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History

Would you like to know a bit about the history of Wachsmuth & Krogmann? Our story begins more than 200 years ago on a Friday in September 1797...

1797

The 22 year old Johann Christian Wachsmuth (1775-1820) founded J. C. Wachsmuth on 15th September 1797 in Steinstrasse. He traded a variety of goods including olive oil, almonds, figs, candied peels, caraway, pimento, pepper, cork and onions. Wachsmuth’s company quickly became one of the biggest traders of colonial goods in Hamburg.

The Zippelhaus building has been the headquarters of Wachsmuth & Krogmann for many years.

1815

Hermann Christian Tobias Krogmann (1797--1866) settled in Hamburg in 1815. He became a clerk at Wachsmuth, together with the company founder’s younger brother: Carl L. O. Wachsmuth (1786-1885). In 1823 Krogmann married Catharina Dorette Elisabeth Wachsmuth, the sister of the company founder. In 1824, Carl Wachsmuth and Tobias Krogmann took over the company and moved the business to a new address at Grosse Reichenstrasse 45.

The establishment of shipping operations and expansion into new markets by Hermann Tobias Krogmann was pivotal in shaping the company.

1831

In 1831, Tobias Krogmann acquired the sailing ship Mary Ann and founded the Wachsmuth & Krogmann shipping company. More ships followed soon after. The company’s fleet of ships continued to bring new goods to Hamburg from the Mediterranean, South America, South East Asia, India and the South Sea and later expanded to included the Baltic region and Russia. By the time the shipping business was terminated in 1942, Wachsmuth & Krogmann had operated their own ships uninterrupted for 111 years. This made them one of the oldest shipping companies in Hamburg at that time.

The Undine was one of the 63 ships operated by Wachsmuth & Krogmann. This iron full-rigged ship sailed under their flag for 33 years before it sank in 1900

1841

On 1st January 1841 the owners decided to change the name of the company from J. C. Wachsmuth to Wachsmuth & Krogmann. This was the company name recorded in Hamburg’s first commercial register. The company flourished. Wachsmuth & Krogmann developed into an important food wholesaler. When Carl Wachsmuth left the company in 1846, Tobias Krogmann become sole owner of the company.

Carl Wachsmuth & Tobias Krogmann inform their business partners of the name change to Wachsmuth & Krogmann on 1st January 1841

1861

Wachsmuth & Krogmann continued to expand. In 1861 the company took over the scheduled liner service between Hamburg and Calcutta, bought shares in two shipyards and in 1870 set up trading posts in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. Trade in copra, cotton, tortoise shell and coconut oil flourished. In 1873 Wachsmuth & Krogmann expanded to the Baltic region and onwards to Russia, setting up a merchant bank and office in St. Petersburg. In 1875 the company began to specialise in the import of paddy rice from Burma and Siam. In 1893 Wachsmuth & Krogmann had two steamships built for the Hamburg‐Harburg steamship company.
Wachsmuth & Krogmann created the company Kolonialwaren-Import Ewerwahn & Co. to which they outsourced the import business between 1913 and 1938 so that they could concentrate on shipping business that had experienced strong growth in this period. From 1939 to 1942, Wachsmuth & Krogmann imported sultanas and currants from Greece.

This photograph from 1880 shows the members of Wachsmuth & Krogmann standing outside their company office at Grosse Reichenstrasse 45

1945-present

Wachsmuth & Krogmann resumed business in 1945 with a handful of staff at the Zippelhaus office. The company became a partnership in 1962 and opened an import agency for nuts and dried fruits. A little later, in 1968, imported canned goods, fine delicacies and frozen products were added. 1980 saw the first non-food products imported. Wachsmuth & Krogmann expanded the non-food business and set up an office in Hong Kong. The company continued to grow. Offices in Shanghai and the USA followed. In 1997, Wachsmuth & Krogmann celebrated its 200th anniversary. The offices of Wachsmuth & Krogmann are today located at Lange Mühren 1 in Hamburg’s historic Kontorhaus quarter. 

Oil painting by Joachim Bereuter created for the 200th anniversary of Wachsmuth & Krogmann in 1997.