L. Possehl & Co. mbH


1847 >> Establishment and Development

Ludwig Possehl founds his company L. Possehl & Co. in Lübeck on May 1, 1847 and begins trading in iron and coal. The first customers are from the local region; all levels of society in the Hanseatic city and the surrounding area need coal. Iron goods are sold to various nearby industries such as tradesmen and local businesses. Within a short time, Possehl is supplying its first industrial bulk purchasers with sheet iron, black coal, and general goods such as nails and wire. It has already developed an important business principle: to give the business the broadest possible foundation.


Improvements in infrastructure lead to growth. The developing steam shipping industry on the River Trave, the modernization of the harbor and the linking of Lübeck to the railway network causes a boom in business. Customs duties for traders are eased.


Possehl’s stable equity position enables it to survive economic crises, such as the 1857 crisis that saw an almost total collapse in business life in the German Empire. Conservative capital withdrawal policies mean that the Company’s equity grows to seven times the original starting capital, despite the difficult first 15 years of the Company’s history.