Skip to main content

How innovation comes from tradition A journey through time


On August 24, 2022, we, WALTHER-WERKE, celebrated our 125th company anniversary. We as a company with today's headquarters in Eisenberg in the Palatinate look back on a very long and eventful history. 

Today, we have successfully established ourselves as a company in the national and international markets for electrotechnical low-voltage distribution systems. This is the result of a family business run with heart and soul and passion, which was successfully taken forward through the turmoil and opportunities of 125 years by two owner families: Ferdinand Walther and Hans Kalthoff Sen. with his successors in the already third generation.

Our company history impressively demonstrates how visionary goals and innovative strength have given rise to forward-looking technologies and solutions that have decisively shaped the market and the entire industry from the very beginning.

Come with us on a quick trip through the history of WALTHER-WERKE.

1897 until today


A journey through time

The first anvil made from a piece of railroad track.

1897 How it all began

On August 24, 1897, Ferdinand Walther founded a fitter's workshop in Grimma. There, the first locks, electrical systems and locksmith work of all kinds were created by hand.

Ferdinand Walther was very practical and functional, which is why the first anvil in his workshop consisted only of a piece of railroad track.


The workshop in Grimma around 1910.

1910 Beginning industrialisation

From 1910 onwards, the Walther workshop showed a clear transition from a pure arts and crafts business to a company with industrial mechanical engineering. A first lathe and machining equipment were purchased and several apprentices and journeymen were employed.

The business grew, so that a first spacious factory with 50 employees was built in Grimma. A key factor in his continuing success was that he recognized at an early stage the enormous potential offered by the beginning use of electricity in industry and private households. Together with his employees, Ferdinand Walther established a new production branch for electrical devices and independently developed the first DIN plugs and sockets. The first milestone for the further success story of WALTHER-WERKE was thus set.


Building with administration and factory housing in Grimma, 1927.

1927 Further expansion

The first employment peak in the company's history was in 1927, when almost 600 people were employed at the plant. 
Due to the enormous growth, a modern foundry, a modern apprentice workshop, a six-storey administration building and factory buildings were erected on the company premises.

The world economic crisis in 1929 briefly put the brakes on growth.


The insulating material press shop with three presses.

1937 Increasing export

With the use of new industrial presses came the further upswing. 
The export business also developed splendidly. In 1937, the peak of prosperity was reached with a workforce of 1,300 employees

The company's 40th anniversary was duly celebrated this year at the Grimma site with a factory band and the presentation of a magnificent carillon.
In order to open up further sales markets, a branch plant was established in Strasbourg in Alsace.

In order to open up further sales markets, a branch plant was established in Strasbourg in Alsace.

The new company headquarters in the Alte Saline in Bad Reichenhall, 1947.

1947 A new beginning in Bad Reichenhall

At the end of the war, the Walther family was expropriated by the government of the Soviet occupation zone. Ferdinand Walther therefore looked for a new location for his company. For the new beginning it was off to Bad Reichenhall in 1947.

Two years later, Ferdinand Walther died and the business was continued by an asset manager until Hans Kalthoff Senior took over WALTHER-WERKE in 1958

Hans Kalthoff Senior - Managing Director of WALTHER-WERKE from 1959.

1959 Takeover by the Kalthoff family

On 01.05.1959 Hans Kalthoff Senior took over WALTHER-WERKE and brought the company back on a growth course. At that time, the company was quite small, as a branch had been closed down before. But thanks to the very good staff and a market-driven product portfolio with 3- and 4-pole metal plugs and sockets, metal cam switches and switchable sockets made of aluminum and cast iron, the company was very solidly positioned. 

In 1960 and 1961, with the help of a colleague and employee of the VDE, he successfully submitted the international standardisation proposal for the European standard CEE 17 - today still valid worldwide as IEC 60309.

The breakthrough then came with the sale of the world's first certified plug-in devices.


New construction of the plant in Eisenberg in the Palatinate, 1969.

1969 New beginning in Eisenberg

Due to a lack of space, the search for a new location began.
On September 15, 1969, construction of the new factory began at the new location in Eisenberg. Almost at the same time, however, there was a fire in the old saltworks in Bad Reichenhall.

