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The founding years
The world-famous flat knitting machine manufacturing company H. Stoll AG & Co., Reutlingen, was founded on 27 July 1873. The first days of the Stoll history, however, do not begin in Reutlingen, rather in Riedlingen on the Danube. There, two Swabian technicians felt they were destined for higher things: Heinrich Stoll and Christian Schmidt founded a “Mechanical Workshop for the Manufacture of Knitting Machines”.
The Waagmühle was the first production plant in Riedlingen
On 27 July 1873, Heinrich Stoll and Christian Schmidt concluded a business contract by which they would jointly run a “mechanical workshop”. Operating under the company name of “Schmidt and Stoll”, they set up their workshop in Riedlingen. The purpose of the company was to repair and manufacture flat knitting machines. The copy of the business contract from those days indicates that each partner owned one half of the company. This is why 27 July 1873 is regarded as the date of foundation of H. Stoll AG & Co.
The Riedlingen production range
As early as December 1873, Heinrich Stoll and Christian Schmidt assembled the first all needle knit hand flat knitting machine made in the Waagmühle. With inserted latch needles and needle beds arranged in the shape of a roof, this hand flat knitting machine corresponded to the Lamb machine and, in a certain sense, to the modern principle of a hand flat knitting machine. As a photo from those days shows, the first Riedlingen machines were built with working widths of 30 cm, and were therefore only suitable for the manufacture of stockings and socks. The carriage, a so-called long carriage, contained a simple cam (as shown in the sketch), consisting of middle and side eccentrics to raise and extract the needles.
The sons of the founder (Secondgeneration) Heinrich Stoll, The eldest son
Heinrich Stoll II was born on 7 November 1877 in Oberndorf/ Neckar. When his family moved, he attended schools in Reutlingen, then joined his father’s company in 1898. Both his inclination and training meant that he was principally a technician; in addition to his apprenticeship in his father’s factory, he gained three years’ practical experience as an intern in the knitting and knitting machine engineering industries in Troyes, France.
The production plants 1878 – move and set – up of the first production plant in Reutlingen.
In spring 1878, Heinrich Stoll prepared to move to Reutlingen. He leased premises on the Echaz canal in the former industrial area “Gries” between what are today Benzstrasse and Emil-Adolff-Strasse (town plan of 1871, original in the town of Reutlingen, and location plan, plot 3828).
Reconstruction of Business Relations
The First World War in 1914 interrupted the excellent business relations with foreign markets, and great efforts were required to win back the previous market position after 1918. In 1919, Heinrich Stoll II and his brother Hermann Stoll organised the reconstruction of the Stoll sales organisation. To start with, the first domestic branch sales office for Stoll was reopened in 1919 in Apolda, the centre of the textile industry in Thuringia.
The first decades after 1945 | Rise of the company ro a new scale of operations
South Württemberg was occupied by French troops in 1945, which meant that production at Stoll was initially suspended. However, demand on the part of the knitwear producers indicated the ideal conditions for a new start. Stoll received provisional permission to restart operations in the summer of 1945. Initially, work consisted of repairs and overhauls on customers’ machines. In 1945, the company consisted of only 72 workers and 45 employees.
The era of Dr. Eberhard Stoll and Heinz Stoll B.Sc.
Dr. Eberhard Stoll and Heinz Stoll B.Sc., the grandsons of the founder, were the third generation to join the company in the tradition of the family after the end of the Second World War and after completing their studies and apprenticeships.
100-year anniversary of the Stoll Company
The company’s 100th anniversary on 16 November 1973, also fell within the era of Dr Eberhard Stoll and Heinz Stoll B.Sc. The centanary came at a time in which the Stoll company was in its most significant period of expansion.
Development and launch oft he NC Flat Knitting Machine at the seventh ITMA in 1975
1975, two years after the company’s 100 –year anniversary, was a turning point at Stoll and remarks a new phase in history with many futureoriented considerations. The family company, which had been run as an open trading company since its foundation, was registered on 29 January 1975 as H. Stoll & Co. GmbH in the Commercial Register.
Development oft the first computer-controlled flatknittingmachine CNCA-3 by Stoll | Start oft the CNC-Age
At the ITMA 1979 in Hannover, the new computercontrolled flat knitting machine CNCA-3 was presented to an amazed audience of experts. As even this early model had to execute around 4,000 commands per second, the process computer PDP8 from Digital Equipment with ist RSX operating system was overtaxed. The step towards developing a separate operating system, from which above all the ballast not required by a knitting machine was removed, was taken rapidly.
The ninth ITMA in 1983 in Milan – Presentation oft he overall CNC range with ST111 computers
The development of the new computer-controlled Stoll machines presented at the ninth ITMA required great efforts in the development and engineering departments as well as for electronic pattern preparation and data processing. Of the eight new flat knitting machine models exhibited at the ITMA, seven machines were controlled by the PDP11 computer developed within the company, which went down in company history with the internal designation ST111.
Heinz Stoll takes over as chairman of the board of management
The year 1987 began with significant personnel changes and restructuring in the Stoll company. On 31 December 1986, Dr Eberhard Stoll retired from his position as executive director of H. Stoll GmbH & Co. and left the management of the company. For more than 40 years, Dr Eberhard Stoll had worked successfully in the family company, 30 years of this as an executive director at the side of his cousin Heinz Stoll.
The record year 1994 – Launch of the new high-performance tandem machine CMS 433.6
In addition to the ITMA, which takes place in a four-year alternating cycle in Paris, Milan and Hannover, the OTEMAS textile machine trade fair in Osaka, Japan, had meanwhile become more and more significant for Stoll due to the expansion of the Asian market. In order to counter the Japanese competition and to confirm the top technological position of the company, the Stoll engineers developed and presented the most efficient flat knitting machine in the world, the CMS 433.6.
