“I understand the manufacture and application of a very popular article. The business is very lucrative, the article in great demand and its consumption increases year after year.”
With this newspaper ad, 26-year-old Carl Reuther is looking for a partner and investor for his business plans. He finds him in Carl Bopp, the owner of a mechanical workshop in Mannheim.
He is right with his forecast to be able to manufacture a ‘current’, i.e. a well-selling article. In the year 1872, the two engineers found the company Bopp & Reuther, the predecessor of today’s VAG Group, ‘for the purpose of manufacturing valves for water, gas and steam’. The company’s operations started on a plot of land of just 96 square metres with 10 workers and an ‘8-horse-power steam engine’. The company is growing very fast.
The 19th century is a perfect time for founders in Germany. Industrialisation has paved the way for inventorship and entrepreneurship. And Carl Reuther is inventive and has an excellent education. When he was a mechanics trainee, he shared a workbench with his co-trainee Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler as their master. Further years of training, university studies and a two-year stay in the USA followed. He is described as an impulsive person with a pioneering spirit.