Wilhelm Grillo was one of the founding fathers of industry in the Ruhr Region. He was a man of great energy, visionary ideas and social commitment and began to build an impressive enterprise in 1842 at the age of only 23. Following an ironmonger's shop in Mülheim an der Ruhr, he founded a zinc rolling mill in Duisburg-Neumühl in 1849. Only a few years later - in 1855 - he built not only two mill trains and a gas generating system but also the first production plant for Zinc Oxide in Oberhausen.
As of 1881, the crude zinc needed by the plants in Oberhausen was produced in a proprietary metallurgical plant in Duisburg-Hamborn. Liquid sulphur dioxide and sulphuric acid were hereby produced as by-products. A rolling mill was also built in Hamborn after the turn of the century.
The company founder died two years after handing over the firm to his sons Julius, August and Wilhelm (jun.). With effect from 01.01.1894 his sons transformed the former general partnership into a "Stock corporation for the zinc industry formerly Wilhelm Grillo".
Up until the 2nd World War, the company had developed into the biggest manufacturer of zinc semi-finished goods and Zinc Oxide as well as SO2 seller in Germany. Following the disruption of almost the entire production due to the war, restoration work began on the production plants with the exception of the zinc smelting plant under great difficulties. Apart from the establishment and expansion of its own plants, Grillo also became involved in a number of other companies. In 1974, Grillo brought its 120-year history in Oberhausen to an end.
Since then, the foci for the traditional fields of metal and chemistry have been in Duisburg-Hamborn and since 1997 in Frankfurt, whereby the Zinc Oxide sector is at home in Goslar. RHEINZINK, which was co-founded in 1966 and is now fully owned by Grillo, has its rolling mill and administrative offices in Datteln and sells its building zinc products through its own agencies and companies on all continents.
Grillo-Werke AG has always been fully owned by the Grillo family, apart from the period between 1988 and 1994, i.e. descendants of the company founder Wilhelm Grillo, who are still in control of the company today.