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Hesse history

Everything starts with an idea, with an inspirational moment. And this is exactly what Fritz and Karl Hesse felt when they founded the company in 1910. Their idea to produce lacquers and stains for the woodworking industry laid the foundation stone.

How it all began

Everything starts with an idea, with an inspirational moment that won't let you go and that drives you to move things, to create something new. And it was precisely this inspirational moment that Fritz and Karl Hesse felt when they founded the company in 1910. Their idea to produce lacquers and stains for the woodworking industry laid the foundation for our company history of over 100 years. Thanks to intensive research and development, we have grown as a chemical company.

What was the basic idea?

To make the world a little more beautiful.

With lacquers and stains? Exactly. Because even back then, the cousins Fritz and Karl Hesse saw more in it than just technical products. They recognised that lacquers and stains harmonise almost perfectly with wood and bring out the beauty in this natural product.

And it was precisely out of this drive that they developed innovative products that would exceed all their customers' expectations. They knew that a well-run family business is based on honest and cooperative relationships, both with employees and with customers.

More than 100 years of quality, progress and trust.


Porträt von Fritz Hesse und Karl Hesse

Founded by Fritz and Karl Hesse

Fritz and Karl Hesse have led the company with an eye to the future from the very beginning, driven by progress and innovation. They were forward thinkers, pioneers for new generations. They didn't just talk about innovation, they lived innovation. And today, over 110 years later, we still benefit from their determination, courage and striving for more.

First extensions become necessary

After we were able to increase our production, it has to be almost completely shut down at the end of 1914 until 1919 because of the mobilisation in the First World War. What happens next? Will it continue at all? An uncertain time is coming.

Resumption of production

The war is finally over and we move on. We could see it as a new start into a new era, so to speak. Our production was shut down, but not our thoughts. As an entrepreneur, you never stop being inspirational. You always think about tomorrow today.


Porträt von Dr. Wilhelm Hesse

Germany and the hyperinflation / Dr. Wilhelm Hesse, son of the founder Karl Hesse, joins the company management.

This year offers two important events at once:  

While the stock markets in Germany roll over, our revenues for 1923 amount to over 8 quadrillion Reichsmarks. 

In addition, Dr. Wilhelm Hesse, son of the founder Karl Hesse, joins the management. 

Resignation of the founder Karl Hesse from the management board

A person who has shaped and helped to shape the company with his ideals and values from the very beginning: Our founder Karl Hesse says goodbye to the management.

Complete destruction of the manufacturing facilities in Hamm by bombing raids

Once again, our entrepreneurial spirit is put to the test and ingenuity and flexibility are called for. We move on. And move to a production facility at the port in Hamm.


Porträt von Hans Hesse

Hans Hesse, son of the founder Fritz Hesse, joins the company management.

Together with the new Managing Director Hans Hesse, we are facing the challenges of the times.

Nail polish production

Talking about flexibility. In these difficult times, we are supplementing our production programme with nail varnish . Because necessity is the mother of invention and encourages us to think differently.


Porträt von Herbert Hesse

Herbert Hesse, son of the company founder Fritz Hesse, joins the company management.

With Herbert Hesse, another son of the company founder Fritz Hesse joins the management and goes new ways together with his brother Hans Hesse.

Resumption of production at Lange Straße

Old home, new ideas. We are back and setting new impulses.

Fritz Hesse, the founder, leaves the management board

Almost 20 years after Karl Hesse's departure, our founder Fritz Hesse, who also paved the way for a successful future, is also leaving us.

Steady increase in turnover

Our turnover grows with our demands. And these are characterised by modernity and progress. This also affects our factory, which is technically up to date.

Resignation from the Management Board of Herbert Hesse


Porträt von Rolf Hesse

Rolf Hesse joins the management

As part of the management team, Rolf Hesse sets new impulses and inspires us to new deeds.

Purchase of the plot on Warendorfer Straße

Everything is growing, our demands, our turnover and thus also our space for ideas - not only figuratively speaking. Because now we really need more space to be able to complete our ideas. That's why we are buying the property on Warendorfer Straße.

