GROHE through the decades – Step back through time and experience the history of GROHE.
Friedrich Grohe established GROHE in 1936. Since then there have been seven decades during which we have continuously built our reputation for unrivalled quality, superior design and impressive technology. With our history of technological advancement, a renowned in house design team, and a customer promise with regards to quality that has stood the test of time, GROHE is setting the pace for the future.
In 1936 Friedrich Grohe (1904-1983) took over Berkenhoff & Paschedag in Hemer (Germany) that had been set up in 1911 as a mixed bag of ferric hardware. Following the take-over Friedrich Grohe focused on sanitary faucets only and drove a comprehensive modernization. In appreciation of his achievements in business and their social commitments Friedrich Grohe and his wife Ruth were awarded with the honorary citizenship of the city of Hemer in 1974.
In the 1930s the bathroom was quite a modest area - and only very wealthy people could afford this luxury at all. Friedrich Grohe wanted to change this and in accordance with its business philosophy he produced ‘high-quality faucets at a price which everybody can afford’. Grohe extended its sales markets very fast and already before beginning of World War II Grohe exported faucets to the Netherlands, Finland, and on the Balkans.
During the early 1940’s war time and rationing meant that the bathroom was still a very functional room. It simply served as a general washroom and luxury and comfort was unheard of, however, from 1948 post war construction saw GROHE prosper and grow, and it was then that the company decided to rename itself after its owner: Friedrich Grohe Armaturenfabrik.
The post war boom meant that bathrooms were becoming more of a key feature in the household but function still superseded design. Hot water was now readily available through the introduction of gas and electric boilers and it was in 1956 that GROHE acquired Carl Nestler, a manufacturer of thermostats. This was to become the subsidiary, GROHE Thermostat GmbH.
The 1960’s saw a new era of bathrooms with growth in the economic climate and people more willing to experiment with colours and designs. The advent of the one-hand mixers offering fast, reliable temperature control put an end to the sudden fluctuations in water temperatures that most households had to endure, and the bathroom was beginning to be seen as somewhere to indulge in discreet luxuries.
During this time GROHE started to expand internationally and saw the foundation of its first ever-foreign subsidiary in France in 1961, followed shortly after by Austria in 1965 and Italy in 1967. In 1968 Friedrich Grohe decided to sell a 51% stake in the company to International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) of the US, a move, which saw his heirs buy back in 1984.
With the revolution of ‘flower power’, colours were bright and multi-facetted with a strong tendency for reds, violets, browns and moss green. Demand for natural materials was virtually non-existent, with bathroom carpets mostly made from soft, fluffy synthetics. The 1970’s saw GROHE expand its portfolio even further with subsidiaries opening in the US, UK, Holland and Belgium and the introduction of the successful handshower series Relexa with its slimline, ergonomic styling.
This decade saw a complete change in the ethos of bathroom design; function was still a key element but design was becoming an important factor too with comfort and reliability key, but emotive designs to suit customer’s individual tastes and needs. During the 1980’s GROHE saw many significant changes.
GROHE logos in the 1980's
In 1982 production started at the new plant in Hemer – Edelburg and 1983 saw the death of Grohe’s founder Friedrich Grohe. Sixteen years previously he had sold half of his company to ITT of the US but in 1984 his heirs bought back ITT’s majority stake. In 1989 a new factory that specialised in the paint production opened in Lahr and the new Canadian subsidiary was established.
In the 1990’s ecological soundness of bathrooms was very important especially in heavily frequented public or business facilities. With the development of electronically controlled basin mixers and showers, water management was key. There was also a trend towards spacious bathrooms that were also durable and easy to clean.
During this decade GROHE became a public company under the name Friedrich Grohe AG, which facilitated many acquisitions and mergers, for example the acquisition of a 50% interest in GROME Marketing Cyprus Ltd in 1993 and the merger between Grohe and the Dal/Rost group in 1994. In 1995 a branch was established in Poland and 1996 saw the opening of 2 new GROHE factories, in Thailand and Portugal. 1997 saw the opening of a new GROHE design centre. Bathroom design was now heading towards the design led 21st century.
The bathroom is now the oasis of households, hotels and spas, a place to relax and unwind, with sophisticated design led products that perform to the highest standards…welcome to the 21st century bathroom. In 2000 GROHE is no longer listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange but has now been acquired by a consortium of investors. In 2001 the ingenious freehander shower head is introduced. Its current shareholders TPG Partners IV, L.P and the DLJ Merchant Banking funds, acquire GROHE in 2004.
In 2005 the ever popular Rainshower® is introduced, winning the reddot and iF design awards. In 2007 GROHE steps into the limelight with the launch of its new minimalist range of bathroom fittings, Allure, Lineare and Concetto, winners of numerous awards such as reddot, IF and Good Design.