HERMA - History

The second generation


Heinrich Hermann died shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War. His oldest son Eberhard, who had been chosen to succeed him, died in combat in East Prussia. The two younger sons were taken prisoner of war. As a consequence, their mother, Christine Hermann, took charge of the company as she had done during the First World War. The company’s buildings and machinery survived the war without significant damage. In late 1945 Werner Hermann (left) returned from captivity and became sole manager. His brother Heinrich Hermann Jr. (right) joined him starting in 1953. At the end of the war, just under 60 employees of the originally roughly 200 employees were still on hand. After the currency reform in 1948, demand started to grow again and the company’s workforce grew to more than 200.

1951 and later

Inspired by the new supermarkets in the USA, the Heinrich Hermann Papierwarenfabrik (Heinrich Hermann Stationery Products Factory) developed a special process for coating adhesive paper and marketed self-adhesive labels under the arco brand. It was the first company in Germany to offer such a product. These small, self-sticking price labels set the stage for the triumphant rise of self-service stores. They were the second product, after Transparol, to give the development of the company a decisive boost. By 1953 it had 400 employees and almost 100 home workers – more than ever before.


An adhesive coating developed in the company’s own laboratory made it possible to manufacture self-adhesive photo corners as well. The Transparol brand, already well known, soon became a huge success in Germany, the Benelux countries, Spain, Italy and Austria.

1956 and later

The company celebrated its 50th anniversary. And because its innovative adhesive labels were gaining an increasing market share, it used its engineering know-how to develop special label dispensers. The first devices, Model A and Model C, were designed only for manual operation. In 1960 the first electric labelling machine, the Model F, was presented. This was the “grandfather” of the modern HERMA labelling machines. What made it special was a built-in heating unit that permitted removal of the labels. The films and paper backings used at that time did not permit separation in any other way.


In Bonlanden HERMA held the topping-out ceremony for a new coating plant; its production facilities in Wangen were no longer suitable. In the decades to follow this location continued to expand.


A new trend appeared: computers. And labels to go with them.


HERMA purchased the REX company in St. Andreasberg/Harz. From that time on, the popular book covers with the distinctive red tape on the edges were a HERMA brand. To date, more than 200 million have been sold.


The “HERMA with star” trademark was introduced for products with an adhesive coating. Increasingly, customers used the word HERMA when referring to the Heinrich Hermann Papierwarenfabrik, which was still the company’s official name. In mid-1969 HERMA officially became the name for the whole company.


The HERMA 200 labeller was introduced. Thanks to its modular design, customers were able to adapt it their individual needs.


Self-adhesive labels became a part of everyday life. They accounted for some 90 percent of HERMA’s total sales. To meet the growing demand, two new label manufacturing plants were established in Deizisau and Filderstadt-Bonlanden.

Early 1970s

The company, which had been organised thus far according to strictly functional principles, was restructured along three product lines for better alignment with the markets: adhesives, labelling systems and stationery products. Such an organisational form had never been tried with a family-owned company of this size. Thanks to their different customer structures, the three divisions complemented one another well, which helped to overcome temporary difficulties in the market. As a result, HERMA continued to grow at a steady rate, even when the economy was weak. The share of exports also increased year by year.

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