Company History


1923

Hamaphot KG founded in Dresden

Martin Hanke founds Hamaphot KG in Dresden.
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Founding

After completing an apprenticeship as a photographer, Martin Hanke founds Hamaphot KG in 1923.

The Hamaphot logo until 1945

The Hamaphot logo until 1945

The company initially specialises in photography wholesale and producing laboratory equipment and camera accessories.

Hamaphot in Dresden

Hamaphot in Dresden

Destruction of Hamaphot in Dresden

After destruction of the company in Dresden in 1945, Hamaphot was re-established in Monheim.

The Hamaphot building in ruins

The Hamaphot building in ruins

1935

The first trade fair

Hamaphot at the sample fair (Mustermesse) in Leipzig
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Leipzig Trade Fair

Hamaphot attends the sample fair in Leipzig as an exhibitor. The company first presented its wares at a trade fair in the Leipziger Messe exhibition centre.

Catalogue cover from 1937/38

1945

Hamaphot KG comes to Monheim.

The company celebrates its 25th anniversary in Monheim.
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It all started in a shed

Martin Hanke’s first office is a shed in Monheim.

Martin Hanke in his “office” in a shed

He has his wife and four children follow him from the Soviet-occupied Dresden to the “American” Monheim. He personally travels by bicycle to suppliers throughout Southern Germany and initially trades in brushes, rubber for soles, stationery etc.

Hanke family, with Rudolph Hanke on the left

Hanke family, with Rudolph Hanke on the left

New headquarters

In 1946, Hamaphot moves into a larger building which remains the company headquarters until 1953.

Hamaphot now features a new logo.

The Hamaphot logo until 1949, with a powder flash unit as its symbol

The Hamaphot logo until 1949, with a powder flash unit as its symbol

1950

The first photokina

Exhibitor at the first photokina in Cologne
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Hamaphot at photokina

The first photokina trade fair opened its doors on 19 May 1950, and of course Hamaphot was there from day one. Hamaphot exhibited picture frames, laboratory accessories, slide boxes and the powder flash unit.

The early days of photokina

photokina soon firmly established itself as the world’s largest and leading trade fair for the photo and imaging industry. While the trade fair section remains exclusively national in 1959, with 300 German companies, the photo exhibitions are already international. Even back then, 75,000 visitors poured into the exhibition centre in Cologne.

Today, photokina welcomes roughly 185,000 attendees.

1953

The company’s first own factory building

The “Green House” is the company’s first own factory building
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The company’s first own factory building

Hamaphot moves into its first own factory building.

The new Hamaphot logo centres on the word “Hama”.

The Hamaphot logo until 1954

The Hamaphot logo until 1954

The Hamaphot logo until 1960

The Hamaphot logo until 1960

The company’s first own factory building today

The “Green House” now contains apartments, most of which are home to Hama employees.

1959

New management

Rudolph Hanke and Adolf Thomas take over the management of the company
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New management

After his father’s death in 1958, Rudolf Hanke and his brother-in-law Adolf Thomas take over the management of the company in 1959.

Martin Hanke

Martin Hanke

The logo continues to change

The Hamaphot logo continues to change until the familiar, present-day logo is developed (1968): Hama in broad, red lettering.

The Hama logo until 1966

The Hama logo until 1966

The Hama logo until 1968

The Hama logo until 1968

The Hama logo since 1968

The Hama logo since 1968

1973

Hamaphot moves into the new factory building

Hamaphot expands
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The company moves into Plant II

The now 80-strong team moves into our current administration building (Plant II) in Dresdner Straße. Plant II contains its own production facilities, warehouse, sales, product management and administration areas.

1979

Expansion of Plant II

Hama keeps on growing
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Staff levels have increased to 300. Plant II is expanded to twice its original floor space.

Plant II

Plant II

Aerial photo of Plant II

Aerial photo of Plant II

1985

Subsidiary founded in France

Hama enters new markets in France
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The early days of Hama in France

The subsidiary in France is founded with 20 employees. There are no departments yet in 1985, just individuals who each had the responsibilities of a present-day department (e.g. controlling, purchasing, sales etc.).

The Hama building in France

The Hama building in France

By 2014, the staff level has increased to 80 employees.

1987

New member of the Management Board

Christoph Thomas becomes a Managing Director.
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Christoph Thomas now joins Rudolph Hanke and Adolf Thomas at the top of the company hierarchy. Adolf Thomas’ son is a third generation family member, and will later take over the management of Hama.

