The Black Forest area has always been known for high-precision mechanical systems. This was the stronghold of the clockmaking industry and it was here that Benedikt Ketterer founded his clockmaking factory in 1832.
From the outset, one of the management’s goals has been to be in the forefront with new ideas. The result, in addition to high-precision delicate work for clocks, was the first electricity connection in Baden and the factory’s own private rail siding for its material supplies.
The range of products changed over time, and from the middle of the last century the
company focused on the development and manufacture of mechanisms for all kinds of sun shades.
For the past 25 years , we have been making height adjustment mechanisms for office
and workshop systems. Our facility at Furtwangen, Germany, now has a workforce of about
175 people. They are working together in the various departments to make our products.
Ketterer USA moved from Illinois to North Carolina in 2008 in order to better meet the increased demands of the market. This move allowed the company to significantly expand its warehouse space. It also gave the company on-site production opportunities.
The continuous growth in demand in recent years made it necessary to renovate and expand at the company’s site in Furtwangen. The focus was not only on expanding the production area, but also in restructuring operations in order to increase productivity while reducing unit costs.
This was achieved by streamlining processes, creating conditions for in-line production and modernizing the assembly processes. The existing premises structure was optimized during the expansion process; this involved carefully integrating the existing production and administrative building, which is under monument protection.
Ketterer found the ideal addition to its product portfolio with the launch of its own BLDC motor production. Customers now benefit from the advantage of receiving all drive technology components, including motors and controls, from a single source.
The number of employees at the company has risen to 135.
The business of the traditional company went quiet sluggish and remained as such until an owner reorganization was complete. The city Furtwangen expanded and bought a portion of the companies´ property. Felix Jaeger used these funds as to acquire in the 70´s the foundation the BKS belongs now to the family Jaeger and Ursula Hepting.
As Odin Jaeger started, only 20 years old, his activity in the BKS company with design and construction of gearings for vertical adjustable operator´s positions. From 1984 on Odin Jaeger took over the technical leading, using 18 assistants. He recognized the great opportunities in the area of vertical adjustable operator´s positions addressing an ever growing need to solve ergonomic needs in the marketplace.
With the beginning of the customer´s specification, development of specific small gearings and driving elements conforms Ketterer gearings to the requirement of the market trend. “We transform ideas” is the basic leading. Very often the true challenge is the integration in already existing basic modules of electric gearings or the BKS vertical adjustment. But Ketterer gearings always find the perfect customer´s specific solution.
Development, construction of gearings, spindles and vertical controlled ergonomic operator´s positions, power source for the production of solar elements or for special machines: KETTERER Gearing is the solution at the market for any problems! The turnover increase of 50% shows the importance of perfection, liability an stability. Odin Jaeger: many things have changed at Ketterer but one thing always stays. After 175 years for our 100 employees everything turns round about gearwheels.
As Oskar Ketterer gave up the technical leading of the BKS to set up his own company the DZG, the era of Emil Jaeger started. The husband of Olga Ketterer was leader of the clock maker school since 1923 and the personnel union nominated him as technical consultant of the BKS. At the same time Ernst Hepting was the commercial manager. Like many other companies´ the BKS had to pass through in 1920 the crisis of inflation.
In the beginning of 1933 the circumstances were stabilized. On this account because of the production of armaments goods for the French Air Force till the collapse of the 3rd empire. With only 6 employees Emil Jaeger started again after a nearly complete disassembly by the French occupation force. In the year 1946 the company started with the production of ashtreys. The son of Emil Jaeger, Felix Jaeger entered into the BKS. In the year 1952 have been founded a KG of 3 different family backgrounds, Manfred Hepting as general manager, Gerold Ketterer and Felix Jaeger as leaders of the technical section. Till 1957 Emil Jaeger was engaged as an active consultant in the management.
In the 50ths of this century, on the initiative – of Emil and Felix Jaeger, a new business branch with a great future was opened, the construction and production of gearings for blinds, awnings and sliding. The decision has been taken by family Jaeger to continue the traditional company with the manufacture of gearings. The BKS stays with its roots!
