History of AL-KO

AL-KO Werk im Schwäbischen Großkötz in den 60er Jahren | AL-KO Historie

It all started with a small locksmith's shop

How AL-KO became a global corporation

What began in 1931 in a small village smithy in Kötz with the then 23-year-old master locksmith Alois Kober, is now the globally active AL-KO KOBER GROUP, with its "Gardentech", "Air Technology" and "Automotive" divisions, is one of the global players among German medium-sized companies.

From the very beginning, the young businessman had an idea and even more entrepreneurial spirit, laying the foundation for what would later become the AL-KO KOBER GROUP in the early post-war years. With the first TÜV-certified overrun brake for agricultural vehicles, Alois Kober achieves a bravura feat. It is the beginning of the first series production of hand brake levers. And more and more new products and markets are added. Early products included hand wheelbarrows and firewood saws, for example. As the product range grows, so does sales. In 1958, the sales company Schwabengeräte GmbH is founded - today's AL-KO GERÄTE GMBH, the second of three corporate divisions alongside vehicle technology.

Handbremshebel von AL-KO in den 60er Jahren | AL-KO Historie

The name AL-KO goes back to the founder Alois Kober and is an acronym of his first and last name.

How AL-KO came to the lawn mower

In the post-war period, the economic upswing also took hold among the population. Germans built their own homes and worked in the garden. In 1966, the first lawn mowers rolled off the production line at AL-KO. With the gasoline and electric lawn mowers, AL-KO hits the bull's-eye. Manufacturing and logistics were to be expanded once again.

Consistently add new products to the portfolio testify to the almost inexhaustible wealth of ideas of the company. "We always have new ideas. And I hardly know of any company that has gotten into trouble because of the ideas of its employees," said Richard Lechler, formerly head of the equipment division's design department, a few years ago.

Lawn mowers, such as the "Rasenmeister" from 1972 in orange, were sold in millions, similar to the hobbyist saws, the cement mixers and hundreds of other hobby and garden tools. The name of the lawn master is well chosen. In 1974, when the German national team becomes soccer world champion, the Rasenmeister is the sales master.

Der AL-KO Rasenmeister aus den 70er Jahren | AL-KO Historie

In 1975 follows the entry into the air technology industry, the third mainstay of AL-KO.

AL-KO Power Line Rasentraktor | AL-KO Historie

The range of garden tools is also becoming more and more extensive and the ride-on mower was the logical extension of the lawn mower. From 1981, anyone who had a large garden to maintain could sit comfortably on a lawn tractor from AL-KO. At the time, Franz Beckenbauer becomes a prominent advertiser for AL-KO's Golden Line lawn mowers. 

Since we're already on the subject of rotating blades: In 1981, amateur gardeners chopped their shrub cuttings short and small with garden shredders from AL-KO, allowing them to prepare them for compost. Today, this is common practice. At the time, however, the shredding and composting of garden waste is absolutely novel.

Shredding garden waste quickly became part of gardening and, thanks to the fast-running and robust equipment, did not take too long either. This leaves enough time, which can be spent excellently at the barbecue. Which AL-KO had been manufacturing since the 70s.

For a very long time, AL-KO has focused on environmental protection and sustainability. For example, in the 1990s AL-KO developed ecologically compatible drive systems specifically for gardening equipment. For example, the AL-KO Ökostar lawn mower: It reduces carbon monoxide emissions by about 50 percent, reduces noise by about 40 percent - only 92 dB(A) - and consumes about 30 percent less fuel than a conventional lawn mower.

AL-KO Robolinho 3000 Mähroboter | AL-KO Historie

In 2012, the Robolinho® 3000, AL-KO's first robotic lawn mower, is launched.

With the acquisition of solo Kleinmotoren GmbH in 2014, the "solo® by AL-KO" brand combines lawn, garden and forestry technology in a high-quality product line for the discerning private and professional user.

In the trade, AL-KO garden tools have a good name. Admittedly, the lawn mower, the garden shredder, the water pump, the chain saw and the scarifier cannot be reinvented every year. Nevertheless, AL-KO has new products and innovative features in store every year. 

Source: Chronicle "75 years AL-KO 1931-2006 - A company writes history", published by self-publisher, July 2000


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