1990

Hama expands

The subsidiary in Great Britain is founded.

1990

Hama grows

The new Plant III is built
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Plant III is built

With the new Plant III building in the industrial park, Hama takes on a new dimension. It allows the design, development, quality control and manufacturing departments to expand.

Quality control

Quality control

Manufacturing

Manufacturing

Hama now employs a staff of 500..

The subsidiary in Great Britain is founded.

1993

Hama exhibits at CeBIT for the first time.

Exhibitor at world’s largest computer trade fair CeBIT
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Exhibitor at CeBIT

This year marks Hama’s first time exhibiting at the CeBIT trade fair. CeBIT was already the world’s largest computer trade fair at that time.

CeBIT logo

CeBIT logo

Company name changes to Hama GmbH & Co. KG

In 1993, Hamaphot changed its name to Hama GmbH & Co. KG. A product developer who was already with Hama in 1993 recalls that everyone had been calling the company Hama since the logo was changed in 1958. That was one of the reasons for the new official name.

The subsidiary in Hungary is founded.

1995

Subsidiaries in Spain and Switzerland

The subsidiaries in Spain and Switzerland are founded.

1997

The logistics centre is expanded.

The logistics building grows and grows.
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A dispatch centre is added to Plant III. It offers enough space for state-of-the-art picking and dispatch systems. 25,000 pallet spaces are also added to the fully-automated high-rack storage system.

Picking

Picking

The dispatch systems

The dispatch systems

The high-rack warehouse

The high-rack warehouse

1998

Hama expands east

New Subsidiaries in Austria and Slowakia founded
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Subsidiaries in Austria and Slovakia

An existing company in Breitenfurt near Vienna is renamed: Hama Technics Handels-GmbH in Austria is created as a subsidiary of Hama. Hama Austria opens its doors with 18 employees in 1998. The number of employees has tripled by 2014. From the outset, it has its own warehouse and other departments such as sales, product management, purchasing etc.

The building of the Austrian subsidiary

The building of the Austrian subsidiary

The Austrian subsidiary and its employees

class="legend">The Austrian subsidiary and its employees

Hama’s warehouse in Austria

The Slovakian subsidiary is founded in the same year.

Picture frame production

In April 1998, the company’s own picture frame production facility is officially opened in Syrovice near Brno (Czech Republic). The company’s own production facility allows all frames to be delivered rapidly and flexibly. A wide range of picture frames are produced on a total floor space of 58,000 m². Up to 100,000 frames are produced each week.

Picture frame production facility warehouse in Syrovice

Picture frame production facility warehouse in Syrovice

2000

The subsidiary in Poland is founded.

Entry into Polish market
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Entry into markets in Eastern Europe

Hama takes another step to develop the Eastern European markets by founding its Polish subsidiary.

2001

The subsidiary in Belgium is founded.

Agami joins Hama GmbH & Co. KG
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Entry into further markets in Western Europe

Hama expands further into Western Europe: Agami in Belgium joins Hama GmbH & Co. KG as a new subsidiary.

Hama’s employees in Belgium

Hama’s building in Belgium

Initial online store developments are completed

Hama GmbH & Co. KG’s first online store is developed.

Awards for our online store

Awards for our online store

Award for the best online catalogue

2002

Death of Adolf Thomas

Mourning for senior executive
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Mourning for Adolf Thomas

In February 2002, Hama GmbH & Co. KG mourns the passing of its senior executive, Adolf Thomas.

Hama GmbH & Co. KG enjoys continued growth

Hama now has 1600 employees, 1000 of whom work at the company’s headquarters in Monheim. The other 600 employees work in the now 11 subsidiaries.

2006

Expansion of the logistics centre

The logistics centre is expanded with a new building and a high-rack storage system with a box storage area.
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Extension of the logistics centre

The logistics centre is supplemented with an additional automatic high-rack storage system and an automated box storage area. A new building is constructed for incoming goods, quality control and technical service.

Automated box storage area

Automated box storage area

Schoolbags in quality control

Schoolbags in quality control

Incoming goods

Incoming goods

Technical service

Technical service

2007

Subsidiaries in Dubai and Portugal

Hama Gulf is founded in Dubai. Another subsidiary in Portugal follows in November.

