The world’s oldest press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer has celebrated its 200th birthday with a week of celebrations in Germany.
In his welcoming speech to the guests Claus Bolza-Schünemann, CEO, KBA dealt with the history of the company, which is closely linked to that of his own family. He thanked generations of customers, executives and employees for their contributions through economic crises, wars and technological transformations.
Bolza-Schünemann says, “Print has been keeping our company and its employees moving for 200 years now. Even in a digitalised world, it is always an exciting task finding new technologies, solutions and applications for print with which our customers can continue to be successful.”
Founders Freidrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer manufactured the world’s first newspaper press, for the London Times in 1814, and established their company in Germany three years later, 1817, a quarter of a century before the beginning of the machine age in Germany.
The duo travelled to England as they saw it as a more advanced country, and they were able to raise the money to build their double cylinder steam powered press there.
Little over 50 years later the factory produced its 2000th press and it has manufactured presses ever since. The company still operates from its original Wurzburg base. Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall it bought the Planeta business in Dresden in 1991, the previous year it had become KBA as it joined with the Albert-Frankental Group.
At the celebrations, the company welcomed former Federal President Horst Köhler as the keynote speaker. The audience also heard short presentations given by the three chief executives of of Germany’s other big print companies.
Many customers and business partners visited the spruced-up main factory in Würzburg and experienced historical and modern printing presses in action. The week of celebrations had begun with an international press conference at which the company, which has successfully adapted to a changing print market, presented its ambitious goals and strategies for the future, as well as its new market appearance.
In New Zealand and Australia, KBA has operated as a direct subsidiary for the past 15 years. Prior to that it had representation from various agents.