Story No. 4

1954: a personal connection and a success story

How a personal connection led to the start of the HELICOIL® success story at Böllhoff in 1954.

 HELICOIL® sales documents from the 1950s

The starting point of a success story that continues to this day

The very beginning of our company's history in 1877 was already based on a personal connection. Connections between people also played an important role in another very decisive milestone of our company history. In 1953, Josef Böllhoff, second generation manager of our company, first heard about “new types of resilient thread inserts to reinforce threads”, referred to as HELI-COIL at the time, from a family friend in the USA. It was the starting point of a success story that continues to this day.

The path of the HELICOIL® thread insert to Böllhoff in the 1950s resulted from Josef Böllhoff's good friendship with an entrepreneurial family from Herdecke. The family owned a well-known company for separators in Oelde, Westphalia which already had its own branch in the USA. In 1953, the son of said family returned from the USA and told Josef Böllhoff about a kind of “spiral that has to do with threads”. This was how the first contact with the licensor was made.

Acquiring the HELICOIL® licence: a groundbreaking step for our company

Only one year later, in 1954, Josef Böllhoff acquired a licence for the production and sale of HELICOIL® thread inserts - a groundbreaking step for our company.Up to that point we had traded exclusively in DIN and standard parts, but with the production of HELICOIL® we entered the production of fasteners ourselves for the first time. We opened our first own production facility for thread inserts in Bielefeld in 1958.

In the following decades, the thread insert shaped the development of our company like no other product. Since 1954, we have continuously expanded the variety of HELICOIL® and tailored it to demanding applications. Further evolutionary stages of the thread insert followed, as well as a multitude of assembly tools - from hand-held devices to automated assembly systems. Today, the HELICOIL® product brand is well-known worldwide and is the market leader for thread inserts in the USA, Latin America and Europe.

HELICOIL® production workstations in Bielefeld, 1958
HELICOIL® production in Bielefeld, 1958

In 1977, on Böllhoff's 100th company anniversary, Josef Böllhoff recalled his beginnings with HELICOIL®

“The step into production was significant for what had until then been a pure trading company. We now focused on the expansion of production and sales at home and abroad. It was particularly important to follow the technological developments in the automotive industry, the high quality demands of the aircraft industry, the light metal and plastics industry. This not only in the Federal Republic of Germany, but also in Europe and later especially in a sales region that is very important for us today: Latin America.”

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Our history in three and a half minutes

145 years of Böllhoff – that means countless successful connections. Our fasteners were used, for example, in the fastest Atlantic steamer of the 1920s. In the lunar module that brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the dusty surface of the moon in 1969. And over the decades, of course, also in some iconic cars.

Many successful connections, both large and small, have enabled us to constantly develop as a company. In this video we would like to show you some of the most important milestones of our 145-year company history.