Growth through Packaging Glass – Noelle & von Campe 1950-1980

Employees and management 1967 (in front: 6th from the left deputy managing director Gord von Campe, 3rd from the right Hans-Joachim Hirsch, managing director) Photo: Elisabeth Pophal

After the Second World War, Noelle & von Campe was in a relatively good state: no damage, no dismantling of the factory, a good working relationship with the British administration, a receptive market, modern production machinery from the NS period and sufficient capital. Nevertheless, personal changes in management were necessary. The von Campe family became more important again in running the business. Rudolf von Campe became operations manager, while Gord von Campe was the sales manager and later became managing director.

In the 1950s, Noelle & von Campe had an extremely broad range of products. In 1959, 270 employees produced drinking bottles and preserve jars, lamps and drinking glasses and also packaging glass. However, competition increased, partly because of the founding of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957. A dual strategy was developed. On the one hand automation was reinforced: specific machines enabled rapid and parallel production lines. The glass tanks were modernised to replace coal, the traditional energy source, by oil and later by gas.

Packaging glass as the main product sector (l.): Ad from the early 1960s Photo: Freundeskreis Glas; Service provider for branded goods: Tchibo special offer from Noelle & von Campe Photo: Stefanie Waske

On the other hand, Noelle & von Campe concentrated more and more on transparent packaging glass, demanded by the increasing numbers of self-services shops and supermarkets in Germany. Glass packaging for fish, sausages and pickles dominated, but also such well-known market leaders like Langnese, Eduscho or Tchibo ordered glass products from Boffzen. All this meant continuous shift work and an end to mouth-blowing, which was no longer competitive.
The workforce became more international and the export quota increased. Bank credits and state financial support became indispensible, especially in times of crisis. In addition, the owners repeatedly increased their investment in the company. When Gord von Campe retired from his position as managing director in January 1981, the company had 224 employees and an annual turnover of more than 9 million DM (1950: 940,000 DM) and a profit of 650,000 DM (1950: 125,000 DM). The glass factory had successfully reinvented itself as a specialist for packaging glass.

Production under cramped conditions– aerial view of Noelle & von Campe from the early 1970s Photo: Burckhard von Campe and Elisabeth Pophal