wolf sen.
The youngest son of the company’s founder Lorenz Wolf expanded the family business into a modern industrial business..

1911 until 1945: Through wars and crises

Foundation of „Wolfshöher Tonwerke GmbH“
In 1911, the three sons, Lorenz, Jakob and Georg Wolf, were involved in the company after their technical and commercial training during the foundation process of “Wolfshöher Tonwerke GmbH”. A new phase of development began, during which the achieved market position could be stabilized by measures of rationalization and quality improvement, despite the abrupt interruption caused by war and post-war events. Thanks to the solid base on which Wolfshöher Tonwerke rested in both financial and technical relations, setbacks due to the world wars could not shake the foundation of the company..

Lorenz Wolf was head of the company’s points of sale in Nuremberg and Munich. Jakob Wolf took care of the technical aspects in the facilites. Georg Wolf was responsible for the commercial department.

1946 until 1988: New beginning and rise

After Wolfshöher Tonwerke survived the difficult post-war years, the company benefited from the general economic upswing. Hubert Wolf joined Wolfshöher Tonwerke in 1949 and shaped the company’s development until the 1980s. As the only survivor of the fourth generation, he expanded the company’s customer base in the 1950s and began modernizing the production facilities. In the mid-1960s, Georg Wolf, a family member of the fifth generation, joined the company. The trained engineer systematically advanced the modernization process of the plant.

1989 until 2016: Modernization and expertise in the niche

The chamotte specialists
Hubert Wolf retired from the management at the beginning of 1988 due to illness. Konrad Kügel, who was appointed managing director in February 1988, took over the commercial department of Wolfshöher Tonwerke. In September 2007 Georg Wolf handed over the management to his daughter Ulrike Wolf. Konrad Kügel and Ulrike Kutscha-Wolf also continued to invest heavily in the modernization of the production, relying, among other things, on specialised machines individually developed for the company as well as to have most possible competence in own hands – which from then on was clearly recognizable to the outside with the company claim “The chamotte specialists”.

2017 until today: Fresh breeze within the traditional company

In January 2017, once again two family members, Carolin Kügel and Axel Wolf, took over the management of the company. For 161 years, the Bavarian company with 100 employees has now been in family hands. The new management stands for an even stronger interlinking of the sales and technology sectors. The marketing has been taken to a new level and will be further expanded in the future. Today, Wolfshöher Tonwerke is a modern family-owned company that combines acquired expertise and reliability with creativity and solution orientation.

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