Home > About Sewerin > History of the Sewerin Group


Family TreeHermann Sewerin, the company's founder, was born on 21 February 1884 in Gütersloh, Germany. From 1898 to 1902 he worked for Gustav Wilmking learning the trade of locksmith, then folowed six years of apprenticeship. In 1908, at the age of 24, he took the uncertain step of going into business on his own. He passed the examinations for the Master Locksmith's Certificate on 26 September 1912.

In his little workshop Hermann Sewerin initially made door-locks. He also cast door-handles, nameplates, sculptures, grave ornaments and decorative chains in brass and bronze.

After the First World War he produced milk centrifuges under the name Gütersloher Sahna, and the Einhorn (Unicorn) brand of carburettors for cars and motorcycles. With his brother Fritz he produced a tobacco pipe developed and patented by another brother, Wilhelm, and called it Sewerin’s Vulkan (volcano).

Hermann Sewerin founded Vulkan-Werk GmbH to manufacture these pipes. It was entered in the company register on 9 October 1923 with share capital of 12,000 Reichsmarks.

Inspired by frequent mining disasters, he developed a "gas indicator for indicating firedamp". He applied for a patent for it on 24 October 1926, and this was granted on 8 October 1931. This invention laid the foundation for the company’s present-day importance. Hermann Sewerin then began to do business with the gas companies, which used the new device to locate leaks in their pipeline networks.

Paul, Heinz and Willy Sewerin, the founder’s three sons, joined the company at the beginning of the 1930s.

In 1933 Paul Sewerin carried out the first systematic examination of a gas network for the Fulda Municipal Gas and Waterworks. Further jobs from other gasworks followed. Soon the three brothers were testing gas networks all over Germany. All the gasworks knew the name of Sewerin, and on 30 December 1936 the company’s name was changed from Vulkan-Werk GmbH to the Hermann Sewerin Company.

Hermann Sewerin died on 18 February 1941 on a business trip to Dortmund. His three sons continued to run the company: Heinz as commercial manager, Paul and Willy on the technical side.

After the Second World War the Hermann Sewerin Company grew from a small workshop operation into an industrial enterprise. Over the years the range of equipment and services it offered, particularly to utility companies, was constantly expanded.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the arrival of the third generation, Peter Sewerin – Willy’s son – joining in 1966 and Hermann Sewerin in 1975. Peter Sewerin, an engineer, was responsible for research and development, Hermann for commercial management. Paul Sewerin died in 1980. In the same year Hermann Sewerin was appointed joint chief executive with Willy.

In 1998, after more than 60 years’ service, Willy Sewerin took retirement. Physicist Dr Swen Hermann Sewerin – Willy’s grandson and Peter’s son – has been with the company since July 2001. In August 2004 he was appointed joint chief executive. The advent of the fourth generation maintains the continuity of this family company, founded over 80 years ago.