LUHNS GmbH > About us > Company History


19. November 2014

Kaufverträge über Vermögenswerte der Hansa Group AG und deren Tochtergesellschaften abgeschlossen zum Artikel

About us

Company History

Pauline and August LuhnsPauline and August Luhn

Even after 140 years of corporate history, LUHNS GmbH's business continues to be a clean-cut affair, in the truest sense: founded by August Luhn — after lengthy prodding by his wife, Pauline — and Theodor Leyerer in 1869 as "Germany's first electrically operated and largest soap factory", the enterprise soon began to develop into a familiar brand. "The red stripe means LUHNS" was a slogan familiar to generations.

The LUHNS range now includes around eight hundred products in the detergent, cleaning agent and body-care sectors. When production of soft soap started 140 years ago, it still involved skilled and arduous work, and was definitely not to everybody's taste: three tonnes of soap would be bubbling in the batch kettle, the very centerpiece of the plant, but the master soapmaker continued, always, to test the progress of the saponification process with his tongue.

Parent house in WuppertalParent house in Wuppertal

As early as 1900, LUHNS began to expand its production range; alongside soft soap, the company also took up the production of domestic and special curd soaps, hand cleaners, luxury soaps, shaving soaps, and washing powders. The company experienced a real boom, with 260 employees, around 100,000 cartons of product leaving the plant every day, and the production facilities gradually attaining the scope of the present-day works.

"Seepen-LUHNS", as the industrialist family was known in Wuppertal, defied the vicissitudes of both world wars; with the assistance of its workforce, the company restarted its business time after time, again taking up the path set by its earlier successes. In 1969, the year of the firm's 100th anniversary, LUHNS had increased its prewar turnover by a factor of ten, to 86 million DM.

Balloon Abrador

LUHNS continued to develop into one of the industry's most renowned corporations, with expanding export markets — thanks not least of all to clever advertising strategists who recognized the signs of the times: as supermarkets gradually displaced the corner shop, LUHNS was the first to supply the new discount markets with lower-cost detergents. And they got their sums right: consumers' raised critical awareness led customers to turn away from brand-name products, and high-quality own brands enjoyed ever increasing popularity.

When, in the early 1970s, the fourth generation declined to take over management of the company, it was sold — in the meantime a joint-stock corporation — to the Belgian Tensia group. LUHNS subsequently changed ownership a number of times, and has now been a member company of HANSA GROUP AG since January, 2010.


140 years of Luhns - Presentation at anniversary celebration [4 MB]

140 years of Luhns - Germany's first electrically operated soap factory [3.3 MB]



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