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About Böllhoff

Our company’s history

Four generations, one common vision: enabling successful connections.

A look into the Böllhoff Group warehouse in Bielefeld in the 1950s

The Böllhoff Group – family-owned for four generations

We started off as a local ironmongery wholesaler back in 1877 – now we are your innovative partner for joining technology with assembly and logistics solutions, around the world.

  • Founded the company in 1877

    Wilhelm Böllhoff (1848–1924)

    Wilhelm Böllhoff, hailing from Herdecke in North Rhine-Westphalia, laid the foundation for our group of companies when he established the Wilhelm Böllhoff company as a national ironmongery wholesaler on 6 January 1877. He deliberately chose Epiphany Day to launch his independent business in the hope that it would prove an auspicious start for a successful company.

  • Joined the company in 1923

    Josef Böllhoff (1894–1984)

    A member of the second generation of the family, Josef Böllhoff took the helm of the company in 1923. In the same year, he was instrumental in founding a Böllhoff branch in Bielefeld, East Westphalia. Just two years later, Bielefeld became the company’s headquarters.

    In 1954, there followed what probably was Josef Böllhoff’s most far-reaching decision: the acquisition of a licence for the production and distribution of HELICOIL® thread inserts. The HELICOIL® product family has shaped the further development of the company like no other product – and continues to do so right up to the present day.

  • Joined the company in 1962

    Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff (born 1934)

    In 1962, Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff, a member of the third generation of the family, joined the company. He steered the fortunes of the Böllhoff Group for more than 40 years until 2004. Throughout this period, he led the company from Bielefeld onto the international stage.

    With the foundation of two companies in Brazil (1964) and Mexico (1965), he established Böllhoff on the other side of the Atlantic. Numerous further expansions followed under Wolfgang Böllhoff’s direction: within Europe (the 1970s to 1990s), as well as ventures in Asia (early 2000s).

  • Joined in 1998 and 1994

    Michael W. (born 1971) and Wilhelm A. Böllhoff (born 1965)

    In the 1990s, the fourth generation of the family joins the company: Wilhelm A. Böllhoff (1994) and Michael W. Böllhoff (1998).

    As managing partners, they continue the consistent pursuit of internationalisation. They are working to expand production and logistics capacities worldwide, expand Böllhoff’s presence in Asia and bolster the company’s profile as a full-range supplier of joining technology.

    Having strengthened the Group in these ways, they will now lead on into the future with their passion for successful joining.

A look behind the scenes

Stories from our company history

We have been creating successful connections since 1877 – and we are proud of our long history. Follow us through it and take a look behind the scenes: What did a personal connection have to do with the founding of our company? How did Böllhoff get from Bielefeld out into the world? Find out more about these and other milestones in our stories.

  1. How it all began
  2. Böllhoff on the high seas
  3. A personal connection and a success story
  4. Our company logo through the ages
  5. Our way across the Atlantic
  6. Austria: from small beginnings to great successes

There was a special connection behind our company’s foundation

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Picture of the passenger ship "Bremen"

Fasteners for the fastest passenger ship of the late 1920s

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HELICOIL® sales documents from the 1950s

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

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

In this story, you will learn more about how our logo has changed in over 145 years of company history.

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The Böllhoff team at the Brazil site in 1966

In 1964, Böllhoff expanded to the American continent for the first time - and opened branches in Brazil and Mexico.

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Exterior view of today's sales location of Böllhoff Austria in Traun

Over 60 years ago, on 1 July 1962, our first branch office outside Germany was established in Vienna, Austria.

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Important milestones

1877 – founded in Herdecke

Wilhelm Böllhoff from Herdecke (Germany), travelling ironmongery salesman and youngest son of master tailor Friedrich Böllhoff, sets up shop on Epiphany Day 1877. He establishes an ironmongery wholesale business focusing on metalwork, forging and mining. Right from the start, he concentrates on nationwide direct sales, extending his business beyond the borders of Westphalia.

Böllhoff’s first building in Herdecke
Böllhoff’s first building in Herdecke

1923 – branch office in Bielefeld

Following the French occupation of the Ruhr area, the second generation – Josef Böllhoff and family – establishes a branch in Bielefeld to safeguard the future of the business. Josef Böllhoff shifts the company’s focus to screws, nuts and threaded parts for machine construction and shipbuilding.

Exterior view of the Böllhoff branch in Bielefeld, 1923
Böllhoff branch in Bielefeld 1923

1928 – the passenger ship “Bremen” is constructed

Böllhoff supplies a significant quantity of the fasteners used on the ship, which goes on to set a new record for the fastest crossing of the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in 1929.

Picture of the passenger ship "Bremen"
The fast steamer Bremen on its maiden voyage in 1929

1954 – HELICOIL® licence

In 1954, Josef Böllhoff takes a significant decision that will have a lasting impact on the future of the company: He acquires a licence for the production of thread inserts under the brand name HELICOIL®. With this move, we begin to produce fasteners ourselves for the first time, alongside our existing business activities.

