The story of Fr. Sobbe GmbH


In Dortmund in 1882, Friedrich Sobbe senior Senior (07.11.1860 – 13.01.1931) founded and carefully developed a watch-making workshop. Friedrich Sobbe gradually expanded his business, making and selling watches, gold and silverware. After the turn of the century, Mr. Sobbe ventured into completely new industry by joining the igniter factory in Gronau near Bergisch Gladbach in 1906. Wilhelm Sobbe, the second son of Friedrich Sobbe became Technical Managing Director. The plan factory was intended to have been expanded from 20,000 ignitors per year to 60,000 ignitors per year, but the lack of economic success halted these plans.


After the company was liquidated, Friedrich Sobbe acquired the factory in 1909 and continued producing all types of electric ignitors under the company “Zündwarenfabrik Friedr. Sobbe GmbH, Berg.-Gladbach”. Friedrich Sobbe and his eldest son, Friedrich Jr. became the authorised representatives, while his brother William remained as Managing Director.


The headquarters was relocated to Dortmund in 1911. In 1918, the company name of “Zündwarenfabrik Friedr. Sobbe GmbH, Dortmund und Berg.-Gladbach”, was changed to “ Friedr. Sobbe GmbH, Fabrik elektr. Zünder, Dortmund und Berg.-Gladbach“.


Purchase of today’s company premises in Dortmund Derne. From 1922, the entire production of ignitors, fuses and detonators was gradually moved to Dortmund Derne.


With about 150 employees, an annual production of 2 million detonators, and a market share of 16%, the company Friedr. Sobbe was the second largest factory of electrical detonators in Germany in 1927. In addition to detonators, which were used primarily in mining and other commercial blasting practices, the company manufactured blasting cables and delivered blasting machines and blasting accessories.


The founder Friedrich Sobbe passed away on 13 January 1931. His sons Friedrich, Wilhelm and Karl, and his daughter Hermine remained shareholders, and also the community of heirs, composed of all family members. Wilhelm Sobbe remained as Managing Director.


After Wilhelm Sobbe suddenly died on July 12 1953, his widow Maria Sobbe (28.05.1905 - 10.07.1998) continued operating and managing the business. As a member of the Executive Board and as shareholder and Managing Director of Fr.Sobbe GmbH, she was highly regarded and radically modernised the production of detonators.


After her death, the responsibility for the company lay in the hands of her son, Wilhelm Friedrich Sobbe (24.11.1934 – 28.11.2008).


The Wilhelm Friedrich Sobbe foundation was established as the heir of Wilhelm Heinrich Sobbe. The aim is to support non-profit organisations, promote science and research in the field of blasting technology and related technology, mining culture and the Westfälische cultural property.

The management of the company was taken over by Dipl.Ing. Joachim Sturm.


Change of management due to company succession

From August 2019, Dipl.Ing. Peter Hauser took over the position of managing director.