Sep 7, 2016  Düsseldorf / Germany

A journey back through 140 years of company history

Innovative for a straight 140 years

This year Henkel is celebrating its 140-year jubilee: Something that began in 1876 as a three-man business has grown into an international company with around 50,000 employees and household brands like Persil, Schwarzkopf and Loctite. It is also a story of innovations that customers and consumers have valued for their quality for decades. Let us take you on a historical journey…

Persil – revolutionizing laundry day

Persil (1907)

1907: Persil as the first self-acting laundry detergent revolutionized the time-consuming process of doing the laundry.

1907: advertisements of Persil

1907: one of the first advertisements of Persil.

The goal of Fritz Henkel himself when he founded his company in 1876 was already to manufacture products that would make people’s lives easier and, above all, better. That’s exactly what he did when he brought Persil on the market in 1907, the world’s first self-acting – in other words, simultaneously cleaning and bleaching – laundry detergent. He didn’t just revolutionize housewives’ previously laborious laundry day, but also laid the foundations for modern brand management with his imaginative ad campaigns. Today, Persil is the leading brand in the Laundry & Home Care business and has become a household name in over 50 countries around the world. Year after year, the brand keeps winning new customers and market shares. In 2015, Persil ProClean was launched on the US market.

Henkel’s top three brands – Persil, Schwarzkopf and Loctite

Henkel’s top three brands – Persil, Schwarzkopf and Loctite – generated combined sales of 5.9 billion euros in 2015.

Schwarzkopf – quality and innovation for more than 115 years

1898: Hans Schwarzkopf and his wife Martha took over a drugstore in Berlin-Charlottenburg

1898: Hans Schwarzkopf and his wife Martha took over a drugstore in Berlin-Charlottenburg and sold “dyes, drugs and perfume”.

1903: Shampoon, the first Schwarzkopf powder shampoo in Germany

1903: Shampoon is the first Schwarzkopf powder shampoo in Germany.

The traditional brand Schwarzkopf, which has belonged to Henkel since 1995, also stands for innovations, passion and competence. In 1898, Hans Schwarzkopf and his wife Martha took over a drugstore in Berlin-Charlottenburg and sold “dyes, drugs and perfume”. Only five years later, he introduced “Shampoon”, the first powder shampoo in Germany, and launched the black head as a logo. Schwarzkopf was born, and its success didn’t stop there: With Schauma, the firm developed one of the most successful shampoos in Germany in 1949, before revolutionizing women’s hair care in retail in 1956 with Taft, the first hairspray in Europe, also known as the “liquid hairnet”.

When Hans Schwarzkopf opened his drugstore, he could only have dreamed of how successful the brand with the black head would become. Today, Schwarzkopf is Henkel’s strongest brand in the Beauty Care business, and its products are sold in over 60 countries. Thanks to innovations in the hairdressing and branded goods business, Schwarzkopf has been able to grow its market shares continuously in all product categories. Digital initiatives and the expansion of its e-commerce business have also helped the brand to successfully keep up with constantly changing customer and consumer trends.

Making a virtue out of necessity: The first Henkel glue

1922: Henkel began to produce adhesives

1922: Henkel began to produce adhesives – first for its own needs.

1925: Henkel adhesive factory

1925: Henkel adhesive factory

Henkel is now the leading global provider of adhesives, sealants and functional coatings, developing individual solutions for customers in various industrial sectors as well as high-quality branded products for consumers and craftsmen. How did Henkel get into the adhesives business? Due to the occupation of the Ruhr, there was a supply bottleneck looming for the glues Henkel used to seal its product packages. That’s why the company started producing adhesives for its own needs in 1922, and began offering them in retail one year later. Many years after that, Henkel made the largest acquisition in its company history when it took over the American Loctite Corporation in 1997. Loctite is now the biggest brand in the Adhesive Technologies business. As a leading brand for adhesives, sealants and surface treatments, its products are available in more than 130 countries around the world and are used in private households as well as various industries ranging from aerospace, through automotive and all the way to industrial assembly and repair applications.

You’ll find more historical milestones in our jubilee timeline.