HELICOIL® sales documents from the 1950s
HELICOIL® sales documents from the 1950s

1958 – HELICOIL® production

Our first production facility of our own opens in Bielefeld, where HELICOIL® thread inserts are manufactured. Production and distribution of these miraculous little fasteners alone occupy 36 employees.


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

1962 – Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff and start of internationalisation

In 1962, the third generation of the family joins the company in the person of Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff. He begins to look more and more beyond Germany’s borders. The opening of the first branch in Austria marks the beginning of our company’s internationalisation.

Portrait of Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff in 1962
Dr Wolfgang W. Böllhoff in 1962

"A future needs a past. Since 1877, we have had a passion for helping our customers establish successful connections. As a family business, we have continued our consistent development over generations, responded to various trends and created innovation. That’s our strength."

Portrait of Michael W. (born 1971) and Wilhelm A. Böllhoff (born 1965)
Michael W. Böllhoff Great-grandson of the founder

1964 – the company accompanies VW to Mexico and Brazil

Two years later, in 1964, Böllhoff undertakes its first venture in the Americas with its own production and sales facilities in Brazil and Mexico. This decision was prompted by our close supply relationship with Volkswagen, which had previously opened new production facilities in Brazil and in Mexico for its Beetle model.

Front view of a VW Beetle
Our products make their way into the automotive industry with the Beetle

1969 – the moon landing with HELICOIL®

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first men to walk on the moon. The lunar module that takes them there uses HELICOIL® threaded inserts.

The lunar module on the surface of the moon, 1969 – with HELICOIL® thread inserts on board
1969 moon landing with HELICOIL® thread inserts

1972 – start of production in France

Böllhoff establishes a production and sales facility in France, where manufacture of RIVKLE® blind rivet nuts and studs begins. This allows the company to expand into the important Italian and Spanish markets, where branch offices are subsequently established.

Current aerial view of the Böllhoff plant in France
The Böllhoff plant in France today

1990–1992 – production in Sonnewalde

The reunification of Germany opens up Eastern Europe, allowing us to establish a second German production facility in Sonnewalde in southern Brandenburg. Further branches in Southeast Europe soon follow.

East and West Berliners celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989

1994/1998 – the fourth generation joins the company

With Wilhelm A. Böllhoff in 1994 and Michael W. Böllhoff in 1998, the fourth generation takes the helm at Böllhoff. As managing partners, they continue our consistent pursuit of internationalisation.

Portrait of Michael W. (born 1971) and Wilhelm A. Böllhoff (born 1965)
Michael W. Böllhoff (left) and Wilhelm A. Böllhoff

2000 – first production facility in the USA

Böllhoff purchases a production facility in Kendallville, Indiana, USA (near Fort Wayne). Michael W. Böllhoff is appointed manager of this facility.

Aerial view of the production facility in Kendallville, USA.
Production facility for blind rivet technology in Kendallville, USA

2001 – branch in Shanghai

Böllhoff has maintained a strong trade relationship with China since the 1980s, and now it takes its first permanent step into the Asian market with the establishment of a sales office in Shanghai.

Shanghai skyline
Böllhoff with sales office in Shanghai since 2001

2004 – Böllhoff starts production in Asia

Böllhoff sets up the first Asian production facility of its own in Wuxi, China. Production of RIVKLE® blind rivet nuts and studs for the Asian market begins at a facility that starts out with 2,500 m² of floorspace.

Aerial view of the Böllhoff site in Wuxi (China)
Böllhoff site in Wuxi, China

2010 – Böllhoff in the UK

Böllhoff acquires Armstrong Precision Components (APC) in Hull, UK, strengthening its position in Europe.

Aerial view of the Böllhoff plant in Hull, UK
The Böllhoff plant in Hull, UK

2016 – further branches in Asia

With the opening of sales offices in Japan and South Korea in 2016, Böllhoff continues to expand in the Asian market. A Vietnam branch follows in 2021.

Map of Böllhoff sales offices in Japan, South Korea and Vietnam
Böllhoff has an Asian presence in Japan, South Korea and Vietnam

2019/2020 – expansion of logistics competence

Two central national warehouses start operations in Oelsnitz in the Vogtland district of Saxony and in Sainte-Hélène-du-Lac in France. Both logistics locations are state-of-the-art and offer plenty of space for further growth. The central warehouse in Oelsnitz also represents a significant financial milestone: With investments totalling over 40 million euros, this complex is the largest single investment in the company’s history.

Aerial view of the Böllhoff central warehouse in Saxony
Böllhoff central warehouse in Saxony

2021 – HELICOIL® trademark

In October 2021, we acquire the worldwide HELICOIL® trademark.  As a result, variants of the thread insert can be offered in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan for the first time.

Four generations of the HELICOIL® thread insert from Böllhoff
HELICOIL® a Böllhoff product all over the world since 2021