Family business in the 7th generation

WIMAG GmbH can look back on over 200 years of company history.

Not many companies succeed in passing the baton from generation to generation. In times of takeovers, mergers and the relocation of production processes abroad, the model of a family business and "Made in Germany" has become increasingly rare.

We have achieved this feat thanks to the loyalty of our customers, our employees and, last but not least, the cohesion of the founding Greßbach family. Take a look at WIMAG's impressive history now.

The 7th generation of entrepreneurs is already active in the company and brings new and innovative ideas to the company. Maintaining independence as a medium-sized, innovative company is just as much a focus as expanding the company's market presence at home and abroad. 

The 1st generation: Matthäus Greßbach

We are writing the year in which summer failed - at least that's what the history books say. Incidentally, it also says that a special work of world literature saw the light of day in 1816: "Frankenstein or Modern Prometheus" by Mary Shelley. But we are of course interested in something completely different at this point. A young man from Eutingen in Württemberg lays the foundation stone for a company that still exists 200 years later. Matthäus Greßbach was a winch maker, and what a man he was. No wonder that after his arrival in Eisenbach he was promptly employed by the blacksmith's widow. What also comes is love, crowned by an imminent wedding. This not only sets a marriage in motion, but also a craft business, which from then on is run with much diligence and few resources.


The 2nd generation: Georg Greßbach

While workers and students take to the streets in Paris in 1848 and the gold rush begins in California, the time has come for Georg Greßbach to take over his father's craft business. In the meantime, he has learned enough to continue what he was literally born to do over the next 28 years. Modesty and the simplest means still prevail, but Georg knows how to advance his craft on 14 m² of floor space with 1 anvil, 2 vises, 1 drill and the lathe his father built himself.


The 3rd generation: Zachäus Greßbach

Every now and then, great things cast their shadow ahead, while small ones begin to grow. For when a new era dawns for today's WIMAG AG in 1876 with Zachäus Greßbach, a great man is born: Konrad Adenauer. And a miracle of technology also begins in that year - Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson make the first telephone call in the history of mankind. With the turn of the century, the tide finally turns for Zacchaeus: in his business, human power is supplemented and partly replaced by the acquisition of the first machines. The mechanical engineering institute develops a speciality with the rack and pinion jack; the first triple-headed jack with rack and pinion winch is used. Reason enough to be present at the regional exhibition of crafts in Nuremberg a short time later. And the first award is not long in coming: Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria awards the company the Silver Prize Medal for its prize-worthy wrought-iron winches.


The 4th generation: Josef Greßbach

While the First World War is taking place at the front and the Bavarian Motor Works are being founded, while Kaiser Wilhelm II reigns and the Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Verner von Heidenstam, Josef Greßbach succeeds Zacchaeus in the fourth generation. He moves the business from Unterdorf to Brückenstraße and expands it steadily from then on. As the company expands, more machine tools are added. The first three-headed pipe threaders are put into operation. In 1940, WIMAG is finally registered as a trademark. In the meantime, Josef is "decorated" with numerous honorary titles, but he receives his highest award from Federal President Heuß, who awards him the Federal Cross of Merit on ribbon in 1952. In 1969, Josef is made an honorary citizen of the community of Eisenbach for his services.


The 5th generation: Josef Hugo Greßbach

It is a special year when John F. Kennedy becomes president and Hans Albers dies. The economic upswing continues to provide people with work and prosperity. The medium of television makes its way into German living rooms on an overwhelming scale. And Josef Hugo Greßbach also increases his footprint in 1960 - he takes over the helm of his father's business. Under his direction, the first large hall with a floor space of almost 1,300 m² is built, and some time later a new office building is constructed. WIMAG is now represented at the major trade fairs in Leipzig, Frankfurt and Hanover and, in 1980, for the first time at BAUMA in Munich. With the development of the first hand-hydraulic pipe hoist, the company underlines its innovative capacity. A new logo also becomes the distinctive WIMAG trademark for the next decades.


The 6th generation: Gerd & Claudia Greßbach

It is 1985 when Gerd Greßbach becomes head of the WIMAG industrial company and from then on steers the fortunes of the company with his great penchant for state-of-the-art technologies, his expertise and his professional competence. Already in 1986, he and his team develop the hydraulic WIMAG motor roller MW90, followed a little later by the first electro-hydraulic pipe puller RZE, before the largest WIMAG grab with a diameter of 3 m and a pipe weight of 20 t is presented at the BAUMA in Munich in 1989. In 1991, the company celebrates 175 years of company history, a milestone that is still remembered today. But there is no time for standstill, in 1996 the first battery-operated vacuum lifter is put into operation. Shortly after the turn of the millennium, Gerd and Claudia Greßbach start "conquering" the biggest trade fairs worldwide. They started with CONEXPO in Las Vegas, followed by the BIG 5 in Dubai, bc India in Mumbai and finally bauma SA-Johannesburg and Conexpo in Santiago de Chile. Incidentally, the current corporate design has characterised WIMAG's appearance since 2012. And now, in 2016, the 200th anniversary - a wonderful occasion to look back and forward with pride and gratitude.


The 7th generation: Katharina Greßbach & Clemens Märtin

The 7th generation of entrepreneurs is already active in the company and brings new and innovative ideas to the company. Maintaining independence as a medium-sized, innovative company is just as much a focus as expanding the market presence at home and abroad. Other innovative products are also on the entrepreneurial couple's "to-do" list.

WIMAG today