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History

6 generations of entrepreneurs invested all their power and daring in this plant over 190 years of ever-changing ups and downs.

J.D. Theile, the company, has also followed the path from cottage industry to factory operation.

Johann-Dietrich Theile

The founder, Johann-Dietrich Theile, a farmer’s son, was born in 1793 in Oestrich near Letmathe. He learned the trade of chain-making. His entrepreneurial spirit, however, was not satisfied with working in the home smithy, but rather desired independence. In search of water power, i.e.  a naturally existing source of energy,  he came to the small village of Villigst near Schwerte, where he located this water power in the Elsebach brook. This is where, in the year 1819, Johann-Dietrich Theile had a waterwheel and the corresponding chain wheel for polishing chains constructed. Warehouses and storerooms followed. The energy and diligence of the founder soon made the company renowned throughout the world.

When Johann-Dietrich Theile died in 1873 he was able to leave his son Fritz a company which had an excellent reputation and a stable customer base.

The founder’s grandson, also called Fritz Theile, began the factory production of ship chains and thus created the foundation of today’s chain factory. He was unfortunately not blessed with a male heir and so the name Theile died out in the company with his death in the year 1919.

Wilhelm Hidding

The actual technical development up to the most cutting-edge manufacturing processes of today was initiated by Wilhelm Hidding, son-in-law of the last bearer of the name Theile. In him, the owner of the company, there was to be found a personality which matched the vitality and entrepreneurial daring of the founder.

Under his aegis the discontinuation of out-dated manufacturing processes and introduction of new methods loomed continually. It was hence Wilhelm Hidding who introduced the factory manufacture of heavy stud link anchor chains, and it was also he who built up the production, in line with the latest technical perspectives of welding and tempering processes.  Under his leadership J. D. Theile was particularly authoritatively involved in the mechanization of mining. When he died in the year 1959 he bequeathed to his son, Jürgen Hidding, a life’s work in the form of one of Europe’s most modern chain factories. Jürgen Hidding then needed to tackle the mining crisis of the 80s. He realized early on that the company would not be able to survive on German mining alone and hence considered his main task to be entering the global market. In this respect JDT has in the meantime become one of the leading suppliers both in mining and in the industrial field.

Today his son, Jan-Dirk Hidding, manages the company with the same conviction as its founder. His focus areas consist of modernizing the plants and automating production processes, thus giving the company a future-oriented direction. For him the opening up of new product areas and markets is definitively in the foreground.

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