History of ZARGES

Timeline from the company´s foundation to today

Foundation: 1 September 1933 in Stuttgart, Germany
A new, small company opens its doors in Hermannstraße 20 in the city of Stuttgart: ZARGES Leichtmetallbau. Company founder Walther Zarges fulfils his dream of establishing a company that makes the day-to-day life easier for people through lightweight aluminium construction.

1938 – mass production of light-metal ladders
In 1938, ZARGES becomes the first company in Europe to mass produce light-alloy ladders. The young company already has almost 100 employees at this point in time.

1939 – Relocation to Weilheim
By late 1939, the factory in Stuttgart is bursting at its seams. The constantly increasing number of orders and requirements imposed by the Federal government make relocating to a new building inevitable for the company, which is merely 6 years old at this point – Upper Bavaria is chosen as the new location.

1948 – Servicing the "Raisin Bombers"
The Allies place their trust in the experience of ZARGES: the dismantled aircrafts are transported from the airfield in Erding to Weilheim for maintenance.

1951 – The 100th Patent – the ZARGES collapsible case
1951 marks the beginning of the mass production of aluminium collapsible cases. There are not too many trucks in the early '50s. Goods are transported by rail, but the railway has too few carriages for the goods required in the country. The solution: the ZARGES collapsible case. Not only does it help solve the problem of space, but it also is lighter than conventional packaging and, when empty, can be folded down to one sixth of its original volume. The dimensions of the ZARGES collapsible case are in part still a standard in the industry.

1954 – ZARGES – expeditions in ice and snow.
ZARGES supplies equipment for the first German-Austrian Himalayan expedition, providing cases as well as a few ladders. Many more people follow suit; globetrotters & extreme mountain climbers discover the advantages offered by ZARGES.

1958 – 25 years of ZARGES
In 1958, ZARGES has 700 employees and is the oldest manufacturer of lightweight constructions in Germany. This, along with the Federal Cross of Merit bestowed on Walther Zarges, is naturally celebrated in a fitting manner.

1960 – ZARGES delivers a Faraday cage to the Deutsches Museum
In the early '60s, ZARGES receives an enquiry from the Deutsches Museum. The museum wanted to exhibit what is known as a Faraday cage in order to demonstrate that electricity can be blocked by a continuous covering, leaving the covering's interior protected from the electrical field. ZARGES designed and constructed the 2.25 metre-high sphere, which is used until today to illustrate to entire generations how the energy from a lightning strike is discharged.

1961 – ZARGES cable cars
In the early '60s, ZARGES begins constructing cable cars that can carry up to 70 passengers. The cars are used not only for the Zugspitze cable car system in Garmisch-Patenkirchen, but also in the entire Alps region. Futuristic ideas, such as a double-decker cable car, are also devised but never implemented. Even today, you can still find ZARGES cable cars in use.

1970 – Ushering in computerisation
New computer systems, some of them as large as fridges and cumbersome to operate, have been used since the early '70s in order to allow the company to work more efficiently and to improve its responsiveness. The first few computers are an important, albeit small, step towards integrated data processing. ZARGES keeps up with the times and enters a new age in the company's development.

1972 – Years of progression
Setting off into a new age. In order to raise funds for the necessary factory expansions, the Zarges family sells part of the company to Vereinigten Aluminium-Werke, an aluminium production and processing company. The family-run industrial company becomes part of a national corporation. ZARGES continues its upward trajectory with the introduction of high-quality flanging on ladders and with the "birth" of the ZARGES Box and new special constructions.

1975 – ZARGES quality flanging
Since the advent of ladder production, most ladders had been manufactured according to the same principle: rungs are riveted to stiles made of U-channel sections. This method of production was very simple because many parts were identical and repairs could be performed quickly; it was, however, a very time- and labour-intensive process. The industrial/automated production was only possible with the introduction of ZARGE quality flanging – offering improved quality and higher production efficiency.

1978 – the ZARGES Box – the box for people and their hobbies.
During this time, there is increasing demand for products aimed at private use. Many people got to know the high durability and lightweight design of ZARGES transport systems at their workplace and wanted to use them at home as well. Initially available in three sizes (Mini, Midi & Maxi), the ZARGES Box becomes a global bestseller. Its introduction was accompanied by large-scale advertising campaigns in newspapers and television.

