In Germany, industrial production of cement was begun in 1850 by the company Brunkhorst und Westfalen in Buxtehude near Hamburg. Further plants were soon to follow. TO begin with, the cement factories had an annual output of around several thousand tonnes. With the propagation of concrete constructions, the cement industry experienced a rapid boom. By the late 19th century, there were already some 50 factories in Germany. Rationalisation of production was a key challenge even back then. Spatially separate process steps – raw material obtainment and preparation, firing and cement grinding – were merged at single production sites in the form of integrated cement works.
Development up to 1945
The boom of the German cement industry lasted until the First World War. With the outbreak of war , the economic boundary conditions deteriorated: there were supply shortages, prices exploded. In 1917, production and shipment of cement became subject to state control. After sometimes highly turbulent developments in the 1920s, the cement industry was forced into a mandatory cartel in 1933. In 1938, cement production reached – due in some part to Germany’s war effort, of course – a record high at 16 million tonnes. For the cement industry, the outbreak of World War Two brought increasing shortages of fuel and raw materials. During the war, forced labour was employed in the cement industry, too. In recognition of their responsibility, the industry’s enterprises one and all joined the foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”, which handles recompense of forced labourers.