When August Bilstein laid the foundations for the innovation incubator BILSTEIN in Altenvoerde in Germany's Westphalia region in 1873, nobody had any idea of the crucial influence the company's products would one day have on the driving comfort and safety of cars. Instead it was metal window fittings - sold under the catchy name of AUBI, an abbreviation of August Bilstein - that soon made the company famous far beyond the boundaries of Bilstein's local region and even abroad.
A whole series of technical innovations followed and the revenues earned through these patents provided a solid basis for the later successes of what was still a young company. In order to meet the exacting quality demands already in the preliminary stage of manufacturing the fittings, the company set up its own strip iron rolling mill in 1919. In line with the motto "A rolling stone gathers no moss", Hans Bilstein, who had taken over the running of the company from his father, returned to his native Westphalia from the USA, which in the 1920s was still a long way away, bringing with him new concepts for nickel- and chrome-plating processes.