KGM down the years


On 13th May 1913, Walter Gebauer I and Swedish engineer Thor Möller founded Kugelfabrik Walter Gebauer in Frankfurt am Main.

Walter Gebauer
Walter Gebauer ran his factory for over five decades.


After World War I the company relocates to Fulda and acquires a large factory complex with hydroelectric power production.

The business is renamed Kugelfabrik Gebauer & Möller, (KGM).

The ‘Athlet’ brand is launched.

The company is making precision steel balls and ball cages for the bicycle industry.

A speciality of the company Gebauer was miniature balls.


First series of conversions and extensions made to the existing buildings. Despite some difficult years and the global economic crisis, the company continues to grow.


Part-owner Thor Möller leaves the business.


By order of the Third Reich government. Production of rocker bearings for the aircraft industry is begun.

The KGM brand is launched.

The company is now employing approx. 400 people


Following the end of World War II, production is resumed and built back up.

The blowing up of the neighbouring Hornungsbrücke Bridge causes damage to company buildings and machines.

Mitarbeiterinnen der KGM bei der optischen Qualitätskontrolle
KGM employees at the visual quality control.

1952 / 53

Two buildings added, extending the factory complex to 1,750 square metres.


The company’s 50th anniversary with a workforce now of 300.


On 19 March 1966, company founder Walter Gebauer I dies aged 81. His heirs sell their shares in the business.


On 31st January 1967, FAG Kugelfischer, managed by chief executive Walter Gebauer II (nephew of KGM’s founder) and Johannes L. Richter, takes over the management of Kugelfabrik Gebauer & Co.

1968 / 70

Constant demolition, conversion and extension work to buildings, plus overhauls to machines and turbine building required in order to keep up with the latest technology.


The last of the Gebauer family heirs sell their shares and KGM becomes wholly owned by FAG Kugelfischer. The company name is changed to KGM Kugelfabrik Gebauer GmbH. The managing director continues to be Walter Gebauer II and Johannes L. Richter.


Johannes L. Richter, as managing director, and FAG (Kugelfischer) chief executive Wilhelm Schüssler take over management of KGM.


Hit by a cash-flow crisis, the group puts stand-alone subsidiary KGM Kugelfabrik Gebauer GmbH up for sale.


It is bought through a management buyout on 1st July 1994 by the Richter family and five shareholders from the senior management team.
The company name KGM Kugelfabrik Gebauer GmbH is retained.


DQS certifies KGM for the first time under DIN ISO 9002.


DQS certifies KGM for the first time under ISO/TS 16949.


The factory buildings are extended.


DQS certifies KGM for the first time under DIN EN ISO 14001 ‘Environmental Standard’.


Matthias Richter joins the senior management team.


The company’s external profile is revised, with the name changing to KGM Kugelfabrik GmbH & Co. KG.


Stefan Steinmetz becomes Technical MD.


Celebration of the 100-year anniversary.


Land is purchased to extend company premises.


First building activities to extend the production capacity of the KGM factory are completed


The year of large-scale production expansion begins. Ballcenter GmbH & Co. KG becomes operational.


Christian Braun enters KGM as managing director.


Passing away of our long-standing managing director Mr Johannes Richter.

KGM exposed regularly at the Hanover Fair.