The history of Zimmer + Rohde
IT ALL STARTED WITH A CLOUT AROUND THE EAR
Max Marx and Ernst Rohde, the great-grandfather of today’s managing director, worked together for a textile wholesaler in Karlsruhe. One day, the boss’s son was so cheeky that Marx could only respond by clipping the cocky boy round the ear. After an argument with his furious father, Marx resigned. Spontaneously, Rohde joined him as he walked out. On 1 December 1899, the two men founded the company Marx & Rohde in Frankfurt.
From the very beginning, Marx & Rohde established numerous contacts throughout Europe from which they drew high-quality fabrics. Some of those very first business contacts in France, England and Italy are still maintained today. Nevertheless, the dawn of the First World War brought an abrupt stop to the flourishing international trade.
A NEW PARTNER
In 1919 Rohde’s daughter Elisabeth married international businessman Georg Zimmer, who also joined the company. Zimmer helped to re-establish international contacts and led the company through the global financial crisis unscathed.
Max Marx died in 1933. In 1941 the National Socialists forced the company to be renamed Zimmer + Rohde. As the world awoke from the Second World War, Frankfurt had been bombed to the ground. Luckily, Georg Zimmer had been able to save the exquisite fabrics from the air raids by taking them with him when he fled to the Taunus region, and was able to set about reconstructing the company when the war was over.
A BRAND IS BORN
After Georg Zimmer’s death in 1950, his two sons Horst and Ernst-Georg assumed the company’s reigns. During the post-war years, Zimmer + Rohde developed its characteristic style of timeless elegance, whilst implementing the highest production standards. Soon, export began to blossom once again. In the 1950s the company was able to employ 40 staff members.
FROM TEXTILE WHOLESALER TO FABRIC MANUFACTURER
In 1968 the company left Frankfurt and moved into a new, spacious building complex in Oberursel. Together with freelance designers, Horst Zimmer developed his own creations. For instance, the Collection 111 of 1974 was based on 111 colours which could all be combined with each other. And so the textile wholesaler became a fabric manufacturer, and the Zimmer + Rohde name continues to invoke an immediate association with the highest quality and innovation of today.
THE BIRTH OF THE CREATIVE DEPARTMENT
With six sales subsidiaries in Paris, London, Milan, New York, Dubai and Hong Kong, Zimmer + Rohde has become a globally active business group. With the brands Zimmer + Rohde, Ardecora, Etamine, Hodsoll McKenzie, Warner Fabrics and Travers, the product portfolio offers an extraordinary variety of styles. Since 2003 the Get together furniture range has been a firm part of the collection series.
We sell our products in over 50 countries and have our own 100% owned sales organisations in 17 locations across the world. Over 85% of our business operations are undertaken via these sales organisations and our German sales department Today, the company employs some 200 staff members. From a two-man enterprise in 1899 was born an international business that has succeeded in maintaining the charm and reliability of a family run company.
111 YEARS OF ZIMMER + ROHDE
In 2010 Zimmer + Rohde celebrated its 111th anniversary. Clear evidence that quality, innovation and beautiful design remain as important as ever.