Heraeus Holding GmbH operate as a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, produces precious metals, materials and technologies, sensors, biomaterials, and medical products, as well as dental, quartz glass, and specialty light sources. Heraeus Holding operates worldwide.
- Business Type:
- Industry Type:
- Manufacturing, Other
- Market Focus:
- Globally (various continents)
- Over 1000
Heraeus, the technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany, is a leading international family-owned company formed in 1851. We create high-value solutions for our customers, strengthening their competitiveness for the long term. Our activities focus on a number of markets: chemical and metals, energy and the environment, communications and electronics, health, mobility, and industrial applications.
Currently Heraeus holds more than 5,200 patents. Over 600 R&D employees in 25 development centers around the world are producing the innovations that are the hallmark of our company. In the financial year 2013 Heraeus generated product revenues of €3.6 bn and precious metal trading revenues of €13.5 bn. With more than 12,500 employees in over 110 subsidiaries worldwide, Heraeus holds a leading position in its global markets.
1851 – 1900: “First German platinum melting house”: a pharmacist and platinum
The father of today’s global company was Wilhelm Carl Heraeus, a pharmacist and chemist who took over his father’s pharmacy in Hanau, Germany, in 1851. At the time, platinum was in high demand for jewelry making. But platinum posed a major challenge for goldsmiths: It had to be forged in a white-hot state, because it is extremely hard and has a melting point of 1769 degrees Celsius.
Wilhelm Carl Heraeus, who worked with local goldsmiths, was familiar with the problem—and he found a solution. After extensive attempts, he succeeded in melting two kilograms of platinum in an oxyhydrogen gas flame. The “first German platinum melting house” was born, and success was not far off. The young entrepreneur's customers soon included goldsmith shops and jewelry factories around the world, as well as dental factories, chemical laboratories, and companies in numerous other industrial sectors. Wilhelm Carl Heraeus continued to experiment with platinum, and found one new application after another for the precious metal.
By the end of the 19th century, Dr. Wilhelm Heraeus and Heinrich Heraeus had inherited their father’s business, and W. C. Heraeus relocated to new facilities just outside the city gates of Hanau together with 40 employees. At that time, around 1,000 kilograms of platinum were melted and processed each year.