Economy, © Museum Hameln


Otto Kuhlmann established a carpet weaving mill near the old Weser bridge in 1889. It was oriented to the international carpet market, and exports were an important source of income for the company. Hair yarn carpets were especially produced. Great Britain was an important market for them.

In 1934, the company was sold to the Preis family, which had close links to the Vorwerk carpet factory in Wuppertal. After the end of the war, the Hamelin plant was modernised. Preis introduced spraying, chain printing and other new processes. In 1947, the product range was extended to include wool velour carpets with Oriental and other modern patterns. In 1952, 500 people worked at OKA.  

In 1986, the company was bought by Vorwerk. The great carpet tradition in Hamelin is being continued!

OKA pattern book

Hamelin, around 1960

New patterns and newly developed features were introduced to representatives and professional customers in the pattern book.  

Item on loan: Vorwerk

Vorwerk carpet

Hamelin, around 1990 

The Vorwerk firm produced carpets in Hamelin. Special patterns have always been a hallmark of its production, but in the 1980s, an orientation to modern designer carpets arose. Cooperation with designers who were renowned worldwide represented a step towards the development of a very high-quality product range.


The “Concordia Ironworks” were founded in 1894 by Georg Berthelen and P.F. Goesmann. Shortly afterwards it was renamed as the “Concordia Iron and Chilled Casting Works”. Initially, building components such as decorated iron columns were manufactured, which among other things were used at the railway station in Hanover. Cold and hot rollers e.g. milling rollers were also produced by chilled casting. In 1912, Ernst Krause entered the firm and soon became the sole proprietor.

Machines for brickworks were included in the product range of the successful Hamelin company for many decades, but also machines for cigarette and paper manufacture. Steam rollers were delivered to China. 

After the end of the war, other machines for brick manufacturing were produced. 

In 1972, a share in the Hamelin company was sold to a firm in Siegen. The business developed unfavourably.  In 1983, the company was closed down. 


Due to the bombing attacks, the custard powder factory founded in 1892 moved from Hanover to Hamelin in 1943. When the plant in Hanover received a direct hit on 9th October, the machines which could still be used were brought to the dairy in Hamelin. 

After the end of the Second World War, this site was extended. The company thrived, and in 1948 premises on Wallbaumstraße were bought, where a new factory was built in 1954. From 1956, all production of the company was concentrated in Hamelin. The product range in the 1960s included custard and baking powder, starch powder, fruit and milk soup, instant pudding dishes and the cake flour mixture “Vogeley bak-mix”.

In 1972, Hans-Wilhelm Vogeley began to move into new fields of business.  In 1989, the product range was converted to bulk purchasers such as large kitchens, restaurants, clinics etc.  From 2000, with Philipp-Wilhelm Vogeley, the fourth generation of family owners became active in the company. 


Hamelin, around 1960

To this day, jelly is very popular, especially with children.  

Chocolate cake

Hamelin, 1991

Vogeley was one of the first companies to sell baking mixtures. The quick baking without further purchases of ingredients particularly appealed to employed people. Sales rose sharply until the production of goods for end consumers was discontinued.


The firm was founded in 1926 by Jakob Burkart and Louis Oetker. Mustard and vinegar were produced. The mustard was cultivated in Germany and other countries. Deliveries were made to bulk purchasers, e.g. food traders. In the 1930s, Burkart took over the whole company with his son Dietrich.

The customary wooden and stoneware tubs were very heavy and impractical for deliveries. Together with the firm Wagner from Hannover, a mustard bucket made of tinplate was developed. Burkart invented a mustard pump for this bucket, which gives out exactly 100 ml of mustard with each stroke.  The pump is patented. 

The company is flourishing, and 20 of its own sales representatives sell the products made in Hamelin right across Germany. Since the 1950s, especially small packaging such as glasses, tubes and bottles have been sold.  Products are manufactured for large commercial chains which sell them under their own name. 

Production was modernised in the 1960s. Now more than 20 t of mustard are manufactured per day. Vinegar production is also greatly increased.  Aromac was one of the first companies to introduce a plastic bottle for vinegar. The range has been extended to include Dijon mustard.  

In the 1970s, the Aromac firm became a pioneer in reusable mustard packaging. Beer glasses, wine glasses and stoneware cups were now being filled. Particularly successful were dark beer glasses, which were imprinted with motifs from Sesame Street or the so-called Ottifants.

