Milestones & History

1828 Betzler, Fürgang and Anderwerth of Aalen, Germany, founded the Betzler, Fürgang & Co. wire drawing company on the “Erlen-Au” meadows in Aalen. To begin with, the employees used crimping tools to yank the wire through drawing plates before winding it onto reels.

1847 Start of wire nail production on an industrial level for the first time.

1851 The company on the “Erlen-Au” meadows became the first factory for the production of chains in Southern Germany.

1870 Foundation of the “Eisen- und Drahtwerke Erlau AG” which is now the oldest joint-stock company in Southern Germany.

1884 Erlau AG had 125 employees and was part of the market's “Big 3” alongside Königliche Eisenbahnwerkstätte and Aktiengesellschaft Union which was established at a later date.

1906 The first chain welding machine is commissioned.

By 1924 the newly created AG, as the largest manufacturer of nails, pins and screws in Southern Germany, employed 200 employees.

The launch of snow chain production was the leap into the motor vehicle accessory sector, which has remained linked to the Erlau brand to this day and subsequently the start of tyre production leading to the RUD and Erlau brands being global players with the highest sales.

1956 Start of production of plastic-coated garden, terrace and waiting area furniture as a new production branch with subsequent production at the plant in Ettlingen/Baden.

1959 Following the successful takeover of the two competitors Pistor-Ketten in Wuppertal and Kettenfabrik Hetz in Ettlingen, the market launch of the trendsetting link-ring-system for anti-skid and tyre protection chains took place, which was one of the foundations of global sales success.

1972 This year saw great success for the furniture range: Erlau was the sole outfitter of the new Olympia complex in Munich with a range created specifically for the “Olympia” which to this day is considered as the pacesetter for design-oriented urban furniture.

1988 RUD Ketten Rieger & Dietz GmbH & Co. KG became the majority shareholder in Erlau AG. Dr. Hansjörg Rieger has been chairman of the board ever since.

1991 Erlau AG entered the new human care business sector. This involved a specifically developed modular design principle for safety and grab rails for the entire wet area. 

2003 Introduction of the VitaGym product range (outdoor fitness equipment).

2008 Start of production of a new large coating plant not only satisfies high-tech demands, it also represents the firm foundation of the prospects for Erlau within the RUD family-owned company.