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Innovation and growth – KSB’s history in a nutshell 

Greater efficiency was the goal of Johannes Klein when he designed his boiler feed apparatus in 1871. His invention trapped the steam generated by steam engines and fed it back into the boiler as water. Together with the entrepreneurs Friedrich Schanzlin and Jakob Becker, Klein laid the foundations for today’s KSB Group with this innovative product.

Efficiency, reliability and sustainability have been the driving forces behind the company ever since. Pumps and valves made by KSB have continually set new benchmarks – in projects around the globe.

The company has remained steadily on course throughout the years, even in difficult times. Through targeted investments, KSB has strategically expanded its business areas. KSB prides itself on being a reliable partner to its customers and a safe harbour for investors – and this will not change in the future.

Today, over 15,000 employees around the world continue the company’s work guided by the principles of its founders. These are the people who are passionate about making sure that KSB’s customers enjoy outstanding performance. True to our motto: People. Passion. Performance.

Read on to learn more about important events in KSB’s long history.

KSB’s main administration building in Frankenthal

Future and sustainability (1997 – today)

Sustainable growth and future-oriented digitalisation have enabled KSB to continually advance over decades. If you would like to find out what is currently happening at our company, please visit our news page.

2018 – Even more service for our customers

KSB annual general meeting

  • KSB acquires the American company DUBRIC Industries Inc. to expand KSB’s service network in the USA.
  • Following a resolution by the Annual General Meeting, KSB AG becomes KSB SE & Co. KGaA. The change in legal form guarantees a stable ownership structure and opens up strategic options.

2012 – Energy efficiency is KSB’s benchmark

The premium version of the Mega CPK volute casing pump

MegaCPK standardised chemical pump: The innovative further development of several well-proven type series offers higher energy efficiency and increased operating reliability. It is also produced according to uniform standards across KSB.

2010 – Commitment to the UN Global Compact

Logo of the United Nations Global Compact

Sustainability plays a fundamental role in all of KSB’s decisions. By following the principles of the UN Global Compact, we are committed to supporting social and ecological globalisation. Read how KSB actively lives and implements sustainability today.

2002 – KSB is a global company

KSB’s locations are shown as dots on the world map.

KSB now operates a total of 27 manufacturing sites and has subsidiaries and representatives in over 100 countries.

A man stands in front of a world map in a room full of people working at computers.

On the path to becoming a global company (1970–1996)

Growth with strategic foresight: At the end of the 20th century, KSB expands on the continents of America, Asia and Europa, tapping into important new markets.

1994 – Expansion to China

KSB Shanghai Pumps Co. Ltd.

The joint venture KSB Shanghai Pumps Co. Ltd. reinforces KSB’s involvement in the Chinese market.

1986–1990 – Acquisitions in Europe and the USA

GIW Industries Inc.

A time of growth in which KSB expands its portfolio of products and services:

  • KSB acquires the leading French pump manufacturer, Pompes Guinard S.A., Paris.
  • The acquisition of GIW Industries, Inc., Grovetown, USA, marks KSB’s entry into the slurry pumps market.
  • KSB buys the world’s second-largest butterfly valve manufacturer, Amri S.A., Paris.
  • The eastern German “Hallesche Pumpenwerke GmbH” is integrated into KSB AG.

1975 – Noise is also environmental pollution

A microphone in the acoustics laboratory in Frankenthal measures the sound emitted by a pump while it is in operation.

To protect the environment, our engineers develop especially low-noise pumps. An acoustics centre is built for this purpose in Frankenthal in 1975. From this day onwards, it is used to continually reduce the level of noise emitted by KSB pumps.

Dr. Otto Klein-Kühborth managed the company for decades.

Stability and growth (1946–1969)

After the Second World War, KSB’s reliable products are an important part of Germany’s economic miracle and recovery. A number of key decisions for the future are made during this time.

1964 – KSB Foundation controls share capital

Dr. Otto Klein-Kühborth

Dr. Otto Klein-Kühborth, the adopted son of Jacob Klein, transfers a qualified majority holding of KSB’s share capital to Klein Pumpen GmbH, whose shares in turn are controlled by the non-profit KSB Stiftung [KSB-Foundation]. Established in 1960, the Foundation is dedicated to promoting science and training young talent in engineering, science and economics.

1963 – RDL 900 clean water pump

The RDL 900 pump being assembled in October 1963

Offering a good level of efficiency and a long service life for this size of pump, the RDL 900 marks a technological breakthrough.

1959 – The KSB group of companies becomes an Aktiengesellschaft

Share of KSB AG

The four previously independent West German companies of the KSB group are merged into the public limited company Klein, Schanzlin & Becker Aktiengesellschaft.

1959 – First location in Asia

First location in Asia

The foundation of a Pakistani subsidiary marks the company's move into the Asian-Pacific markets.

Commercial Councillor Dr. Ing. e.h. Jacob Klein on the occasion of his 70th birthday

From company to group (1919–1945)

Under the management of Jacob Klein, the company expands on two continents. During National Socialism and the Second World War, KSB is a supplier for the military. In addition to classic fields of application, KSB products and developments are used in automotive production, shipbuilding, aviation and rocket engineering.

1941 – First location in South America

First location in South America

The foundation of KSB Compañía Sudamericana de Bombas marks the beginning of KSB’s presence on the American continent.

1935 – Saving energy since as early as the 1930s

A historical ETA pump

KSB launches the Eta series of energy-efficient, single-stage volute casing pumps for industrial applications.

1924 – New sites in Europe

New locations in Europe

KSB acquires three factories in Germany and founds subsidiaries in Europe – the first is located in Italy.

Johannes Klein was an inventor and the founder of KSB

A company rooted in innovation (1871–1918)

Everything begins with what KSB still stands for today: people with a passion for their work and a focus on efficiency and functionality – people, passion, performance.

1890 – Durable products from the start

The UNA pump was used in many applications.

Production begins of the UNA pump – a steam- or belt-driven double-acting plunger pump with just one gland packing, hence “una”, Latin for “one”. One of its key features is its long service life.

From 1887 – Conversion to a public limited company and new developments

KSB share

KSB becomes a public limited company (Aktiengesellschaft) and its management is taken over by Johannes Klein.


1871 – The first patent: efficiency is a fundamental principle

Klein, Schanzlin and Becker

Johannes Klein develops a boiler feed apparatus and installs it at the Frankenthal Joint Stock Brewery. The brewery’s director Friedrich Schanzlin and the financier and brick manufacturer Jakob Becker are impressed by the invention. Together with Klein, they found the company Frankenthaler Maschinen- & Armaturen-Fabrik Klein, Schanzlin und Becker.