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Story No. 6

Our company logo through the ages

In this story, you will learn more about how our logo has changed over the last 145 years.

The building front of plastics production at the Böllhoff site in Bielefeld.

Company logos – an integral part of a brand’s identity

The star on the vehicles of a certain Swabian car manufacturer, the golden M of a well-known fast food chain or the apple with a bite mark belonging to a global technology company – logos are an important element of a company’s external communication measures. They make the brand identity visible and help to make a brand instantly recognisable. In our latest story from 145 years of Böllhoff, we take a look at the development of our own company logo.

A wholesale hardware business for mining companies, among others: the first Böllhoff logo

It all started with the simple lettering “WB 1877”, composed of the initials of our founder Wilhelm Böllhoff and the year his company was founded. This lettering not only appeared on a window at Böllhoff’s first location in Herdecke, but also became a central element in the first company logo.

The lettering "WB 1877", short for Wilhelm Böllhoff 1877,  made of metal in the middle of a window
The lettering "WB 1877", the basis of the first company logo, in a window at the original Böllhoff building in Herdecke.

Striking: A hint towards our core business as well as an important customer group of the early days found their way in as well. The outline of a hexagon nut formed the outer boundary of the logo: a reference to our company’s activities as a hardware wholesaler. In the centre of the logo was the hammer as a symbol for the mining industry. Miners were among the most important customer groups of our still young company, along with forgers and metalworkers.

The “WB 1877” logo was used over two entire family generations, for around 100 years. At some point it was joined by stylised versions of our company name Böllhoff as a word mark – for example written as BÖLLHOFF or böllhoff. Both logos, the “WB 1877” logo and the word mark, could be found, for instance, on a price list from 1973.

Part of the front page of a Böllhoff price list from 1973.
The first Böllhoff logo on a price list from 1973.

Creating visible connections – the Böllhoff parabola

Böllhoff developed significantly as a company in the 1950s and 1960s. After acquiring the HELICOIL® licence in 1954, we began to manufacture fasteners ourselves for the first time – in addition to our existing business as a wholesaler. When the third generation of the Böllhoff family took over the company, Böllhoff also increasingly entered international markets. As company manager, Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff first expanded to Austria in the 1960s, then to Brazil and Mexico. All these developments meant that the existing logo no longer seemed appropriate.

"Production became more and more essential, also in our strategies. So I asked myself: Is this logo with hammer and mallet – Wilhelm Böllhoff, 1877 – aimed too much at the wholesale part of our business?"

Portrait of Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff
Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff Third-generation company manager from 1962 to 2004
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As a result of these thoughts, the Böllhoff parabola was created in the early 1970s – as a new company logo, as a visible sign of further development. The two intertwined parabolas symbolise connections. Connections that Böllhoff creates for its customers, but also the personal connections of the people behind the company’s success. It took until the 1980s, however, for the Böllhoff parabola to reach its final form: combined with the BÖLLHOFF lettering underneath it. Before that, several other versions of the logo had been in use. For some time, the two intertwined parabolas stood alone or were complemented by the letters B + C in the middle of the logo. B + C stood for Böllhoff & Co., our first company that was involved in the production and distribution of what we call special fasteners today.

Part of the front page of a Böllhoff brochure for connections in plastics from 1979.
An early version of the Böllhoff parabola on a brochure from 1979.

A future needs a past, also when it comes to the logo

Both the BÖLLHOFF word mark and the parabola – stylistic elements deeply rooted in our history – are still with us today. By now, the word mark BÖLLHOFF in Böllhoff Blue has become the main logo of our group of companies. Depending on the application, the Böllhoff parabola complements this main logo as a subordinate design element and makes our passion for successful joining visible – the vision that drives us day after day.

The building front of plastics production at the Böllhoff site in Bielefeld.
Today’s Böllhoff logo and the parabola on a building front at our headquarters in Bielefeld.

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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.