The WITT company has an amazing history that stretches all the way back to the 19th Century. This section describes how the family company grew to be a leading global supplier of refrigeration equipment, and it outlines the impressive development of refrigeration technology over the years.
Monika Witt and Florian
Weber (4th Generation)
After gaining experience as a project engineer working with low temperature equipment at air separation plants in Germany and the USA, Günter Witt’s daughter returns to continue the family tradition in 1998 as shareholder and Managing Director.
Florian Weber, a great grandson of Theodor Witt, has been a shareholder and Managing director since 1999. In this role he manages the financial side and is taking over the responsibility for the continuity of the family company.
Günter Witt (3rd Generation)
When Günter Witt (Dipl.-Ing.) takes over the family company as sole Managing Director in 1965, a new office section is added.
The previous line of smaller, commercial refrigeration is discontinued and instead production and sales of ice-water plants expanded.
Initially refrigeration components are solely produced for refrigeration plants produced by WITT. Günter Witt improves the highside float regulators and designs further refrigerant pumps (first the hermetic SP range and the open GP range, later the HRP range). He also optimizes the ice-water plants.
In response to a demand from Linde, and later from many other companies, refrigeration components are marketed to contractors that are building large industrial refrigeration plants. The move is a great success, despite expressing reservations in regards to a possible competition. These concerns were overcome thanks to a strict separation between contracting entire refrigeration systems and component sales. The advantages of buying proven d tested industrial refrigeration products, based on years of expertise and experience, are self-explanatory.
Hans Witt (the 2nd
Hans Witt enters his father’s company in 1933, and in 1939 he becomes sole Managing Director of the limited company that was registered in 1911, with about 100 employees.
After the war, Hans Witt designs and builts the first refrigerant compressor with welded housing and prepares the AFP range of refrigerant pumps for the market. He also develops the first ice-water plants with galvanized pipe coils, which are installed in many dairies and breweries. This is helping to make the brand WITT even more well-established in the refrigeration market.
Theodor Witt founds the refrigeration equipment factory
In 1896, the young engineer, Theodor Witt from Itzehoe in Holstein, North Germany, takes over a steam engine factory that is for sale in Aachen. The existing steam engines and his own designed ammonia compressors shared a common piston rod, as there was still no electric driven motor. Also all production machines were still driven using belts.
Theodor Witt is the inventor of the high-pressure float regulator with central separator and flooded evaporator (and moisturising device for the suction gas) He is granted a patent for this concept. Originally described as the “WITT high-performance regulator”, current designs for large industrial refrigeration plants are still based on this design today.
As well as producing modern refrigeration plants, Theodor Witt was motivated to eliminate labour-intensive operation of refrigeration plants by replacing them with widely automated systems.
The type HRP refrigerant pump enters the market
The type HRP hermetic refrigerant pump, developed exclusively for the refrigeration industry, is released.
The type GP refrigerant pump enters the market
The type GP refrigerant pump is released with a double shaft seal and flange motor. The GP is so robust that it is still in great demand to this day.
The type SP
refrigerant pump enters the market
The type SP is the first hermetic refrigerant pump released by WITT. Production and sale stop in 1975.
The type AFP
refrigerant pump enters the market
The type AFP refrigerant pump is the successor to the PU. Production and sale stop in 1972.
WITT refrigerant pumps
WITT has produced refrigerant pumps since it was founded. These are produced as standard components over time and come with a double oil chamber with an oil filling pot each. The shaft seal consists of an O-ring at the time. Unfortunately no documents remain due to the complete destruction of the factory during the Second World War.
Our oldest brochure, from 1940, shows the type PU refrigerant pump (produced and sold until 1965).
New facility in
To meet the company’s need for space, in 1984 it moves from its old address in Kamperstraße to the new factory at 32 Lukasstraße, which is with 20,000 m² much larger.
The ice-water years
At this time, dairies and breweries are mainly still equipped with large refrigeration plants, which are only used for short periods each day. Since cooling is only required at ± 0 °C a much more efficient method by storing ice and pumping melted ice-water can be used. In the mid 1950’s, the WITT company becomes the market leader in this special area, by producing galvanized ammonia evaporator coils to freeze ice at night, using cheaper electricity, to be melted during the day. The system is a great success, thanks to the easy handling of water to provide the coolers.
Rebuilding the factory
The company can move back to its old location in the south of Aachen when a new building is constructed for its workshop and office. The first customers who can pay in cash with the new Deutschmark are ice cream parlours. Many other businesses will follow.
Demand for large ammonia refrigeration plants is boosted by the Aachen-based chocolate industry and many other companies involved in storing or processing food and drinks.
The compressors, highside float regulators, separators, refrigerant pumps and valves required are all produced in-house.
By 1954 the WITT staff is consisting again in about 100 employees This number remains very constant until the 1990’s.
a new start
The business is provisionally started up again with 25 employees in a former pig stall. Repairs and new installations from old stock are bartered for food, to survive the lean years.
the second world war
During the Second World War, WITT receives orders that are important for securing the food supply for the population during the conflict.
On 11th April 1944, the factory in Aachen is completely destroyed by bombing. The staff and their families are taken to Illertissen in Bavaria. Provisionary production carries on at the Plersch Bros. refrigeration machinery factory, but already in 1945 they return to Aachen where the facility is reduced to ashes.
development in the early years
Production and assembly of refrigeration equipment and refrigeration plants and the necessary refrigerant pumps begins under the management of Theodor Witt. Initially the components for every plant are designed and manufactured individually.
The first customers include fruit refrigeration facilities in South Tyrol and slaughterhouses in North Germany. Refrigeration plants are also produced for retail and commercial customers in the Aachen area.
In the early 1930’s, WITT is already producing welded ammonia compressors.