Innovation out of tradition: the history of Scheufelen paper
On 9th June 1769, the miller Isaak Koeber from Oberlenningen receives the concession to build a paper mill by Duke Carl Eugen – the 'hour of birth' for the paper factory in Oberlenningen, at the time not yet owned by the Scheufelen family. This concession entitles the miller to collect rags in the entire district of Kirchheim. In return, Koeber has to deliver 2000 large sheets of writing paper to the Duke's administration officers every year.
On 4th October 1855, the assistant teacher Carl Scheufelen leases the paper mill in Oberlenningen from his brother-in-law, Jakob Gottlieb Beurlen. A very brave decision, as the mill is run-down and the production methods old-fashioned. As the number of paper factories for machine-produced paper is increasing steadily in the area, the traditional method of paper moulding is still used on the river Lauter. On 13th March 1856, Scheufelen buys the mill at a price of 8,750 guilders and takes his final step into professional autonomy. Together with cardboard and packaging paper, paper bags for sugar loaves belong to the Scheufelen product range in the early years.
Around 1870, one paper machine produces approximately the same amount of paper as 12 hand moulding vats. No wonder Carl Scheufelen has to be demanding to himself and his workers in order to be able to start machine production, which is finally the case in 1866. He introduces a small steam-driven cylinder mould, bought without any external capital or bank loans. The new machine produces paper bags and packaging paper that sell well. This change in Production also has an effect on the company's name: In march 1866, Carl Scheufelen requests the following name change at the district offices in Kirchheim: "Carl Scheufelen, production of packaging paper and cardboard in Oberlenningen".
"I would like to inform the esteemed families of Kirchheim that I am in the possession of quite a significant amount of prunes – all harvested and dried by myself" so Carl Scheufelen's official announcement in the newspaper "Teckbote". It seems like he is in the same boat as many other people in the de facto split Wuerttemberg area: Farming does nt earn them a living – but they cannot live without it, either. Scheufelen passed his interest in growing fruit on to his offspring. In 1926, his sons invite an ornithologist into the valley in order to introduce the protection of oscine birds and thus fight the fruit tree pests. In 1963, the paper factory even receives a silver medal for outstanding achievements in fruit cultivation.
Carl Scheufelen is able to make use of the increased demand in paper during the foundation years and survives the ensuing founder crisis. In spite of growing competition he is able to purchase a powerful Fourdrinier paper machine in 1876. The machine, built by the company Voith in Heidenheim, enables the production of fanfold paper and the changeover to the company's "speciality – white, medium and fine printing- and writing paper" as it is printed on the company's stationery from now on. (Photo: an ad by the Scheufelen supplier Voith from Heidenheim in the "Papier-Zeitung", the main publication for paper manufacturers)
On 1st January 1889, the "Comptoirist" (clerk) Gottfried Hepperle from Oberlenningen joins the "Papierfabrik Oberlenningen health insurance" founded the day before as its first member. With the launch of this health insurance, Carl Scheufelen and his sons Adolf and Heinrich react to the introduction of the state health insurance in 1883. All employees of the Papierfabrik Scheufelen can now be insured in their own company at very favourable conditions. (Photo: The BKK members receive sick pay from the fourth day of their illness, as this sick note reveals.)
In 1882, Georg Meisenbach's discovery of halftone printing has a significant impact on the "black art" of printing. Ten years later, Adolf Scheufelen is able to achieve the same for the "white art" with double-sided coated art paper. He is the first to launch it on the European continent. This type of paper is particularly suitable for halftone printing. In 1892, the first Scheufelen art paper is released and a new chapter in the company history is opened.
