Where Iron Once Melted, febi Products are Now Stored

View of the Schalker Gruben- und Hüttenverein in 1903 - Picture: City of Gelsenkirchen, Institute for City History

Gelsenkirchen lies in the middle of the Ruhr area, the cradle of steel and coal. But the region has changed – and with it the industry. This is also reflected in the new additional logistics centre which the bilstein group is building just 800 metres away from Gelsenkirchen’s main train station and which will one day complement the existing warehouse in Ennepetal.

One hundred years ago, iron was still being melted where thousands of febi products and other brand replacement parts for cars and commercial vehicles will be stored in the future. Our febi blog takes a look back into the past and shows what the world looked like back then.

Schalker Verein Makes You Think of Football

The future logistics centre is located at a place steeped in history: the Schalker Verein. But it has nothing to do with football. Rather, the name refers to a former ironworks. Cast iron has been produced and processed there since 1885 – mainly in the form of cast iron pipes.

The company was founded by the industrialists Friedrich Grillo and Fritz Funke, who were well-known in the Ruhr area. Like today’s logistics centre, the ironworks was located in the Bulmke-Hüllen district, but it was managed in the Schalke district – hence the name.

Steady Growth

Construction of the first blast furnace in 1874 – Picture: City of Gelsenkirchen, Institute for City History

Until the Second World War, the ironworks grew steadily: a repair workshop, a cement works, and a brickworks were built, among other things. The Allied bombing raids severely damaged the works: around 50 percent of the Schalker Verein was destroyed.

In the decades following the reconstruction, more and more parts of the factory were gradually closed and demolished, as a few historical highlights show:

  • 1952: Demolition of the facon foundry 4
  • 1956: Production in the stone factory ceases
  • 1959-1964: Demolition of the facon foundry 1
  • 1964: Demolition of the pipe foundry 2
  • 1973: Demolition of the cement factory
This is what the site looks like today: Here, the bilstein group is building its new, additional logistics centre.

In 1999, the French Saint-Gobain group took over the site and closed it down just five years later. The approximately 100 hectare site was prepared and sold to new companies in recent years.

With almost 20 hectares, the bilstein group has acquired by far the largest area. Thus, an area that already has a long history behind it – and a new future ahead of it – is now being revived.