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ThyssenKrupp Bilstein of America Inc.
, a German entrepreneur, opened a foundry and galvanizing factory for the production of residential window hardware under the name AUBI (for “August Bilstein”) in 1873. The AUBI company grew in size and stature. Many innovations and patents were soon developed, building a foundation for the success of this new company. During this time frame, high-quality and innovative products became the credo of AUBI.
Hans Bilstein, the 25-year-old son of the founder August Bilstein, took control of the firm in 1919 and was responsible for the growth and diversification of the company over the following half century.
August Bilstein struck a joint venture with the Levator Lifting Gear Company in Berlin in 1927 and one year later entered the auto industry making car bumpers. August Bilstein became Europe’s first supplier of chrome plated car bumpers in mass production for automobile manufacturers including Audi, Daimler-Benz and others.
After taking over Levator in 1930, Bilstein began their own production of lifting jacks and cranes. Several years later, Bilstein became a primary supplier of car jacks as original equipment to the auto industry, a position they continue to retain today in Europe.
With the window hardware and jack and crane business in place, August Bilstein made a historic decision in 1954 by entering the automotive shock absorber business. They perfected the monotube gas pressure shock absorber, a new design which revolutionized the shock absorber industry.
Over the next 12 years, August Bilstein established 16 worldwide patents on the development of their monotube gas pressure shock absorber design. They worked closely with Daimler-Benz and in 1958 Bilstein became standard equipment on all Mercedes-Benz models, beginning an association that continues today.
To further strengthen their position with automotive manufacturers worldwide, Bilstein outfitted factory race cars with their shock absorbers to demonstrate their superior performance. This started an unparalleled record of motorsports success at racing venues the world over.
It was the racing success of Bilstein shocks at the famed Baja 1000 off-road race that eventually led to the formal presence of Bilstein in North America. Bilstein Corporation of America was established in 1972 with headquarters in San Diego, CA. An Eastern sales office and warehouse was soon added in Wallingford, CT.
After expanding their aftermarket and replacement shock business with a network of distributors and retailers in North America, Bilstein entered the domestic original equipment shock market in 1984. Working with General Motors, Bilstein was chosen as an option for the 1984 Chevrolet Corvette and the Chevy S-10 four-wheel drive truck models. This association with GM has blossomed into a program that now finds Bilstein shocks used as standard equipment or options on numerous models of General Motor vehicles in several GM Divisions. A Bilstein engineering and marketing office was opened in the Detroit area to coordinate the GM business. Bilstein of America then set up their first production facility in this country in Hamilton, OH in 1995 to supply their original equipment customers.
at ThyssenKrupp Bilstein of America Inc.
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