In 1891, during the Electrical Engineering Fair in Frankfurt/Main, 1000 light bulbs light up and an artificial waterfall starts rushing down. Both wonders are driven with electricity from the power station near Lauffen on the river Neckar, 175 km from Frankfurt. Perceived by contemporaries as a little sensation, it makes Oscar von Miller's invention of three-phase power famous. One of the first industrialists using the advantages of three-phase power im Wuerttemberg is Adolf Scheufelen. Only two years later, a hydroelectric power station is built, delivering three-phase power at 2000 volts through an overhead line for a length of approx. 2 km. (Photo: Turbine with its three-phase dynamo)
Adolf Scheufelen starts using the term "art paper" – increasingly the general term for all types of premium coated paper. Reasoning that the term only described the use of the paper, the patent office rejected its registration as a trademark and Scheufelen then registers the trademark "Phönix-Kunstdruckpapier" (Phönix art paper) on 11th May 1895. During the same year, the senior boss of the company nominates his two sons Adolf and Heinrich as partners. The company is now called "First German art paper factory Carl Scheufelen" and specializes in premium paper – until the present day.
Wuerttemberg has had its own patent law since 1828 and in 1877 a unified German patent law was ratified. Patent protection is also important for the success of Scheufelen. Adolf Scheufelen not only patents his Phönix art paper world-wide, he also ensures the rights for a number of technical innovations in the field of paper production. His "appliance to transport wet cloth panels on machines to apply colouring or similar substances" is patented in several countries, among others in Switzerland, Hungary and Italy.
Together with energy supplies, the traffic infrastructure – far from ideal in the Lenninger Valley – is one of the main location factors. For many years, Carl Scheufelen therefore worked on ensuring a connection to the railway station of Kirchheim for his company, which was 12 km away. With 30,000 Reichsmark he provides 50 % of private funds for building the railway. On 28th September 1899, the railway line between Kirchheim and Oberlenningen is inaugurated. One very prominent traveller on this maiden voyage is King Wilhelm II of Germany.
Adolf Scheufelen authorises building a new paper machine hall for two paper machines, after having built a vat- and machine hall with a 700 PS (horsepower) steam engine as the core of the factory in the previous year. All machines, including the new paper machine with parallel drive and a reel change with cutter are equipped with single transmission of electric power. It proves to be a good future investment as it is still used to produce high-quality raw paper as the basis for Scheufelen's premium brands. (Photo: Structural design of the PM II)
Adolf Scheufelen helps the founder of the German Museum with his ambitious project. As a widely recognised paper production expert, he is nominated as the chairman of the museum comittee and oversees the process of detting up the "Paper" department. During the inauguration ceremony in 1925, he receives a certificate and a golden ring to honour his special services for the German Museum together with 59 other public figures. (Photo: membership card of the German Museum)
Accurate in every detail down to the tail feather, with spread wings on top of a blazing bonfire. This is how the first phoenix was presented on the Papierfabrik Scheufelen's signet in 1895. How very different the look of the rectangular logo used from 1908 onwards: the head of the rather playful, slightly flimsy mythical bird in art-nouveau style is decorated with magnificent plumage. (photos: original drawings of the company signet)
The beginning of World War I stops a long period of steady rise for the company. Instead of art- or writing paper, paper waistcoats for soldiers are leaving the factory. Due of its lack of firmness, the paper clothing does not stand the test in practise and production is discontinued soon afterwards. At the end of 1915, the company management more successfully started to produce cellucotton for wound dressing purposes.
It is very apparent to Scheufelen that the wartime economy in World War I favours the arms industry over all other industries. While paper machines I and II are operating throughout the entire wartime period to allocate pulp to nitrified material, the production of ordinary types of paper has to be drastically reduced due to lack of raw materials. Another problem is the lack of staff. On the 362 male and 90 female employees working in the paper factory on 1st August 1914, 193 men are called up for military service shortly after the outbreak of war. Like everywhere else, women take over the empty spaces at the machines. Until the end of the war, a total of 321 factory employees are called up for military service and 51 die in the war. For all returning soldiers and their families Scheufelen produces paintings with a list of the military stations of the reipients at the back (photo).