Resignation from the management of Wilhelm Hesse
Resignation from the management of Hans Hesse
Move to the new industrial estate in Hamm-Bockum-Hövel

98,000 square metres - plenty of room for progress and movement. Although we already thought big before, now we are also producing big.  


Porträt von Beate Hesse

Beate Hesse joins the management

We welcome Beate Hesse to the management team, who will lead us into the future with courage and passion.


Porträt von Hans J. Hesse

Hans J. Hesse joins the management board

With his determination and the unconditional will to create something new, Hans J. Hesse strengthened our management. 

Until today, he successfully manages the company together with Jens Hesse.  

Completion of the research and development centre
Foundation of our subsidiary

Another important event is the foundation of our subsidiary Hesse Benelux NV (Nazareth, Belgium). From there, we can further expand our position in the field of wood finishing products.

Introduction of the "Proterra" product line
Foundation of the own franchise concept


Porträt von Jens Hesse

Jens Hesse joins the management

We have arrived in the year 2001. A lot has happened on our journey through time. The company is now run by the 3rd and 4th generation.  

Jens Hesse has joined the management and continues to run the company together with Hans J. Hesse in a responsible and future-oriented manner.

Resignation from the management of Rolf Hesse
New trend: Hesse glass lacquers
Foundation of the subsidiary Hesse Vernis et Teintes (France)

As France is one of our most important target markets in the Hesse Group, we establish the subsidiary Vernis et Teintes (France).

Hydro UV diamond seal

– With very good resistance to micro-scratching

Foundation of our subsidiary Hesse International (Dubai)

With the foundation of our subsidiary Hesse International (Dubai), we have set milestones in the field of customer service and high-quality paint systems. As the gateway to the Middle East, Hesse International represents one of the most important transshipment points for our group of companies.

Award for innovative overall personnel policy concept

- Dortmund Human Resources Management

100th anniversary

100 years later - 100 years more ideas and inspirations. Now that we have been able to position and establish ourselves internationally and new developments have paved our way, we can celebrate our anniversary in a fitting manner.

Award as a family-conscious company in Hamm

We are proud. The award as a family-conscious company confirms our social actions and commitment.

Awarded the AOK Health Prize "Partner in Workplace Health Management"

The fact that our employees are important to us is shown, among other things, by the award of the AOK health prize "Partner in Occupational Health Management".

Mobil.Pro.Fit award for fleet management and employee mobility

This year we are once again delighted to receive an award. This time we are being honoured for our individual fleet and mobility solutions, which guarantee both flexibility and sustainability in vehicle procurement and mobility.

DIN EN ISO 9001 certificate, award as "Real Hammer" company

1st Innovation Days

UV LED technology

Efficient and energy-optimised drying technology stands for innovation and the future and enables us to work in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. That is why we decided to introduce UV LED technology. 

Certification according to Green Building criteria

International Innovation Days

Beate Hesse moves from the management to the advisory board
Certification according to DIN EN ISO 14001:2015 and DIN EN ISO 50001:2011
Conversion to DIN EN ISO 9001:2015


Hesse Lignal brand relaunch

We want to enrich people's lives even more in the future with beautiful, functional and sustainable surfaces. To achieve this, we are focussing on the core of our brand:

Hesse Lignal is competent, responsible and inspirational. The new logo in different colour gradients marks this path to the outside world. Many building blocks are also being sorted internally.

Launch Sustainability Strategy "Vision Strategy 2023"

Since 1 January 2024, we have no longer produced or sold nitrocellulose lacquers or solvent -based, acid- curing lacquers. This represents an important milestone on the way to our Vision 2030.

To the next 100 years

We have experienced a lot, reinvented ourselves again and again, never stopped researching and developing, always tried to emerge stronger from every situation. Even when we were forced to shut down our machines and our production in times of war, we always continued to think, develop ideas and inspire each other. We have always kept up with the times and have found an entrepreneurial answer to world-shaping events such as globalisation and climate protection. In the next 100 years, we will again be faced with new challenges that will lead us to new paths.