2008

Subsidiaries founded in Romania and the Netherlands

New subsidiaries in Romania and the Netherlands

2010

Hama’s in-house trade show launched

The first Hama in-house trade show is held
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The Hama in-house trade show

The Hama in-house trade show is brought to life. To date, 1500 customers from over 30 nations take part in this event each year, to see the latest Hama products and participate in product training.

The 2011 Hama in-house trade show

The 2011 Hama in-house trade show

The 2011 Hama in-house trade show

The 2011 Hama in-house trade show

Special offers at the 2010 in-house trade show

Special offers at the 2010 in-house trade show

Showroom at the 2010 in-house trade show

Showroom at the 2010 in-house trade show

2500 employees worldwide

The group now employs a staff of 2500, 1500 of whom work in the Monheim headquarters.

Further expansion into Eastern European markets with the founding of the Russian subsidiary.

2011

Subsidiary founded in China

The new subsidiary in China is founded.
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Hama worldwide

A subsidiary is founded in China. It was initially intended to deliver products faster to a major international customer. However, the Chinese subsidiary now also supplies other customers.

2012

Hama Germany continues to grow.

Hama expands its logistics centre in Monheim.
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Expansion of the logistics centre

In May, Hama Germany moved into a new incoming goods/office building with just under 9,000 m² of additional floor space.

The new office building

The new office building

“Between Nature and Imagery” sculpture

The new building overlooks a several metre-tall, colourful work of art entitled “Between Nature and Imagery” (Camera obscura). The sculpture unites tradition and modernism. It symbolises our tradition as a photography company and our forward-looking focus as a modern company.

Christoph Thomas, Pavel Tasovský (Czech artist of “Between Nature and Imagery”) and Rudolph Hanke

2014

The new dispatch centre

New logistics building for Hama Germany
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The new dispatch centre

Hama Germany commissions a new logistics building with a state-of-the-art dispatch centre. It allows up to 7,000 packages per day to be sent – or even up to 10,000 at peak times. On average, roughly half a million Hama products make their way to our customers every day.

The new logistics building with a view of the dispatch centre

The new logistics building with a view of the dispatch centre

State-of-the-art dispatch centre

State-of-the-art dispatch centre

State-of-the-art dispatch centre

State-of-the-art dispatch centre

The reception area of the new logistics building

The reception area of the new logistics building

Construction of the logistics building

Construction of the logistics building

1948

Innovative products produced in-house

The first synchronised powder flash unit is born
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The cooperation with local tradespeople and the difficulty of sourcing supplies leads the company to start OEM manufacturing. For example, it launched the first synchronised powder flash unit wooden slide boxes, tripods and other accessories in 1948.

1953

The “Hexi” camera is developed

About a million Hexi units are sold
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This is where the “Hexi” camera is created, which sold around one million units by 1959.

1956

Bakelite camera model P56 appears on the market

Hama’s camera sets a new benchmark
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Hama’s camera sets a new benchmark

The P56 camera model was based on the famous Pouva Start Bakelite camera from the company Karl Pouva AG. As an official licensee, Hama not only reverse engineered the camera but brought a significantly improved version on the market. Its most prominent feature was a lens assembly that could be unscrewed. It also featured flash synchronisation and a flash shoe. The camera had a built-in viewfinder. The optical element consisted of a three-lens, colour-coated lens assembly. The P56 Bakelite camera model remains extremely popular with collectors.

1972

The first automatic film splicer

Hama created a milestone with the first automatic film splicer
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Film splicer

Hama developed and produced the world’s first automatic film splicer. It allows users to cut film and splice both sides of the film ends automatically in a single operation. Film has to be cut if scenes from a cine-film are not required or are to be replaced.

That is why we still use the word “cut” for editing video.

1973

New camera bag product range

Camera bags are added to the range.

1975

The “Hamafix” slide framing system

The revolutionary “Hamafix” slide framing system is premièred
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“Hamafix” launched

The revolutionary “Hamafix” slide framing system celebrates its début. It makes framing slides quick and easy.

Image from our 1979 catalogue, page 11

Image from our 1979 catalogue, page 11

The “Hamafix” slide frame and framing system

1980

Hama adds new product ranges

The existing range is supplemented with audio and video accessories.
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Diversification

The photo product range is supplemented with audio and video accessories.

The first products in the new segments

The first products from the audio and video segment were the Magnum video light, video lenses and the VHS video rewinder.

