Posts Tagged 'milestone'

A Significant Milestone: 175 Years in Business!

seca scales delivery vans

seca delivery vans for medical weighing and measuring products ca. 1970

2015 has been a big year for us here at seca.

In addition to rapidly rolling out new, market-leading technology (most notably the seca mBCA body composition analyzer, and unique Direct Print wireless scale functionality), seca turned 175 years-young in July of 2015!

Adding new meaning to the words ”consistency”, “stability” and “family-owned”, seca has been working with the same subject matter since 1840, providing high-precision scales and measuring systems.  The result is that seca has been the global market leader in medical weighing and measuring for many years now. Taking a cue from the Japanese concept of kaizen (kʌɪˈzɛn), a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices and personal efficiency, we daily take small steps progressing toward big market-leading developments. (In fact we actually have a thriving branch operation in Japan serving the weighing and measuring needs of hospital and medical providers there).

Whenever business enterprises of considerable history are examined, usually there is quite an interesting and meaningful history behind them and seca is no exception. We wanted to take a moment and share our company story in this post!

It all began in the 19th century with a brave and ambitious pioneer, the young metalworker A.C.C. Joachims, who possessed the courage of his convictions in 1840.  Interestingly, his employer was the monk and inventor Alois Quintenz who had in fact already invented the decimal scale in 1821.  The bright apprentice acquired the necessary knowledge and mechanical skills from Quintenz, and transferred it to Hamburg, where Mr. Joachims founded Germany’s first scale factory on July 11th, 1840. A small factory developed over time, but began to lose momentum after A.C.C. Joachims death in 1874.

Shortly afterwards another young business man and mechanical engineer, Frederik Vogel, bought the factory in 1888, created the brand name “seca” (always presented in all lower case letters) which he had copyrighted in 1897, and expanded the range of products. (The name “seca” is derived from the Latin word “secare” meaning “to cut”, and chosen as a sort of nod to the design of balance beam scale in which a sharp, fulcrum-like mechanism is used. It also hearkens to the popular saying “measure twice, cut once” emphasizing the value of precision).

In 1904 Frederik Vogel relocated the company from Königstraße in the Altona district to the Hammer Steindamm in Wandsbek, where the industrial campus of seca’s facilities and offices buzz with activity to this day.  seca navigated the very difficult times of World War I and Great Depression following, as Frederik Vogel passed the management of seca on to his son Robert in 1934. The new company chief shepherded the company through the desperate times of World War II era and started rebuilding the enterprise immediately following. Sönke Vogel succeeded his father as the head of the company after his death, and supplied seca with a new strategic vision – a turning point in the destiny of the company. His concept was to focus on medical measuring and weighing with top precision.  Impressive and very novel in its time, delivery vans with large advertisements drove through the city presenting and selling the new medical scales and stadiometer devices using a direct, in-person sales approach with medical provider customers in what turned out to be a successful growth strategy.

Most recently, Sönke Vogel stepped down from the area of operations and transitioned to the advisory board, and seca is now being run by the fourth generation, remaining a 100% family-owned company!