In 1925, Scheufelen takes over the paper factory J. J. Goßler in Frankeneck. The connection was established by the marriage between Adolf Scheufelen and Paula Goßler on 31st May 1902. Around 1955, the Palatinate branch employs around 200 workers producing blueprint body paper, decorative paper and art paper. In 1971, time is up for Frankeneck, as the factory cannot survive in a very competitive paper market with just one machine. Further expansion is not feasible due to local limitations. (Photo: Writing paper from Frankeneck, 1892)
Adolf and Heinrich Scheufelen have a strong interest in close ties between their staff, the village and the factory. In 1926, they donate a parish hall to the village of Oberlenningen where most of their workers live. This parish hall houses the school for young children and the domestic science school, youth clubs and a library. During the same year, the brothers fund a hall for sports- and festive activities together with an adjacent open-air swimming-pool.
Capacity increases at the paper machines and high-quality machinery with ten coating machines are bearing fruit: While the economy is suffering in many parts of Germany and employees are made redundant, sales in Oberlenningen increase between 1926 and 1929 by more than 40 percent to 16,200 tons. With the increase in production, the number of employees goes up, too: In 1928, it reaches the treshold of 1,000 people. (Photo: Paper collection 1928)
Karl-Erhard Scheufelen, member of the management team since 1935, provides the soldiers with news from home with the "Phönix Feldpost". The letters lead to hundreds of grateful replies.
The longer the war lasts, the more the facory suffers a decilne in its workforce. Due to a lack of coal, the wheels have stopped turning. The fact that Oberlenningen is freed without suffering destructions is mainly the work of Karl-Erhard Scheufelen, who is able to persuade the Germans an the Amaricans not to fight. Considering the 15 tons of chlorine gas in the factory vats, it can be safely assumed that this prevented the entire Lenninger Valley from complete annihilation. While his brother, Klaus Heinrich Scheufelen, is working on the development of rockets in the USA during the standstill, Karl-Erhard Scheufelen commits to relaunching the production, which he achieves on 23rd April 1946. The paper machines start running again – producing paper for school textbooks. (Photo: Klaus Heinrich Scheufelen's rocket research notes)
On 5th January 1948, Heinrich Scheufelen dies at the age of 81. He was talented in many different ways: Gifted businessman winning an international market for art paper, inititor of the "Business Centre for Art Paper" and an avid fighter for the standardisation of paper – the DIN-Standard would hardly have be possible without him. But above all he was an "entrepreneur with a mind for aestheticism". He and his brother commissioned the restoration of the St. Martin's Church. The "seeker of beauty", as he was called in an obituary, was also an art collector and donated 116 paintings to the "Staatsgalerie" in Stuttgart. (Photo: Hendrick Terbrugghen, "A lute player singing" from 1620)
A post-war housing shortage and a lack of space in the Lenninger Valley are the reasons for the plan to build a settlement on the plateau of the Alb. Karl-Erhard and Klaus Heinrich Scheufelen found a housing co-operative and provide financial means. In September 1952, the ground-breaking ceremony takes place and in August 1953, the first family can move in. Until 1971, 184 houses with 312 flats are built which can be bought at a monthly charge between 80 and 150 DM. This is the result of subsidies and interest-free industry loans, above all from the paper factory. However, it does not suffice to build the houses – a road is also required in order to connect the settlement with the valley. (Foto: Building the Hochwang Track)
Capacity problems at the beginning of the fifties add to the sluggish increase in production in the post-war years. With the launch of paper machine V, these problems cease to exist in July 1954. The machine runs at a speed of 80 to 240 metres per minute with an output of approximately 70,000 kilograms of paper per day. (Photo: the wire section of paper machine V, still without noise protection)
The 50th, 60th an 75th anniversary of the company went largely unnoticed at Scheufelen, but the 100th anniversary is celebrated in style. There is a lot of reason to be happy: Ten years after the end of the war, the factory has a good market position again and continues to expand. Due to exemplary social security benefits, the employees participate in the succses of the Scheufelen family´s third generation. One of the 4,000 guests is the Federal President Theodor Heuss. (Photo: Newspaper "Der Teckbote", – 100th anniversary edition; source: Scheufelen archive)
Papierfabrik Scheufelen offers various leisure and social activities, from an in-house welfare worker to deal with the employees' problems over holiday trips that can be booked through the company at a reduced rate or the works outings enabling the staff to visit the Rhine or the Black Forestat a time when most of them still do not have a car. For the works outings, Scheufelen prints small guidebooks with information on the destination and the programme (photo).
