Change is our tradition
The historical roots of the bilstein group extend all the way back to 1844.
Back then tradesman Ferdinand Bilstein laid the foundations for a company that operates worldwide today. This progress has only been possible because the bilstein group has repeatedly reinvented itself and developed new markets.
Find out here how a small hammer mill turned into a globally successful corporate group.
Important Milestones in the Company's History
Foundation of the company „Ferdinand Bilstein“.
1844 to 1880
Europe-wide trade with manufactured goods made of steel, iron and brass. The steel forge primarily produces tools and equipment for the iron industry, including drills, files, chains and hinges.
Foundation of the company "Ferdinand Bilstein junior". With the decision to implement in-house production, a strategic realignment of the company takes place. The expansion of the factory goes hand in hand with the purchase of the first steam engine.
The core competence during this time is the production of turned nuts and bolts.
Purchase of the first automatic screw machines, which considerably accelerates the production process.
With the rise of the automotive industry, the strategic reorientation towards the supplier business takes place. The patented "febi spring bolt", which will be presented at the German motor show in Berlin, serves as a reference product.
Registration of the trademark "Febi" (today "febi) at the Reichspatentamt.
The production focus changes towards automotive spare parts and spring bolts. In addition, the first repair kits for kingpins are developed and sold.
The company is classified as "war-important" due to the production of high-quality precision parts. Production has to be restructured according to National Socialist specifications.
Shortly after the end of the war, the Allies granted a "permit to reopen", and the reconstruction of the largely destroyed production begins.
In addition to the production of precision parts for automobiles and motorcycles, the production range of supplier parts for car and truck manufacturers, including spring bolt sets, axle bolts and wheel bolts, is expanded.
The establishment of our own training workshop allows the targeted training of required specialists. These are becoming increasingly rare in times of huge economic growth and development. By the end of the 1950s, the febi brand had established itself as an original equipment manufacturer.
Foundation of "Süd-West-Autoteile GmbH" in Dietzenbach and introduction of the "SWAG" product brand. In 2000, Ferdinand Bilstein GmbH + Co. KG took over this company.
Constant enrichment of the product range with merchandise. Start of internationalisation: The first foreign subsidiary, "febi UK Ltd", is founded in England in 1990. Another 20 will follow by 2017.
"febi Präzisionstechnik" enters CNC technology. By using modern control technology, even workpieces with complex shapes can be produced automatically. In addition, a separate programming department is set up and computer-aided quality assurance is introduced.
Foundation of the company "Automotive Distributors Ltd" in England. The "Blue Print" product brand is launched in 1994. The company will be taken over by Ferdinand Bilstein GmbH + Co. KG in 2011.
febi Präzisionstechnik is a supplier for the automotive industry and its own spare parts segment. In addition, precision parts are manufactured for selected industrial customers. Continuous expansion of production capacities and manufacturing competencies. These include turning, milling, drilling, hardening, grinding and assembly. Introduction of the current febi logo.
Introduction of the "bilstein group" umbrella brand as a unifying element for the febi, SWAG and Blue Print product brands.
febi Präzisionstechnik becomes "bilstein group Engineering". With the introduction of the divisional brand, the production activities within the bilstein group are grouped together. The newly built production hall with a production area of 10,000 m2 is opened.
Introduction of the bilstein group partsfinder, initially with the passenger car ranges of febi, SWAG and Blue Print.
Rooted in Ennepetal – on site worldwide
Home – for us, that is where we grew up. Ferdinand Bilstein has been domiciled in Ennepetal, North Rhine-Westphalia since 1844. Our headquarters is a symbol of our regional heritage and the beating heart of the company.
The original building, where the story of Ferdinand Bilstein began 175 years ago, still exists today (although without the factory extension of yesteryear).
Nevertheless, we have been pressing ahead with internationalisation of the company for many decades, so that we can offer our customers the highest degree of market proximity and first-hand services.
Our first subsidiary was founded in Great Britain in 1990. Another 20 have since been added all around the globe. Be it in Ennepetal, Singapore or Moscow: Ferdinand Bilstein is on your doorstep worldwide.
7th generation of family management– with dual leadership
Despite the bilstein group’s rapid growth, we have remained faithful to our origins: The business is still family-owned today. Meanwhile the seventh proprietor generation has taken responsibility for the economic success of the corporate group.
Company founded by Ferdinand Daniel Bilstein (1813-1890)
Following the death of Ferdinand Daniel Bilstein (1890), his son Robert Ferdinand also dies one year later. The son's widow, Marie Bilstein (1848 – 1924), takes over the running of the business.
Hans Carl Ferdinand Bilstein (1878-1947), the oldest son of Marie Bilstein, joins the company
Paul Julius Bilstein (1886-1950) enters company management
Ferdinand Hermann Bilstein (1913-1967) comes on board
Ferdinand Hermann Bilstein is joined by brother-in-law Arnold Siekermann (1917-1987) in running the company
Rolf Bilstein (born 1943) comes on board
Dieter Siekermann (born 1945) joins the management team
Karsten Schüssler-Bilstein (born 1971) becomes a Group Managing Director
Jan Siekermann (born 1979) completes the dual leadership of the company.