1982 – Order in the "wild life"
ZARGES also helped bring order to the wild life – ZARGES Boxes were a constant companion during Uschi Obermeier & Dieter Bockhorn's road trip around the world (1976-1983).

1984 – Raisting earth station
The aerial projects that ZARGES implements in the '70s and '80s become increasingly larger and more complex. One of them is the Raisting earth station – still one of the largest terrestrial radio stations in the world today. ZARGES was able to prove its ability during this project, because the parabolic aerials required extremely high precision. The reflector surfaces, which may be up to 30 m in size, were only allowed to deviate from their optimal shape by half a millimetre. "We owe out thanks to the outstanding accomplishment of ZARGES." – Werner Dollinger, German Federal Minister for Post and Telecommunications

1997 – Merger with French company Tubesca Group
Through the merger with French company the Tubesca Group, ZARGES becomes an international company and a market leader in the whole of Europe. Increased export ensures the company's continued success, and new strategies help all divisions experience rapid growth – ZARGES is now a global player.

2000 – new factory in Hungary
In 2000, a new factory joins the ranks of the many factories owned by the ZARGES TUBESCA Group: Kecskemét/Hungary

2002 – How do I get to Hollywood please?
ZARGES in Hollywood and everywhere else. Our boxes don't just look good on screen. They not only were used in "Casino Royale" and "Die Another Day" as suitcases to carry money, but also provided the ultimate protection for the film crew's equipment behind the scenes.

2004 – Introduction of the Z600/Z500 & Z300/Z200 product series
A new range strategy: the names Z600/Z500 are introduced for products aimed at industrial applications, and Z300/Z200 for products aimed at skilled trades. The reason behind the categorisation is the idea of offering every product in two variants that differ in terms of their feature set and price point. Access equipment with an optimal feature set and many product variants is categorised under the Z600 and Z300 product series – while the Z500 and Z200 series offer lower-cost alternatives with the same high quality standards.

2004 – A box sets standards
2004: The ZARGES Box is featured in the book "Deutsches Standards" (English: German Standards) and join the ranks of products that helped write Germany's history, alongside Tesa tape and Tempo tissue.

2008 – 75 years of ZARGES
In 2008, subsidiaries are founded in India and the US, and ZARGES turns 75. Although the markets keep becoming more and more international, one thing remains the same: ZARGES continues to design and construct day-to-day aluminium products that are used everywhere in the world – much in the spirit of its founder.

2009 - Introduction of the Online Configurator for Stairs, Crossings & Platforms (ZARGES CREAXESS)
With the online configurator for access points, escalators or mobile workstations, it is now possible to easily configure ZARGES stairs and platforms online according to their own specifications. The beginning of a success story.

2014 – The heavy-duty ladder made of light metal
Introduction of the Z 600 SL heavy-duty ladder, RFID & PIN technology, Z 600 S-Plus mobile scaffold towers, and an online planning system for fixed ladders.

2015 – Ergo: Ergonomics
Introduction the K 424 XC mobile box office, and Z 600 platform steps with ERGO and AUTO Stop. Easy-to-use boxes and industrial steps characterised by their ergonomic handling. Work more easily and with less stress.

2016 – Sale of the Tubesca Group
Sale of the Tubesca Group and concentration on the core business. ZARGES is now simply ZARGES. A brand that stands for the highest quality and comprehensive solutions made of light metal.

2018 - 85 years ZARGES & 10 years in the USA
For 85 years ZARGES has been the partner for craft & industry, home improvement. Fortunately, we were allowed to experience more highs than lows. We look forward to the next 85 years. It's been 10 years since the ZARGES Tech Center was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina.

2018 - ZARGES becomes part of the largest market leader for access equipment
Since 2018, the ZARGES GmbH is part of the WernerCo group. The worldleader for innovative safety solutions opens up a sales network in over 100 countries for ZARGES and, with 5000 new colleagues around the world, fantastic synergies for the success of the entire group. https://www.wernerco.com/global

2019 - 10 years configurator for stairs, overpasses and platforms
For 10 years we have been pioneering the development and implementation of the ZARGES Online Configurator (also known as ZARGES Creaxess) for stairs, overpasses and platforms. Made to measure without surcharge, transparent and fast quote calculation and industrial quality through and through. This also applies to the ZARGES configurator for climbing ladder systems.