Wilhelm Grillo was one of the founding fathers of industry in the Ruhr region. He was a man with enormous energy, visionary thinking and social involvement, and he started an impressive business development programme in 1842, when he was just 23. A hardware store in Mülheim an der Ruhr was followed by a zinc rolling mill in Duisburg-Neumühl in 1849. Only a few years later – in 1855 – he founded the first production plants for zinc oxide in Oberhausen, alongside two rolling mills and a gas production plant.
By the beginning of the Second World War, the company had developed into the largest zinc semi-finished product and zinc oxide manufacturer and SO2-supplier in Germany. After the wartime disruption of almost the entire production, an attempt was made with great difficulty to rebuild the production facilities – excluding the zinc smelting works. Aside from the development and expansion of its own plants, Grillo was involved in a multitude of companies. In 1974, after 120 years, Grillo withdrew completely from Oberhausen.
Since then, the focal points for the traditional Metal and Chemicals Divisions have been in Duisburg-Hamborn and in Frankfurt since 1997, with Goslar being the location for zinc oxide. RHEINZINK, co-founded by Grillo in 1966 and now a full subsidiary, has its rolling mill and administration located in Datteln and markets its zinc construction products through its own branches and/or companies on all continents.
Except for the period between 1988 and 1994, Grillo-Werke AG has always been 100% owned by the Grillo family, i.e. descendants of the company founder Wilhelm Grillo, who are still in charge of the company today.