There was a strong focus on the food industry in the 1970s. Price competition grew enormously. Aromac, known as an innovative company, was being wooed. In 1983, it merged with Carl Kühne AG. Production in Hamelin continued until 1987. The firm name Aromac lives on.  


The firm was established in 1879 by the Dutchman Theodor Reintjes in Emmerich am Rhein. His mechanical engineering company gradually became specialised in ship propellers, shafts and marine thrust blocks. The conversion from steam power to diesel motors after the turn of the century opened new possibilities for marine transmissions. Eugen, the son of Theodor Reintjes, developed a mechanical marine reverse gear unit. The first of them was delivered to Hamburg in 1929. Soon variable-pitch propeller systems were also built in accordance with patents of Eugen Reintjes. Now the direction of travel could be changed with the motor running – a tremendous gain for shipping!

In the Second World War, the company became an arms manufacturer. The factory was completely bombed out and destroyed in October 1944. The remains of the factory equipment were compulsorily relocated to Wagenfeld near Diepholz by the navy. 

After the end of the war, production was resumed in Wagenfeld. In 1950, it was relocated to Hamelin, where there were suitable buildings and good production conditions. Transmission and variable-pitch propeller systems were manufactured, for which newly acquired patents were used. The company flourished. In 1961, Eugen Reintjes brought Eisenwerke Reintjes GmbH under the Eugen-Reintjes-Stiftung, Charitable Foundation for the Promotion of Health Care in the city of Hamelin. 

For capacity reasons, the company moved in 1971 into the newly established factory in today’s Eugen-Reintjes-Straße. Expansions followed – such as his own hardening plant. Reintjes is internationally oriented, and exports make an essential contribution to earnings. In 1993, Reintjes Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. was founded in Singapore. In 1994, a further subsidiary company was established in Madrid, in 1995 in Dubai and in 2004 in Antwerp. Offices in Shanghai, Brazil and India followed.  

Reintjes is among the largest independent producers in the world of marine transmission systems in the 250 – 30,000 kW performance range. It powers service vessels, fishing boats, patrol boats, yachts and fast catamaran ferries. The integration of auxiliary drives for various aggregates, but also the deceleration and stopping of propellers and shafts are current tasks. On average 1,200 marine transmission systems leave the factory in Hamelin per year.  The export rate, including indirect exports, is circa 90%. More than 80,000 units have already been supplied world-wide.

Towing arm (BÖ transmission system)


Item on loan: Reintjes GmbH

Double gearbox (type DLGF 8890)


Item on loan: Reintjes GmbH


Wilhelm Mertens from Cleve became a partner in the carpet factory of Otto Kuhlmann in 1904. When Kuhlmann left in 1906, Bessert-Nettelbeck followed him as a partner and as technical director. Bessert-Nettelbeck designed patterns himself and was the creative mind of the leadership duo. Carpets, Tournay rugs and mats were manufactured from hair yarn and wool yarn. 

The First World War represented a decisive point for the firm. In 1928, the construction of the so-called “Hochbau” epitomised the factory’s business situation, which was now developing positively again. 

After Bessert-Nettelbeck left due to illness, Mertens became the sole proprietor of the firm.

During the Second World War, the factory produced armaments, and there was no longer production of civilian goods. The restart after the end of the Second World War was successful and the company quickly received orders from the occupying forces. The upturn was also promoted by the fact that the East German carpet production locations – especially in Saxony – were now located on the other side of the border. 

In the 1960s, BESMER was the leading large company in West German carpet manufacturing – 1,400 people worked in the company. Hamelin was recognised as the “most important carpet city in West Germany”. 

In 1973, the firm was sold to Triangeler Dämmstoff. A number of changes of ownership took place in the following decades.  The name BESMER has nevertheless been in use continuously as a well-known brand name. 

Carpet cutting

Hamelin, around 1960

Carpet cutting

Hamelin, around 1990


The Beamtenheimstättenwerk was established in 1928 in Berlin. Founded as a type of cooperative society, the goal of the company was to support public officials in the construction of their own homes. 

In 1947, the company head office was relocated to Hamelin. The company was mandated to a trustee by the occupying forces.  The German Association of Public Officials and the public officials’ organisation within the Federation of German Trade Unions were new shareholders. 

In the 1950s, turbulent growth of the company began. The so-called economic miracle also made itself noticeable in this sector. 

In 1978, the 50-year company jubilee was celebrated, and at the same time the new administration building was opened. The building was extremely modern with pneumatic post, open-plan offices etc. 

