Dold’s Family Tradition of Time Keeping

Many organizations possess a long company history yet few are as compelling as E. Dold & Sohne, KG. Founded in Germany 88 years ago by Emil Dold, the company has weathered a devastating economic depression, a World War, the turbulent times of the late 20th Century, and the post-millennial technology boom. Through it all, Dold has persevered through hardships and uncertainties until today it stands as one of the finest producers of electrical switchgear in the world.

Dold product manufacturing in houseDold is located in the enduring German Black Forest where clock making is a time-honored tradition. The company started its historical journey in 1928 by hand making electrical coils for other companies. After a few years of producing for others, founder Emil Dold started to design and develop his own products, including relays and industrial timers. From the beginning, Dold products mirrored the extraordinary craftsmanship that went into making German timepieces with company workers producing intricate, precise industrial timers one-by-one. Success came quickly after and Dold soon outgrew its small shop and relocated its operations to a nearby vacant restaurant in the middle of the German town of Furtwangen im Schwarzwald.

The town of Furtwangen is well known for its clock making. The town’s reputation as a center for clocks developed during the 1800s when clock makers began creating unique clocks as well as musical clocks which soon were being purchased by clock lovers around the world. Today, the clock-making tradition is still honored in Furtwangen by the German Clock Museum. The museum is devoted to the history of time keeping with 1,300 clocks on permanent display along with 8,000 artifacts related to clocks and clock making. Personal tours even offer the joy of watching all the clocks and musical instruments within the museum move and chime.

Just as Dold itself was becoming known for producing exceptional time pieces, much like the company’s hometown of Furtwangen, the World was about to change. In 1939, World War II began and Europe was torn to pieces.

Years later, in 1948 Dold, like many German companies, entered a period of new beginning. Along with 44 employees, the Dold family put their country’s past behind them the best they could and optimistically turned toward the future. One tradition that remained was Emil Dold’s commitment to exacting quality and craftsmanship.

Quality Standards for Every Dold Product Developed

To keep to the utmost top standards, the company developed its own internal process for quality. The company believes that to be successful at producing high quality products, all parts used in the production process are manufactured in house – from raw materials to finished product. Each part is crafted, sorted, inventoried, and then used in the production process if it passes the quality test. At critical times throughout the process, components are 100% tested. That means these tests are not just randomly sampled but every part throughout the manufacturing process is tested. Even the smallest components are crafted in house. The company makes their own molds and wires are wound in house. Once Dold made the transition from manual to automated production lines it was even more efficient in conducting quality testing.

Dold assembly coils

Andreas Dold, 4th generation family member and company Sales Manager, explains. “The quality promise we make to our customers is solid and true. We take pride in how hard we test our products and believe that the quality is unmatched. Generations of our family have grown this company based on customer satisfaction with our quality and we’ll continue to keep that promise for generations to come.”

Maintaining and learning about quality, production, and efficiencies doesn’t just happen in Germany. To keep the family knowledgeable about the latest industry trends, Andreas’ father worked in the United States for a while. The Dold family wants to make sure that the younger generations learn skills at home and abroad and then bring new ideas and innovations back to the family business.

Today, the privately owned company is still family owned and operated. Dold remains in the same town of Furtwangen but now with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that produces most of its components on site, including tool and form production and plastic molding. The company employees 400 people, many of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years. This type of longevity offers customers a special “generational knowledge.” Andreas Dold calls it “bringing the ‘know how’ to reality in manufacturing relays.”

Timers and Relays Expand into Other Products

Just a few years before WWII, Dold began developing relays along with timers. Throughout the decades since, relay modules and monitors have become essential to the manufacturing industry to protect people, machines, and products against injury or damage. Along with the need to keep workers and machinery safe came a steady growth of production and of hiring employees. By 1965, Dold had 333 employees and recruited many skilled and educated workers from the local University that specializes in engineering and technical training.

Dold product

In the 1970s the company grew again – extending their production facilities and adding a new 7-story building. Since then, Dold has added to its product range and has improved existing products with newer and smaller technology.

Today, Dold’s extensive line of products fall into four categories: relay modules, PCB relays, enclosures, and safety switches. These high-quality control, switching, and monitoring devices can be found worldwide. Dold provides single components and complete control solutions for industry and building automation, including:

  • Regenerative Energies
  • Rubber and Plastics
  • Medical Technology
  • Automation
  • Energy Generation and Allocation
  • Motor Control
  • Machine and Plant Building
  • Automotive Industry
  • Food and Packing
  • Transport and Logistic
  • Steel and Metal
  • Building Automation

“Since we also use our own products, we can see how well they work with our own eyes,” said Andreas Dold. “We can then see how to update and change to meet new market needs. Due to the high flexibility and the deep expertise we have at Dold, we are prepared to react fast and provide effective new products to our customers.”

After nearly a century of surviving World events, the Dold family and its company still stands tall. They are proud of their craftsmanship and committed to providing that same precise quality, perseverance, and tradition of intricate clock-making to its customers now and in the future.


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