Linen, Passengers, Generators – the long history of C. Woermann
From the early days of linen trade, to the beginning of liner shipping to Western Africa, two world wars and the loss of all goods and estates, right up to the modern day trading of technical equipment and accompanying services, a lot has happened in the long history of C. Woermann. Read a short summary here.
1837Founding of the company by Carl Woermann (1813–1880) in Hamburg
Exporting of linen and pottery on chartered sailing ships to the West Indies/Caribbean and importing of sugar and coffee.
1842In the Hamburg fire that destroys large parts of the town, town hall and the old stock exchange, no buildings in Große Reichenstraße are damaged.
1847Purchase of first sailing ship “Eleonore”.
1849Maiden voyage of own brig “Therese Henriette” to Liberia.
1854Founding of first branch in Liberia.
Carl Woermann and his company become a household name in terms of African-German trading.
1862Founding of the Gabon branch.
1868Founding of the Cameroon branch.
1870Co-founding of German Commerzbank and signing of first Commerzbank share by Carl Woermann
1874Adolph Woermann (1847–1911) becomes joint owner of the company.
1880The first steamship “Aline Woermann” is commissioned.
1882Establishment of the first liner service to Western Africa.
1885Founding of “Afrikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Actiengesellschaft, Woermann-Linie” (African Steamer Shipping Stock Company, Woermann Line).
Separation of shipping and trading company.
1890Eduard Woermann (1863–1920) becomes a joint owner, Founding of “Deutsche Ost-Afrika-Linie” (DOAL, German East Africa Line).
1899Construction of Afrikahaus begins, replacing the existing residential and office buildings and the adjacent old Hamburg townhouse and reaches from Große Reichenstraße to the canal at Gröningerstrasse.
1912Kurt Woermann (1888-1951) becomes a partner.
1914Loss of all investments and most ships in the aftermath of World War I.
1917Sale of both the final shares of Woermann-Linie and the joint ownership of Deutsche-Ost-Afrika-Linie.
1920Loss of foreign assets and restart after World War I as well as the separation of business into Western Africa (C. Woermann), Angola and and Southwest/East Africa divisions (Woermann, Brock & Co.).
1921Re-opening of the Liberia branch.
1922Opening of the Gold Coast branch in Ghana.
1924Opening of the Sierra Leone branch.
Opening of the Equatorial Guinea branch.
1937100th anniversary of the company.
1939-42Expropriation and forced closure of all branches due to World War II.
1943East and South wing of Afrikahaus are severely damaged during the bombardment of Hamburg.
1949Re-opening of the Liberia branch in conjunction with the Brussels Corporation.
1951Heinrich Woermann (1919-2015) joins the company. Opening of the Nigeria branch in Lagos in conjunction with Gilbert J. McCaul.
1954Re-opening of the C. Woermann Ghana in Accra.
1960The canal running behind the Afrikahaus on Gröningerstraße is filled in and the buildings on the opposite side of the canal are demolished to create space for the new Ost-West-Straße, meaning that Afrikahaus is no longer situated on the waterfront.
By the end of the 1960s the company has become a technical service provider, adding machines and entire plant facilities to its product range.
1968Founding of C.Woermann in Lagos, Nigeria.
1972Afrikahaus becomes a listed building.
1973Opening of a second Ghana branch in Kumasi.
1974Volker Kuppe becomes a partner.
1979Detlev Woermann becomes a partner.
1983-99Opening of branches in Guinea and Abu Dhabi.
1987150th anniversary of the company.
1996-99Frank Eßwein carries out a large-scale overhaul of Afrikahaus, including the addition of further storeys, based on the original blueprints of the well-known Hamburg architect Martin Haller.
2003Axel Kuppe becomes a partner.
2005Founding of C. Woermann Angola in Luanda.
2011Expansion of C. Woermann (Ghana) Ltd. in Accra.
Rasmus Woermann becomes a partner.
2012175th anniversary of the company.
TodayC. Woermann has associated companies in Ghana, Nigeria und Angola.
In addition, we are also active in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gabon, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomé and Príncipe and other African countries.