VHS video rewinder

Before its introduction, video cassettes always had to be rewound in the camera. And that was precisely the reason that many camera video cassette decks failed at an early stage. That made the video rewinder ideal for anyone who wanted to take more care of their camera! It allowed users to rewind cassettes without the camera, extending the deck’s service life.

Award-winning quality: The 126 and 132 AV processors run away from the competiti

The AV processors win an award
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Hama employed high-quality measuring devices from early on in their product development, which allowed them to make significant improvements to their standard processors for video editing. The AV Processor 132 and its big brother the AV Processor 126 were faster, more precise and less susceptible to glitches than the standard versions produced by the competition.
The German publication “Video Magazin” tested the 126 and 132 processors in November 1993. They were awarded the “Excellent” rating in every single test category.

1991

The best-selling video editing system

The new video editing system is extremely popular.
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The best-selling video editing system

The “Videocut 200” video editing system, which would go on to be a best-seller, is launched. The integrated sound mixer allows the original sound to be faded in and out.

“Videocut 200” and its successors went on to become best-sellers. Competitors tried to copy the video editing system, without much success.

Hama stays true to its roots

A professional tripod system developed in house combines new innovations with the company’s traditional strengths

Hama developed the “Delta Pro” series of tripods as a modular system, which was the first of its kind. This allowed Hama to offer affordable tripods to hobbyists and semi-professional photographers who wanted professional results.
A range of extras, for instance the central column with air suspension or the 3D ball head, make these tripods the perfect companions for any terrain. Not travelling? This series also makes an excellent tabletop tripod.

Delta-Pro Stativ

Delta-Pro Stativ

The subsidiaries in Hong Kong and the Czech Republic are founded.

1993

New ranges of accessories

Expanding to computer, telecommunications and CD archiving accessories
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New accessory ranges are added for computers, telecommunications and CD archival. The new in-house developments in this area include one of the first ever hands-free phone sets: the MobilSafe system.

1997

Three devices in one

The Office Set II combines hands-free calling, battery charging and perfect reception
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Hama has once again established itself as a leading innovator for mobile phone accessories. The Office Set II is a desktop charger for your mobile phone battery and an additional external battery. This means the battery will not drain while you are talking on the phone! The unit also functions as a hands-free phone set. Thanks to the external antenna, connection problems are a thing of the past. Get perfect reception while keeping your conversation price!

2000

Boom in the multimedia and telecommunications segment

New records in the multimedia and telecommunications segments
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A new hands-free set with DSP echo suppression is developed.

2001

The CallBlocker appears on the market

The programmable CallBlocker for blocking outgoing calls
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The CallBlocker allows you to program your phone so that certain numbers cannot be dialled. You can easily block any number, whether special rate numbers, a particular dialling code or foreign numbers. While similar products from other manufacturers only allow you to enable certain numbers, Hama identified the real problem: only a few numbers need to be blocked; the vast majority of numbers should still be allowed.

2003

Universal jack plug, universal application

A telephone headset that can be adapted to virtually any device
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Universal plug

There are many headsets on the market, but so far none that can be used with different telephones. When you get a new telephone, you need a new headset. Until now: Hama now offers a headset with a universal jack plug. This allows you to use it with virtually any telephone. Hama: the problem solver!

2007

Small, practical and always there when you need it

The Nano Bluetooth USB adapter revolutionises wireless data exchange
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Hama introduces the world’s first Nano Bluetooth dongle. This device allows you to easily transfer data between a PC or laptop and other Bluetooth devices, for example your smartphone. The dongle’s small size—just 19 x 13 x 4 mm—means you can leave it in your computer so that is always available for connecting other devices. Even if you carry your laptop with you, you do not have to worry about damaging the dongle.

2008

Piccolino – Big-time convenience

The first completely concealed USB vehicle charger appears on the market
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Hama’s “Piccolino” is an extremely compact USB vehicle charger and the first in its class that is completely concealed in the cigarette lighter socket. This means you can leave it in the socket permanently without it protruding from the dashboard and getting in the way. The 12 V charger ensures that you will always have power for whatever devices you may use—all without attracting any attention.

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2014

A new era in home cinema

Hama provides the first true home cinema experience for curved TVs with its curved wall brackets
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TV technology is constantly advancing. First televisions became thinner, and now many have displays that are curved to provide viewers with an even larger image: the dawn of curved TVs is here. Hama has developed the world’s first curved TV wall bracket.