De Dietrich: A Legacy of Excellence for 340 Years

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How the oldest French company has evolved and innovated since 1684

This year marks a monumental milestone for De Dietrich, as it celebrates its 340th anniversary. The company’s journey through the centuries is not just a story of survival but one of thriving innovation and dedication to excellence. From its humble beginnings in the Alsace region of France to becoming a global leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical equipment industry, De Dietrich has built a legacy that few can match. In this blog post, we will take a look at the rich and diverse history of De Dietrich, touching on the milestones and achievements that have marked the company's 340-year journey, and how we are celebrating this remarkable anniversary in 2024.


The Origins of De Dietrich

The story of De Dietrich begins in 1684, when Johann Dietrich, a master blacksmith from Niederbronn, obtained the rights to exploit the iron ore deposits in the nearby forest of Jaegerthal. He built a modest forge and a foundry in the village of Reichshoffen where he focused on ironworks, producing cast iron products such as pots, pans, firebacks, and stoves. He also established a reputation for excellence and innovation, as he patented several inventions, such as a new type of furnace and a method of refining iron. He was also a pioneer of social responsibility, as he created a welfare system for his workers, providing them with housing, education, and health care.

Johann Dietrich's descendants continued his legacy, expanding the business and diversifying the products. In the 18th century, De Dietrich became the leading supplier of cast iron stoves and cookware in Europe, and also started producing cannons, bridges, and pipes. Seizing opportunities brought by the industrial revolution, De Dietrich entered the railway industry in the 19th century, building locomotives, wagons, and tracks for the French and foreign markets. De Dietrich also ventured into the automotive sector, producing cars, buses, and trucks, and even participating in the first Grand Prix races. 


The Modern Era of De Dietrich

In the 20th century, De Dietrich faced several challenges, such as the two world wars, the economic crises, and the competition from new technologies. The company had to adapt and reinvent itself, focusing on its core competencies and developing new markets.

One of De Dietrich’s most significant contributions to industry came in the early 20th century with the development of their enamel coating process for steel. This innovation, patented in 1908, revolutionized the chemical industry by allowing reactors and tanks to resist the corrosive effects of chemicals. The enamel coating made equipment safer and more durable, setting new standards in chemical processing.

De Dietrich eventually sold its railway and automotive divisions, and concentrated on the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, offering solutions for the design, engineering, and installation of reactors, heat exchangers, dryers, and filters. De Dietrich also expanded its presence in the environmental sector, focusing on sustainability and efficiency while providing systems for waste treatment, water purification, and renewable energy. The company has invested in developing technologies that reduce energy consumption and waste in industrial processes. Their solutions now emphasize not only performance but also environmental impact, helping clients achieve their green manufacturing goals.

In the 21st century, De Dietrich continues to evolve and grow, with a global presence and a diversified portfolio. The company also preserves its heritage and culture with a museum, a foundation, and a historical society dedicated to the company's history and values.


The 340th Anniversary of De Dietrich

In 2024, De Dietrich celebrates its 340th anniversary, a remarkable achievement for any company, especially for one that has remained in the same family for 11 generations. To mark this occasion, De Dietrich has planned several global events and initiatives, both internally and externally, to showcase its history, achievements, and vision for the future.  In the US, DDPS employees attended celebratory events at each of our three locations to commemorate the milestone anniversary and employee appreciation.


A Legacy of Excellence

At De Dietrich Process Systems, we are proud of the company’s 340-year history, and grateful to all the people who have contributed to its success. We feel confident and optimistic about our future, as we continue to pursue our mission of providing quality, durability, and innovation to our customers and society. Additionally, De Dietrich continues to invest in research and development, driving forward with innovations in digitalization and automation in process industries. A perfect example of this is our recent acquisition of HEINKEL Group.  We invite you to join the celebration, and to discover more about our company's legacy and vision.