ⓘ Friedrich Karl Henkel. Fritz Henkel was born as the fifth child of his parents, the teacher Johann Jost Henkel 1809-1874 from Wallau an der Lahn and his wife Jo ..

Friedrich Karl Henkel

ⓘ Friedrich Karl Henkel

Fritz Henkel was born as the fifth child of his parents, the teacher Johann Jost Henkel 1809-1874 from Wallau an der Lahn and his wife Johanette Philippine 1807-1881, born Jungst. At the age of seventeen, he moved to Elberfeld, where he began an apprenticeship at the Gessert brothers paint and varnish factory. After finishing his apprenticeship he worked his way up to become the companys procurator authorized agent.


1. Career

In 1874, at the age of 26, Henkel became a partner in the chemicals and paints wholesaler "Henkel und Strebel". On 26 September 1876, he founded the detergent factory "Henkel & Cie" in Aachen together with the owners of the Rheinische Wasserglasfabrik "Scheffen und Dicker". After Scheffen and Dicker left the company, Henkel took sole responsibility.

Two years after its foundation, he moved the companies headquarters to Dusseldorf, where he rented an empty soap factory. In 1880, construction work finally began on a new company building in Dusseldorf-Flingern. Under his management the company achieved a turnover of over one million marks in 1899. In 1899, Henkel moved its headquarters to Dusseldorf-Holthausen, where four building complexes and the Fritz Henkel residence were constructed by the end of 1900. "File

In 1911, the year in which he was appointed Royal Prussian Counselor of Commerce, Henkel moved to Rengsdorf in the Westerwald region, where he built a spacious country house "Haus Henkel" as a retirement home. He also built in Rengsdorf a guest house that served as a recreation home for employees of the company; he supported the community in many ways.

On the occasion of his 50th anniversary as a businessman in 1915, Fritz Henkel founded the "Support Fund for Workers and Salaried Employees"; which was followed in 1918, on his 70th birthday, with the "Old-age and Survivors Pension Fund for Salaried Employees" Pensionskasse.


2. Family

On 4 October 1873, Henkel married Elisabeth von den Steinen in Elberfeld, a daughter of August von den Steinen and Alwine, born Schlieper. The couple had four children:

  • Hugo Wilhelm * 21 January 1881 in Dusseldorf; † 18 December 1952 in Hosel
  • August * 8 July 1874 in Aachen; † 8 June 1879 in Vohl died at the age of four
  • Emmy Anna * 8 September 1884 in Dusseldorf; † 19 September 1941 in Dusseldorf
  • Fritz * 25 July 1875 in Aachen; † 4 January 1930 in Unkel died two months before his father

On 1 March 1930, Fritz Henkel died at the age of 81 after a short, serious illness at his country residence in Rengsdorf. He was buried at the North Cemetery in Dusseldorf in the family tomb. The tomb is a pavilion-like, open-fronted rotunda of shell limestone with a glazed dome, which is reminiscent of a Greek temple of the Monopteros type, was built around 1925 by the architect Walter Furthmann. The tombs female figure in white marble is a neoclassical late work by the sculptor Karl Janssen, who died in 1927. He was the father of Gerda Henkel-Janssen 1888-1966, the wife of industrialist Hugo Henkel.

After Fritz Henkels death, his youngest son Hugo Henkel took over the sole management of the company.

In memory of his wife Gerda, the Gerda Henkel Foundation was established in 1976 to promote science.


3. Awards and honors

  • 27 April 1928: Honorary citizen of Dusseldorf, ceremony on 22 August
  • "Henkelhaus" 1926 and "Henkelschule" 1955/56 in Vohl. Fritz Henkel had supported the construction of the Henkel House with a donation.
  • The Fritz Henkel Hall and Fritz Henkel Street in Wallau were named after him. Fritz Henkel had donated 30.000 Reichsmarks to the Wallau community for the construction of the Fritz Henkel Hall
  • 1 July 1911: Royal Prussian Council of Commerce
  • 1925/1926: Honorary citizens of Vohl, Wallau Lahn, Rengsdorf and Benrath

4. Web links

  • Biography in the portal "Rhenish History
  • Commons: Friedrich Karl Henkel - Collection of pictures
  • Website of the Henkel Group
  • Newspaper article about Friedrich Karl Henkel in the 20th century press kit of the ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
  • Literature by and about Friedrich Karl Henkel in the catalogue of the German National Library
  • Whos Who: Friedrich Karl Henkel