The young Josef Haamann (22 November 1843–10 November 1930) learned the locksmith’s trade before spending a decade travelling, during which time he acquired a profound knowledge of winch construction. One year after the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Josef and his younger brother Ludwig (10 March 1848–22 March 1892) founded the ‘Gebrüder Haamann Winden- und Hebezeugfabrik’ based in Freudenberg am Main in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
The mid-19th century was the heyday of the stonemasonry industry in Freudenberg and the surrounding area. The Haamann brothers’ rack-and-pinion jacks (which were still made using wooden shafts at the time) were used to lift sandstone boulders.
Following the death of his younger brother in 1892, Josef continued to lead the company by himself. The cramped manufacturing rooms in Freudenberg were unable to cope with the increasing demand for the company’s products, so the decision was made in 1904 to move to larger manufacturing sites in the Lower Franconian (Bavarian) town of Kirschfurt on the opposite bank of the river Main. The move also saw Josef take the opportunity to rename the company as ‘Josef Haamann Freudenberger Winden- und Hebezeugfabrik’.
In 1925, the rack-and-pinion jack with a steel coating was launched.
These jacks were used for lorries, trains, tracks and industrial purposes.
1939 saw the development of the steel jack with lifting housing. In 1956, the company becomes the first manufacturer in Europe to start series production of rack-and-pinion jack supports for semi-trailers.
In 1960, cable winches, spindle jacks and spare wheel winches are added to the product range.
In 1964, the production of landing gears for semi-trailers begins – a first of its kind at the time that has since become the global standard.
In 1970, hydraulically operated lifting devices for containers are developed, which are sold under the brand name ‘CONLIFT’. Mechanical container lifting devices are also developed at the same time.
In 1972, the brand name ‘haacon’ (Haaman-Conlift) is established.
Until this year, Josef-Haamann (haacon) was the sole manufacturer of trailer landing gears for JOST. The collaboration was ended and haacon was established as its own company.
In 1981, the activities of the Haamann companies were bundled and incorporated into a limited liability company (GmbH). This company was given the current company name haacon hebetechnik gmbh.
1986 saw haacon develop a new generation of mechanical and motorised sluice gate drives for the water industry to make generating hydropower without damaging the environment an economically attractive prospect.
The economic crisis in 1992/93 had a major impact on the company. Revenue dropped substantially. Its dependence on the German and European semi-trailer commercial vehicle market played a huge role in this downturn. The company was restructured several times in the following years, but it did not have the desired effect. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the company faced significant financial problems.
In this year, Thomas Lotz was appointed Managing Director and was tasked with reversing the company’s fortunes.
2001 was an incredibly difficult year for haacon. But it was also the last year in which haacon recorded an operating loss. The pan-European and international sales network has been consistently expanded since then. The haacon france sarl subsidiary is founded, which serves the French, Spanish and Portuguese markets.
Thomas Lotz acquires initial share in the company.
The haacon hebetechnik austria subsidiary is founded, which serves the western countries of Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).
The company decides to primarily focus on the ‘industry’ and ‘container logistics’ business segments and reduce its dependence on the margin business and loss-maker ‘commercial vehicle technology’ moving forward.
Thomas Lotz acquires all shares in haacon hebetechnik gmbh.
haacon now has an export quota of 50 per cent on average.
Miroslava Lotz (the wife of Thomas Lotz) joins the company.
Miroslava Lotz becomes Managing Director, shareholder and takes over as Chair of the Management Board in 2020.