The year of success 1996 – Stoll enters the chinese market
The company was also successful on the world market in 1996, increasing its market share to over 30 %. The proportion for export had now risen to more than 95 %. With sales revenues of 363 million marks – a rise of 15 % – 1996 was another record year in the history of the company. The sales activities in the company, in the subsidiaries and in the Stoll agencies had provided another increase – 1,940 CMS machines supplied.
The best year in the Stoll Company history
1997 produced yet another record result for Stoll in sales revenues and production. The board of management was able to report a very good business situation for the company and present extremely positive figures. With over 2,400 CMS machines, 360 SIRIX pattern units sold and sales revenues of over 450 million marks, turnover was again significantly increased in comparison with 1996. CMS machines and SIRIX pattern units were exported to almost 70 countries.
125 years of H. Stoll GmbH & Co. – The anniversary year 1998
“The right way to knit” – this slogan was created for ITMA 1995 and it shows the way for Stoll customers all over world. It is backed up by a philosophy which has more or less guided us for 125 years: Stoll offers its customers precisely the flat knitting technology they need in order to knit even more economically and efficiently. As long ago as 1873, the company founder, Heinrich Stoll, pursued this aim.
The Year of Innovations | The 13th ITMA
June 1999: the 13th ITMA in Paris. There, with the motto “Touch the future”, Stoll presented the full range of new TC-generation machines. All Stoll CMS flat knitting machines were equipped with the operating technology of the future, Stoll-touchcontrol®. “Knitting with only one finger” is the magic formula that makes keyboards for the operation of Stoll flat knitting machines obsolete. Commands are entered simply by touching symbols directly on the display.
The start into a new millenium
For the strategic orientation toward the new millennium, the course at Stoll had been set very early. With the thoroughly aligned product policy and a customer-oriented sales philosophy, the sale of 2860 new machines, 350 pattern preparation units and several hundred used machines led to a turnover of 460 million Deutsche Mark.
Introduction of he pattern workstation M1 | First international press conference
With the Pattern Workstation M1, Stoll introduced a tool for pattern programming that offers an ideal presentation to designers and knitting technicians by means of various views. The expansion of the marketing activities under the viewpoint of modern integrated corporate communication led to a new, award-winning advertising line, a new informative product brochure and a special internet appearance for the introduction of the Pattern Workstation M1.
Stoll Financial Service was found
Still in 2001, the starting shot was fired for one important investment in the future of the company: the founding of Stoll Financial Services GmbH as an independent subsidiary.
Stoll celebrates 10 years of success in Asia
2003 signified numerous important events. In February, 10 years of very intensive and confident cooperation with the Stoll representation for Hongkong and China, Chemtax Industrial Co. Ltd., were celebrated. Through the cooperation it was possible to develop this market into one of the most important markets for Stoll during this time.
The manufacturing plant in Betzingen
In June 2004, a dream came true: after a construction period of 18 months in total, it was possible to finish the new production and store building in Betzingen on time. Thanks to the generously expanded production plant, it was possible to centralize the whole knitting machine production at one location, with the exception of the manufacturing of electronic components.
Presentation of he new CMS machine generation at the IKME in Milan
The textile machine trade fair Shanghaitex and the IKME in Milan with the presentation of the new CMS machine generation were the outstanding events of the year 2005. With a record participation of exhibitors and visitors, the Shanghaitex underlined the importance of the Chinese market for the textile machine sector.
The new CMS era has started
After the reorganization of the complete Stoll product program, Stoll started the year with a worldwide intensive market introduction phase and the delivery of the first models of the new CMS generation. 21 different machine types in five machine classes – Basic, Compact, Multi Gauge, Knit&Wear and Top Class – were now available to Stoll customers. The range of models covered working widths of 50" to 96", 2 to 6 knitting systems and a gauge of E3 to E18.
The new motto: My Stoll. My Future.
The year began with important personnel changes. In January, the Managing Director, Dipl. Ing. Thomas Stoll, entered into well-deserved retirement. The company honored Mr. Stoll for his long-time service and for his tireless dedication and success, especially in the development area.
We are the future – and have been for 135 years
Between the founding of the company in Reutlingen and the ITMA Asia + CITMA 2008 in Shanghai, exactly 135 years of successful history have taken place. It is impossible to show everything that has been accomplished in this book. The milestones shown here only present an overview of our lively company history.
Fashion & Technology Knitting Center New York
Foundation of the Fashion & Technology department New York in the heart of Manhattan.
Presentation of the new STOLL prototype CMS 530 ADF-3 with the new developed yarn carrier technology at ITMA ASIA Shanghai. International presentation of the new STOLL claim „Knit Ahead“ and the new brand launch.
Once again, flat knitting machine manufacturer STOLL has set new standards in the knitting world. Due to the unique yarn carrier technology, the newly launched CMS ADF-3 knitting machine offers many features for innovative knitting when it comes to structural technique and color combinations. It combines all previously known yarn carrier technologies with its newly expanded functions to create a powerful flat knitting machine.
Heinz-Peter Stoll retires
Heinz-Peter Stoll being a standing managing partner of H. Stoll GmbH & Co. KG retired from the operational management of the company for reasons of age on January 31st, 2014. Starting February 1st, 2014 Mr. Andreas Schellhammer took over the position of the representative of the management board (CEO). The executive board of H. Stoll GmbH & Co. KG was therefore be exercised as from February 1st, 2014 by Andreas Schellhammer, Ralf Fritschi, Günter J. Raitbaur and Dr. Sven Wünsche.