A company makes history
The GfE success story began in 1906. In a workshop in Fürth, the founders manufactured their first products: ferrotungsten and ferrochrome as alloy elements. What started small has developed into a global company known today as GfE Gesellschaft für Elektrometallurgie mbH.
1911–1918 Discovering modernity
|1911||Founding: On August 4, the Articles of Association for the Gesellschaft für Elektrometallurgie mbH (GfE) are signed.
Head office: Nuremberg. Managing Directors: Dr. Paul Grünfeld, Dr. Jakob Forchheimer, Max Loewi.
|1913||Development of a double refining process and founding of ABF in Sweden.|
|1914||Move to Höfener Str., which was still a green meadow back in the day.|
|1916||GfE enters into steel production and metal recycling by processing slag containing vanadium into ferrovanadium. Start of operation of the first electric furnace.|
|1917||Production of ferrochrome and ferromanganese at the newly founded Elektrowerk Weisweiler (EWW).|
1919–1932 The Roaring Twenties
|1919||New raw material sources are being investigated in the USA.|
|1920||The GfE administration moves to Blumenstraße in Nuremberg (today, the Kunstvilla Nuremberg is located at this address);
Employees: approx. 70
|1923||Founding of Metallurg.|
|1925||Expansion of the GfE product portfolio.
Employees: approx. 150
|1929||The well-equipped main laboratory is the heart of quality assurance at GfE.|
|1930||The European ferroalloy market crashes. Many employees have to be laid-off.|
|1931||The company headquarters move to Berlin.|
1933–1945 Under Nazi rule
|1933||Product portfolio in Nuremberg is expanded by ferrotitanium, ferroboron, ferroniobium.
The policy of self-sufficiency makes it increasingly difficult to procure adequate raw materials.
|1935||The situation becomes increasingly difficult for the Jewish founding family. The founding family and many employees flee Germany.|
|1937||Founder Paul Grünfeld dies; his wife Margarete and their son Herbert continue to run the company.|
|1938||During WWII, GfE is integrated into the autarchy and oppressive system of the Nazi wartime economy. The company is taken over by Vereinigte Stahlwerke and Reichswerke Hermann Göring. In addition to vanadium, tungsten, molybdenum, ferrotitanium, ferromolybdenum, chromium, and manganese are also manufactured for the steel industry. Herbert Grünfeld founds the London & Scandinavian Metallurgical Co. Ltd. (LSM) in London.|
|1940||GfE files several patents for different methods for the processing of vanadium-containing slag.|
|1944||The GfE main administration returns to Nuremberg.|
|1945||The GfE facilities are rebuilt and new products are being developed. Instead of ferroalloys, fertilizers and pesticides are produced. GfE can resume the manufacturing of ferro alloys in autumn 1945.|
|1949||After a lengthy return procedure, the founder's sons Herbert und Ernst Grünfeld take over GfE again in October. The main administration moves to Dusseldorf.|
1950–1985 Economic boom
|1950||GfE is allowed to produce their old product portfolio again. Vanadium is still the main product, tantalum and niobium are added as new products. The company expands into the USA and from there into the whole world. The number of employees in Nuremberg increases to more than 200. Metallurg opens subsidiaries for sales, production, and procurement of materials.|
|1969||In the new port of Fürth, vanadium-containing slag from South Africa is unloaded and processed into ferrovanadium at the GfE.|
|1970||The plant in Nuremberg is flourishing. The research department of the Metallurg group is located in Nuremberg. In peak times, the number of employees in R&D reaches 70.|
|1980||The production volume of GfE increases tenfold. The third furnace for the processing of slag containing vanadium is put into operation in Nuremberg.|
After exiting the ferrovanadium business, GfE repositions itself on the market. The company develops new, innovative technologies and highly specialized products, such as master alloys and coating materials. The focus on the manufacture of customized products increases.
Forschungsinstitut für Nichteisen-Metalle Freiberg (FNE): Production of sputter targets commences.
1990 until today The new millennium
|1990||GfE gets involved in the manufacture of hydrogen storage.|
|1992||The GfE head office relocates back to Nuremberg.|
|1995||Development of titanium aluminides.|
|1996||The company becomes a holding company with several GmbHs as subsidiaries. Founding of GfE Metalle und Materialien GmbH.|
|1999||Forschungsinstitut für Nichteisen-Metalle Freiberg (FNE): Extension of the product portfolio with tube cathodes of 4 m length.|
GfE takes over the Forschungsinstitut für Nichteisen-Metalle Freiberg (FNE; Research Institute for Nonferrous Metals) – the Freiberg subsidiary has been operating under the name GfE Fremat GmbH since 2008.
GfE becomes part of the AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
|2011||GfE celebrates its 100-year company anniversary with ceremonies, festschrift and prominent guests.|
|2013||The GfE companies now also use the AMG logo and carry the affix AMG TITANIUM ALLOYS & COATINGS.|
|2015||Topping out ceremony of a further new production hall for Titanium Aluminides in Nuremberg.|
|2017||GfE Fremat changes its registered office to the production site in Brand-Erbisdorf.|
|2019||70-year company anniversary of GfE Fremat / Forschungsinstitut für Nichteisen-Metalle Freiberg (FNE).|
The present and future
We have to thank our many, highly-motivated employees for our success – they are the ones who have kept the business running for decades. GfE's past and future are inextricably linked to the great GfE family that has stood for knowledge, innovation, loyalty, and commitment for all these years. At the same time, over the decades a metallurgical competence has been acquired that is unrivaled on the market. Together, they guarantee the success of this traditional company.
Three things have run like a common thread through the history of the company:
vanadium, the high standards for research and development, and the high standards for purity and quality.