In 1975, a complete revision of the CEE plugs and sockets took place. In 1989, the plugs and sockets received the if design award.


Location of the subsidiary in Austria.
Location of the subsidiary in England.

1977 International expansion

Hans Kalthoff Senior founded a sales company in Austria in 1977, which became a subsidiary in 2009.

In October 1982, the opportunity arose to establish another subsidiary in England.

Manufacturing received ISO 9001 certification in 1990, which facilitated access to the international market. More than 600 VDE test marks and 1,000 international certificates are proof of the consistently high quality standard at WALTHER-WERKE.

In April 1992, a subsidiary was founded in the USA. Three years later, in 1995, another subsidiary was founded in France.



Hans and Jürgen Kalthoff - Managing Directors of WALTHER-WERKE from 1998.

1998 Management under Hans and Jürgen Kalthoff

Hans Kalthoff Senior passed away on August 24, 1998, and his two sons Hans and Jürgen Kalthoff took over the management.

Jürgen Kalthoff was responsible for sales and  Hans Kalthoff for administration, standardization and miscellaneous.

After the previous almost three decades of intensive building activity, it was already necessary to add another warehouse in 1998.



Aerial view of the Bosecker Distributor construction site in Zittau.

2001 Takeover of the company Alfred Bosecker

On February 20, 2001 the company Alfred Bosecker in Gütersloh and BVS in Zittau were taken over with their assortment of power distributors

The company Alfred Bosecker was founded in 1933. In 1949, the first construction power distributors were introduced to the market.Die Firma Alfred Bosecker wurde 1933 gegründet. 

Sales negotiations with WALTHER began in mid-2000 and were completed in 2001 with the takeover. A reorganisation of the company followed. After three years, profits were made again and after just under seven years, turnover in this business area had increased six-fold.


Charging station at the Eisenberg location.

2008 New e-mobility business unit

New opportunities for a range of charging solutions arose in 2008 with the establishment of the Electromobility unit. This remains a central business area and an important growth market to this day.

In the following years, a comprehensive range of charging solutions adapted to specific market and customer requirements was developed.

Together with other market participants, WALTHER played a leading role in the draft standardisation of the Type 2 plug, which became a uniform European standard in 2013.



Expansion of the Eisenberg location - 2009.

2009 Expansion of the location in Eisenberg

The plant at the headquarters was gradually expanded further. With an expansion in 2009, the Eisenberg site thus comprised 19,000 m² of production, administration and storage space with around 280 employees.

Kai and Thomas Kalthoff, the sons of Hans and Jürgen, joined the company.


Kai Kalthoff - Managing Director of WALTHER-WERKE from 2014.

2014 Management under Kai Kalthoff

Kai Kalthoff became the sole managing director after Hans left the company in 2010 and Jürgen Kalthoff in 2014 as per his contract.

For a further development of the QM system, the certification according to international automotive standard ISO/TS 16949 followed. Thus, from now on, WALTHER also meets the highest quality standards.

The in-house testing laboratory was expanded and brought up to the latest technical standards.


The new CEE generation NEO - market launch 2019.

2019 Market launch CEE NEO

In 2019, the first versions of the new CEE generation NEO were introduced to the market. The CEE units received a complete redesign with optimised functionalities for maximum user benefit. The new and patented One-Touch closure system is particularly outstanding.

For the production of the new NEO range, a dedicated, fully automated and highly flexible production line was put into operation. In 2020, NEO then received the "Innovation Award Rhineland-Palatinate" as an award. 



Planning software IPD for building current device.

2020 IPD - Intelligent Power Distribution

Internal resources were then used to develop the company's own software.
In 2020, IPD was officially launched as an independent product unit. A very forward-looking business area as a basis for intelligent distribution systems and energy management.

The first saleable product was the IPD Planner, a functional module for planning and validating temporary power distribution systems.

In the medium-term, IPD will be expanded to become the central IoT-platform for all WALTHER products.



Aerial view of Eisenberg headquarters - 2021.

2021 Strong growth course


The year 2021 was extremely successful. Thanks to strong sales growth, especially in the area of building current, it was possible to increase the workforce with a good 50 new employees.

In 2022, WALTHER-WERKE celebrated its major 125th company anniversary.