We started out by forging new paths. We’re still traveling them today.

1847

Martin Rütgers, the father of our founder, Julius Rütgers, opens the first German treatment plant for railway sleepers in Neuss outside Düsseldorf. The enterprise fails, however, when the revolution in the following year impedes construction of the railway network.

1849

At the age of 18, Julius Rütgers assumes his father’s debts and reopens the plant, converting production to Bethell’s method with coal tar.

1860

Julius Rütgers builds Germany’s first major coal tar distillation facility in Berlin.

1889

RÜTGERS scientist Adolf Spilker discovers the aromatic ingredients coumarone and indene, which became the basis for the first synthetic resins from coal tar.

1897

Julius Rütgers builds the Teerproduktenfabrik Rauxel-Westfalen.

1905

First Deutsche Teerproduktenvereinigung (the German tar products syndicate) founded in Berlin, and the Gesellschaft für Teerverwertung mbH established in the Meiderich district of Duisburg.

1909

Supervisory board member Segall acquires patent rights for the production of hardenable phenolic resins. He recognized the growing demand for highly insulating products early on.

1910

Consul Segall, the successor to Julius Rütgers, founds Bakelite GmbH. This company produces the world’s first fully synthetic plastic, the material used to manufacture the casings of such universal articles as early home radios, the good old black rotary-dial phones and those in the light switches that used to protrude so prominently from the walls.

1915

Founding of Verkaufsvereinigung für Teererzeugnisse G.m.b.H. in Essen, which later became VFT GmbH.

1929

RÜTGERS launches onto the market Caramba graphite spray oil, a name that became as synonymous with the entire product group comprising rust solvents as “Post-it” for sticky notes.

1964

Merger of the Rauxel facility of RÜTGERS-Werke AG, the Gesellschaft für Teerverwertung (GfT) and VFT’s pitch coking plant into the Castrop-Rauxel plant of RÜTGERS-Werke und Teerverwertung AG.

1968

Company name changed to Rütgerswerke-Aktiengesellschaft.

1972

RÜTGERS group sales for the first time exceed one billion German marks.

1973

Acquisition of Société Chimique de Selzaete, Belgium.

1991

Acquisition of the plant built in 1958 in Hamilton, Canada, a key step in further penetrating the North American market.

1992

Founding of RÜTGERS-Verkaufsvereinigung für Teererzeugnisse Aktiengesellschaft (RÜTGERS VFT AG).

1992

RÜTGERS sets new standards with the world’s first ocean shipment of liquid pitch.

1995

Spin-off of RÜTGERS VFT AG.

1998

Some fields of business restructured as decentralized companies; RÜTGERS AG established.

1998

Acquisition of Handy Chemicals Ltd., Canada

2000

Acquisition of the company in Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland, that is now RUETGERS Poland Sp. z o.o.

2002

Merger of RÜTGERS VFT AG (tar chemistry) and RÜTGERS Organics GmbH (fine chemicals) into RÜTGERS AG.

2007

Change of legal form to RÜTGERS Chemicals GmbH.

2008

Takeover by Triton private equity company.

2008

International holding company RÜTGERS N.V. founded with headquarters in Zelzate, Belgium. The VFT Belgium and VFT Canada Inc. plants are renamed RÜTGERS Belgium N.V. and RUETGERS Canada Inc. The German company operates under the name RÜTGERS Germany GmbH.

2008

Chief Representation Office established in Shanghai.

Chronology

Find out more about our 150 years of expertise in the chronology.