In 1997, BHW Holding AG became stock exchange-listed. In 2005, Postbank AG acquired a majority share in BHW AG.

BHW calendar

Hamelin, 1965

BHW customers are shown in the calendar how the interior and exterior of modern residential houses can look. The calendar shows an example of how important advertising materials can be as a source of history of everyday life: The photos show long-since bygone forms of accommodation, clothing and life.


Hamelin, around 1990 

The so-called Dispo 2000 was advertised by the Dispottchen. This loan facility was introduced in 1985. It simplified the use of funds by the savers. 


Hamelin, around 1960

Digitoxin is distilled from digitalis leaves. It has the effect of increasing the force of contraction of the heart, reducing beat frequency, slowing or obstruction of cardiac conduction and improvement of impulse formation by reduction of stimulus threshold. 

Digitoxin can therefore be used to treat cardiac failure or tachycardia, especially atrial fibrillation.

Item on loan: Hameln Group GmbH

Asthma Sertan

Hamelin, around 1960

The medication is used for asthma to relieve cramp. 

Item on loan: Hameln Group GmbH


Hamelin, around 1960

The medication is still manufactured and sold today by the Hameln Group. 

Item on loan: Hameln Group GmbH


Hamelin, around 1960

Papaverin is a natural substance occurring in the dried sap of the opium poppy. The medication is used in cardiac surgery to prevent blood vessel spasms in the preparation of arteries for a bypass operation. Until the 1990s, it was used as a spasmolytic for stomach, intestinal, gall bladder and urinary tract spasms.

Item on loan: Hameln Group GmbH


Hamelin, around 1990

The medication is an antibiotic. It is effective particularly against staphylococcus (non spore-forming bacteria) and enterobacteria. Streptococci infections can also be treated. It is primarily used to treat severe infections, for example respiratory infections, as well as skin infections (for example decubitus or ulcerated legs) and eye diseases such as conjunctivitis, corneal inflammation, inflammation of the eyelid and styes (insofar as caused by pathogens sensitive to Gentamicin).

Item on loan: Hameln Group GmbH


Hamelin, around 1990

The medication is a muscle relaxant. It is used for example in larger surgical interventions to relax the patient’s muscles. This is especially important with stomach and chest operations. The amount of anaesthetic can be reduced by the use of a muscle relaxant, which reduces the risk of complications. 

Suxamethonium is also used in pathological cramp conditions such as tetanus or poisoning, for example with strychnine, to prevent overload of the musculature with subsequent muscle stiffness. 

Muscle relaxants prevent muscle and tendon tearing during electroshock treatment. The drug is fairly new in so-called cosmetic medicine.  

Item on loan: Hameln Group GmbH

Matador flour

Hamelin, around 1960

The flour of the Matador brand is manufactured in Hamelin. The Hamelin mill belongs to the Kampffmeyer group of companies. 

The mill was destroyed in the Second World War.  In 1948, an old storage building was extended to become the mill. Production continues here to this day. 

Flour bag

Hamelin, around 1990

The Aurora brand is among the best-known German flour brands. It is used both by bakeries and end consumers. 

In the Hamelin factory of Kampffmeyer AG today, 180,000 t of wheat, rye and corn are processed annually for the regional, national and European market. 


Alfred Stephan was an entrepreneur and inventor from Saxony, who registered his first company in 1908. The rapidly expanding firm was expropriated and dismantled after the end of the Second World War.  Stephan began to manufacture again in Helmstedt, with a number of former employees.

Soon afterwards, he built a new plant in Hamelin. The convenient central location, specialised workers who lived in the city and the support of the city administration for new enterprises justified the choice of location. In 1950, the company, which both of Stephan’s sons had joined, produced modern motors in Hamelin. 

Werner Stephan devoted himself to the Detmold factory from 1955, while Siegfried Stephan committed himself wholeheartedly to the Hamelin firm. He became the sole proprietor of “A. Stephan & Söhne”. Machines for large kitchens, butcher’s shops, bakeries and dairies were manufactured.  Many people from Saxony continued to belong to the nearly 2000 employees.

In the 1980s, the positive development of the company began to weaken significantly. More and more parts of the company had to be given up, and finally Stephan-Werke was sold. Today the agile, flexible firm belongs to an Indian group of companies. 

Stepper motor

Hamelin, around 1960

Item on loan: Stephan-Werke GmbH & Co.

Transmission system

Hamelin, around 1990

Item on loan: Stephan-Werke GmbH & Co.