After the production of gas and water meters, the BKS started in the beginning of the 20th century with the production of electricity meters. To be on top of the development Felix Ketterer asked the clock maker school of Furtwangen to instruct his oldest son Oskar in manufacturing electricity meters. In the year 1900 the first alternate current meters left the company. In the beginning of 1920 the new production branch was formed. The German Meter Company DZG.
The year 1910 was in every respect the most successful one. It was going to be also the last one with Felix Ketterer as the leader of the company. He died in 1911, 64 years old. Benedikt Ketterer & Sons had grown to be the greatest company in Furtwangen. More than 350 employees were engaged in the company. After Felix Ketterers death, Oskar Ketterer took over the guidance of the company together with his brother in law, Ernst Hepting.
With the 1920´s came the possibilities to electrify the clock factories of Furtwangen through radio engineering. They expected a new future trade. Together with Prof. Dr. Weiss, the BKS developed plans for radio construction inclusive pieces which could be done as radio self service. The radio pioneer of Furtwangen, Oskar Ketterer had the fully support of his brother in law, Emil Ketterer the leader of the clock maker school. He acted as consultant of the technical domain. The market worked out very fast. But the BKS stayed with its main business, the production of gearings.
The combination between the company Ketterer in the Bregstrasse and the workshop hall nr. 2 at the Strassberg where regulators have been produced soon recognized a new development that would change the company once again. Felix Ketterer assisted the expansion of the telephone in Furtwangen. He build up a telephone line length 180 meters. Always open to embracing technical innovation, the company began to develop an electrical turbine. In the year 1890 at the Rote Muehle, produced a turbine current which was directly delivered to the workshop hall nr. 1 in the Bregstrasse. Felix Ketterer carried over the first power transmission in Baden.
To give fresh impetus and transform new ideas. Ketterer continues its approach toward technical innovations. Many of their awards from the 19th century are reflecting their impressive efficiency. Distinguished medals were awarded in the year 1878, silver medals and certificates for outstanding products presented in Vienna, Chile or Philadelphia. The success was reflected by the numbers of employees. In 1898 there were 150 workers engaged in the company´s activities.
The company´s sense of design was reflected in the company headquarters built in 1989. The red brick building at the Grosshausberg is the industrial distinctive sign of the clock village Furtwangen. A 50 horsepower driving element delivered enough current for the impulse of 150 machines. While a rail line was installed at the company site. Today the company headquarters is a technical culture monument. The spirit of Ketterer is to transform ideas into meticulous designs properly constructed.
Benedikt Ketterer and his younger brother Martin were both professional clock-makers and emigrated from Philippenhof, small valley close to Voehrenbach, to England and set up the company: Ketterer & Company, this company produced and sold clocks in Portsea which is a part of Portsmounth. Based on the success with their company, they returned to Germany as wealthy gentlemen. Benedikt went back in the year 1840 and his brother Martin in the year 1856. Their profit was invested in a new company in Furtwangen, the center of the Black forest clock trade. Benedikt Ketterer set up the company Benedikt Ketterer & Sons. Developed within a quite short time to the first company of Furtwangen.
Benedikt Ketterer acquires a double townhouse in the Bregstrasse and opened a mechanical workshop which produced all sorts of clocks. The brother continued the successful company in England for about 15 years more. Benedikt Ketterer fabricated and created a complicated clock mechanism. He was an expert in mathematics and engineering and quite an inventor.
Benedikt Ketterer recognized very soon the signs of a new epoch. For heating and lighting more and more houses used gas. A good solution to measure gas consumption was needed. In the year, 1851 Benedikt Ketterer started to manufacture gas meters. The first 20 pieces had been delivered to Freiburg. With this gas meters a new branch of industry has been born. The county Baden awarded him with the distinguished silver medal.
Felix Ketterer worked since 1860 in his father´s company which was taken over by him after his father´s death in the year 1971. Felix Ketterer expanded in the manufacture of water meters. The manufactures of the Black forest clocks and regulator clocks have been incorporated in the year 1873, to the Badische Uhrenfabrik. He was promoted to be the technical leader by personnel union. The company was named by Felix Ketterer to the First Badische Water Meter Company. He also produced gas meters, number, and counting meters.