For most people, this acronym stands for "Scheufelen art paper" – whereas the correct term for the machine-coated art paper launched into the market in 1966 is "B-pulp with V calender finish". "V" stands for paper machine V put into operation in 1954 for the production of traditional art paper. Scheufelen's marketing strategies are also subject of fashion trends, this attractive advert being good example.
Scheufelen paper can already be bought all over the world – and now it conquers outer space. In 1967, the NASA places an order for flame-resistant paper with the paper factory – its first order ever to a German company. Scheufelen manages to produce a special, almost entirely flame-resistant paper. 1969 is the paper's first flight to the moon on board of the Apollo 12. It is used in the Skylab space station. (Photo: "Moon paper" sample).
The slogan "The benefits of the screen points – better printing with Scheufelen" adorns the promotional gifts in the seventies.
1972 the Olympic Games take place in Munich. The federal Republic of Germany wants to create an image of peace and happieness for the world. Otl Aicher the officiale Olympic design representive follows a strategy of overall consistency. The colours of the rainbow are a main design element. They are repeated everywhere including the sports poste. They are printed on Scheufelen paper. For the last time, the factory delivers single-coated paper. But its not the last time Scheufelen receives an Olympic order - the Los Angeles poster 1984 is also printed on paper from Oberlenningen. (Photo: Olympic poster by Otl Aicher).
With Dr. Ulrich Scheufelen´s entrance into the company as the debuty managing director, the fourth generation of the Scheufelen family comes to the fore. "Paper as an object of culture" is his particular interest, which reveals itself in his committed work for a number of cultural foundations as much as in the launch of a unique museum for the 'Art of Paper and Books' in the castle of Oberlenningen in 1992.
At the beginning of the eighties, Scheufelen delivered glossy gravure paper to Rome to print the Vatican Council. Its quality convinces, and orders for a large number of facsimiles, books and reproductions of the Vatican Library followed. In order to master the colourings of the historic parchment originals, Scheufelen develops paper in "natural white" and "ivory", which is very durable. So Klaus Scheufelen promises Pope Paul II that people will be able to enjoy the "Codex Benedictum" (photo) and other works in the Vatican Library printed on this paper for the next 500 years.
"Paper through new eyes" – so the motto the paper factory uses for its first art calendar in 1987. It is part of a new corporate Scheufelen strategy. The credo: Concentration of white coated premium paper. The calendar is awarded the prize of the jury at the calendar show in Stuttgart.
Scheufelen is one of the first paper factories to receive ISO 9001 certification. ISO stands for "International Standardization Organization", a body coordinating international standardisation to support the exchange of goods and services. Scheufelen quality management – periodically checked by ISO 9001 – is controlled regularly by the "TÜV Nederland". (Photo: ISO 9001-Certificate from 1992)
After a very intensive development phase, Scheufelen is able to launch a completely new paper category into the market together with the company "Römerturm Feinstpapier". phoenixmotion is a high-quality premium coated paper merging the printing quality of dull-coated paper – and this is the novelty – with the haptics of uncoated paper. The book "Neues Sehen, Neues Fühlen" (photo) globally introduces phoenixmotion as the new paper category "Premium coated paper" to the markets.
The small paper mill developed into a world-class company – a long success story where quite a few times of crisis had to be overcome. In its 150th year the company can look back with pride and look ahead with optimism. The company owners can raise their glasses to celebrate the 150th anniversary. (Photo: portrait of company founder Carl Scheufelen)