1972 – Two brothers, minimal equipment, but lots of enthusiasm and determination…
“We had neither a rich father nor a rich uncle on whose financial support we could have counted.”
So Georg Kaufmann, but burying your head in the sand and giving up was never an option.
A drawing board, a typewriter, a lathe and 20 square meters of production space in an empty barn in the tranquil village of Bellikon – this is how Georg Kaufmann, a trained toolmaker, machine draftsman and designer, and his brother Jo started as absolute newcomers to the industry in 1972. A used lathe for those who were proud at the time 19,000 Swiss francs was their starting capital. Now it was time to scour the surrounding companies to land orders. First chances were needed to prove yourself! More machines have been purchased – a used milling machine and a grinding machine have found their place in a former truck garage. Bruno Steger added as a toolmaker and the first apprentice, Alex Kaufmann, was trained. 7 days a week and right through the tool garden, people designed, tinkered and built.
1975 – One chair – one breakthrough – one success story
«Kaufmann showed everyone and solved all the technical problems with phenomenal accuracy. The foam padding and the fabric were pressed together in one operation. The tool worked from the start. It was like a miracle.” Max Horlacher remembered enthusiastically.
The company grew… With the contacts to big industry, further chances to get ahead opened up. The chair series “polytrop”, which was new at the time, was developed for the renowned and globally active manufacturer Stoll Giroflex AG. The Kaufmann brothers got in touch with the then supplier of the chair shells, the Horlacher company. With a single work step, maximum strength of the padding and minimal material consumption, Georg Kaufmann scored with his tool across the board. He was secure in his position as purveyor to the court at Giroflex.
1976 – A logo was needed!
“It had to be red, that’s fresh, that’s GK red,” the company owner commented on the color of the logo.
The red logo has stood for precision, clarity, dynamics and power since 1976.
The individual segments of the logo symbolize the work of the company: complex tools are assembled from different parts. The unmistakable logo, designed by Bremgar graphic artist Peter Bolliger, still exists today, because Georg Kaufmann Formenbau still stands for precision, clarity, dynamics and power today in 2022.
1983 – Plastic is the trend – intuitively on course for expansion and further development
«We offer our customers development and implementation in one house. So theory and practice. That’s one of our strengths.” Georg Kaufmann is still convinced that this was one of the reasons for his success.
Georg Kaufmann could also rely on his good intuition on this point. Plastic parts were in demand and it quickly became clear to him that the trend would be towards plastic and that he would have to specialize in it. In 1983, for the first time, the volume of plastic used worldwide exceeded that of iron. Georg Kaufmann continued to invest in his machinery and bought his first computer-controlled milling machine in the same year. A new era has begun. Precision has been massively improved and delivery times have been shortened. From this point on, all shapes were planned on the drawing board.