W. Hartmann & Co

W. Hartmann & Co. (GmbH & Co. KG)
Rödingsmarkt 39
D-20459 Hamburg
Germany

The company Hartmann was founded by Walter Hartmann together with a co-partner (Mr Ulrich Grajecki) on 30.10.1925 in Hamburg.

Walter Hartmann, born on 29.06.1903, came originally from the town Zellerfeld in the Harz Mountains and grew up in lower middle class surroundings. His father was a master shoemaker and nearly all the other forefathers and relatives were employed in the mines. Mr Hartmann moved away from his home to Berlin shortly after the end of the World War 1, where he experienced the beginning of the golden twenties. Excited by all the possibilities life had to offer, Walter Hartmann moved to Hamburg, where soon afterwards he started the company as well as a family.

The (considerably older) partner Ulrich Grajecki left the company at the beginning of the sixties, however, his part ownership is still remembered today with the ‘& Co’ in the company’s name. At the beginning the company delivered predominately to the shipyards on the North Sea and Baltic coasts.

The company was then forced to re-orientate because of the building of the Berlin Wall and the loss of the eastern markets. During the post war era, and the so-called “German economic miracle”, the company experienced the boom in the construction industry and grew up to just under 600 employees in numerous branches and sales offices in Germany.

Even at that time the company traded with non-ferrous metals, particularly metals made of copper and copper-base alloys. Today many of Hamburg’s churches still have their original Hartmann copper sheet roofs and have taken on that distinctive patina green look.

A further source of income was providing shipping equipment to large cargo vessels in Hamburg’s harbour. This ended as many ships temporarily ceased to dock in Hamburg as a result of the closing of the Suez Canal in 1967 at the end of six-day war between Israel and Egypt.

A remnant of this business did actually survive until quite recently. A small shop sold sailing accessories for boating enthusiasts, as well as tools and souvenirs in the centre of Hamburg, on the Rödingsmarkt , up to the beginning of 2014.

At the beginning of the sixties, aside from the pre-products made of non-ferrous metals, the company began to sell system constructions for window, door and façade production. Later the company went on to start developing and marketing their own system constructions.

Walter Hartmann personally led the company into the eighties before handing down the management of the company to the next generation in the shape of his daughter Ingrid Spahn and a manager from outside the family.

In the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the company experienced another period of prosperity with construction work in the former GDR. However, this was short lived, as the subsidies dried up, business petered out and the financial burden became unbearable. As a result the system construction business was sold off to a former competitor, Hueck in Lüdenscheid.

At the same time Roland Spahn, grandson of Walter Hartmann, took over and completely restructured the company.  He has been successfully leading the company with approximately 100 employees as part of the Spahn-Hamburg-Group ever since.

© 2013: HEINRICH SPAHN GmbH & Co. KG