An outline of the Vollmer Company history
We owe it to Wolfram Vollmer, an optician by trade, that we can celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Vollmer brand in 2021. In February of 1946, at the young age of 22, he registered his own company for the production of toys and fancy goods.
The production line comprised collar and fabric-covered buttons made from steel tape at that time. With a total of 10 employees, Wolfram Vollmer once started into his self-employment. Already in 1948 he had to cope with his first crisis. Due to the currency reform the sales of his products plummeted and he was unable to keep on 9 of his 10 employees. As early as during his second year of his entrepreneurship Wolfram Vollmer had to reinvent himself. He attended educational training at BASF Company. Injection-moulding was a new technology then and he realized the enormous potential behind it.
Where did his soft spot for model railway come from? Maybe he was influenced by his long walks on the tracks between Zuffenhausen, his home town and the train station in in Ludwigsburg that Wolfram Vollmer had to take during his education as an optician.
He was certainly influenced by his father who built a steam-driven railway in gauge 1 for his sons during the 1920s. The electrical catenary, which was patented and shown to the world public for the first time during the 1949 Nuremberg Toy Fair, was also an idea that originated from the time Wolfram Vollmer spent with his father. These were solid foundations for the further successful development of the Vollmer brand.
It was in the legendary Porschestraße, in wooden barracks which were common at that time, where the models were manufactured in rural surroundings. A first more modern factory building was inaugurated in 1956 followed by constructional add-ons in 1963, 1973 and 1979. These became necessary which was another proof for the continuous positive development of the Vollmer Company.
Very early on, Vollmer’s daughter Susanne was involved in the business. At the age of 13, she assisted her father during the surveying of the legendary station Baden-Baden.
Besides model making, Vollmer had a second core business which was related to the local automotive industry: the industrial production of thermoplastic precision parts.
Over the years, Vollmer developed its own style. It was very well received by customers both at home and abroad. Thanks to the regional proximity to the Baden Württemberg region, a large number of buildings with loving attention to detail were created, many models with high fitting accuracy and originality.
For many years, Wolfgang Keck, the general manager and Vollmer’s right-hand man loyally stood by Wolfram Vollmer’s side. This duo guided the model manufacturer also through the years following the German economic boom. At the end of the 1970s, almost every year Vollmer was awarded the prize for the “Model of the Year”. During this era, beautiful models such as the Church Stuttgart-Berg or the City Hall, strongly resembling the Munich city hall, were created.
Thanks to educational trips to the USA the level of knowledge was kept up to date as far as marketing and production technology were concerned. Thus the Vollmer Professional Line was initiated and enhanced. Vollmer has established itself within the toy industry and has been a constant until this very day. As an associate, the worldwide largest toy fair in Nuremberg has always been a must-attend event for Vollmer. Wolfram Vollmer was even part of the supervisory board for many years.
Time and again new products were presented on that occasion and Vollmer kept up with the times. Cooperation with renowned brands such as McDonalds, Lidl, Aldi, Porsche, Alnatura and many more were one of the reasons for the company’s steady and sound growth. Customer focus and presence at end user exhibitions became as important as the explanatory series “1000 possibilities with Vollmer parts” which over a period of several decades provided hints and ideas related to various products. Diorama contests were held and the most successful dioramas where presented at the toy fair.
The open day at Porschestraße 25, too became a cherished tradition for all Vollmer fans.
Wolfram Vollmer had two daughters: Susanne and her older sister Gabriele who were both involved in the company. After Wolfram Vollmer had to retire, the generational change was successfully accomplished with the help of the experienced Wolfgang Keck. In 2010, Wolfram Vollmer passed away at the age of 86.
In 2014, Susanne Vollmer decided to hand over the company to someone else. During the Nuremberg Toy Fair a first contact was made with Viessmann Modelltechnik mediated by a commercial agency. A few years earlier Viessmann had already successfully acquired the kibri brand which was also located in the southern part of Germany. An agreement was struck very quickly and as early as at the end of 2014, the first Vollmer kits were produced by Viessmann. No need to mention that the brand name Vollmer was maintained. The integration of Vollmer under Viessmann’s umbrella was swift and already one year after the acquisition, Stone Art, a novel product segment was added to the Vollmer range.
As we look back on this eventful yet very impressive past, we wish to express our sincere gratitude towards all former and present Vollmer employees and companions.