175 years of Ferdinand Bilstein

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.

1844
bis 1880
ab 1880
ab 1897
1921
1923
ab 1936
ab 1939
ab 1946
ab 1951
1952
1954
ab 1973
ab 1983
1988
ab 1994
ab 2012
2017
2017

1844

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.

 

1880

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.

1897

Purchase of the first automatic screw machines, which considerably accelerates the production process.

1921

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.

 

1923

Registration of the trademark "Febi" (today "febi) at the Reichspatentamt.

 

1936

The production focus changes towards automotive spare parts and spring bolts. In addition, the first repair kits for kingpins are developed and sold.

 

1939

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.

 

1946

Shortly after the end of the war, the Allies granted a "permit to reopen", and the reconstruction of the largely destroyed production begins.

 

1951

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.

 

1952

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.

 

1954

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.

 

1973

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.

 

1983

"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.

 

1988

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.

 

1994

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.

 

2012

Introduction of the "bilstein group" umbrella brand as a unifying element for the febi, SWAG and Blue Print product brands.
 

2017

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.
 

2017

Introduction of the bilstein group partsfinder, initially with the passenger car ranges of febi, SWAG and Blue Print.
 

Rooted in Ennepetal – on site worldwide

The company in the 1950s. The building was demolished in 2018.

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).

More then 1,100 people work on the Ennepetal site today

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. 

1844
1891
1900
1914
1936
1951
1971
1982
2008
2010

1844

Company founded by Ferdinand Daniel Bilstein (1813-1890)

 

1891

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.

 

1900

Hans Carl Ferdinand Bilstein (1878-1947), the oldest son of Marie Bilstein, joins the company

1914

Paul Julius Bilstein (1886-1950) enters company management

1936

Ferdinand Hermann Bilstein (1913-1967) comes on board

 

1951

Ferdinand Hermann Bilstein is joined by brother-in-law Arnold Siekermann (1917-1987) in running the company

 

1971

Rolf Bilstein (born 1943) comes on board

 

1982

Dieter Siekermann (born 1945) joins the management team

 

2008

Karsten Schüssler-Bilstein (born 1971) becomes a Group Managing Director

 

2010

Jan Siekermann (born 1979) completes the dual leadership of the company.