Bad Soden, Germany,

The MesserStory: 120 years and fitter than ever

The group of companies led by Stefan Messer, including the Bad Soden-based industrial gases specialist Messer Group and the Groß-Umstadt-based Messer Cutting Systems GmbH, is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. The company was founded by Adolf Messer in 1898. At that time, he employed four blue-collar workers and one salaried employee at his workshop for the fabrication of acetylene gas generators in Frankfurt-Höchst. Today, Messer is a wholly family-owned group of companies with some 8,600 employees worldwide. This year, the company is publishing weekly chronological Facebook and Twitter posts, each telling part of the “MesserStory”. However, in this anniversary year, the company’s employees will primarily benefit from many different measures with an emphasis on joint sports activities – a staff Olympics and a worldwide pedometer competition being just two of them.

In a nutshell: the “MesserStory”

In 1898, Adolf Messer started production of acetylene lighting installations and acetylene gas generators. When electric lighting and incandescent gas lighting replaced acetylene lighting at the start of the 20th century, he concentrated exclusively on the production of equipment for oxy-fuel welding and cutting. Besides oxy-fuel technology, air separation units became the second pillar: Adolf Messer put his first air separation unit into operation himself in Madrid in 1910. Under Hans Messer, the founder’s son, Adolf Messer GmbH merged with parts of Knapsack-Griesheim AG to form Messer Griesheim GmbH in 1965. In the years following the merger, the company grew in Europe and North America. In 1993, Hans Messer took a step back from running the business and handed the reins over to a manager from outside the family. After a risky expansion course and the near-collapse of the company, the founder’s grandson, Stefan Messer, was eventually appointed CEO in 1998. Together with financial investors, he put the company back on its feet over a period of three years before restoring its status as a family-owned business in 2004. This marked the birth of today’s Messer Group GmbH. The company has since focused on its core markets and the expansion of its ASEAN business. Together with the workforce of around 5,500 employees, Stefan Messer works in line with defined values and growth strategies.