Hempel milestones

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  • 1915

    The Hempel Group is established in Denmark by J.C. Hempel. The first order of ready-mixed paint is for the barges that ply their trade along the canals of Copenhagen.

  • 1916

    The company opens its first factory, in Amager in Copenhagen, Denmark. The skipper logo is introduced, an image that will remain almost unchanged for the next 100 years.

  • 1917

    Hempel releases its first antifouling coating for ships’ hulls, developed in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute, and starts working with its first overseas agent (in Spain). Later in the year, J.C. Hempel meets A.P. Møller and agrees to create a special colour for the Maersk shipping fleet.

  • 1921

    Hempel delivers its first oversees order to a company in Finland.

  • 1923

    As the company expands, it moves into larger offices in Amaliegade 11, just up the road from the Danish Royal Residence in Copenhagen.

  • 1926

    The company has 60 employees. Some of the employees are young apprentices, who work during the day and attend college in the evening. Their college fees are paid by Hempel.

  • 1929

    The company expands internationally and has offices in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Belgium.

  • 1934

    Hempel moves its Danish office to Amaliegade 8. These offices are still used by the Hempel Foundation today.

  • 1939

    Hempel now has 7 factories, 27 distributors and 22 stock points around the world.

  • 1943

    Hempel becomes a public limited company with Børge Hansen, who started as an apprentice in 1926, as Managing Director.

  • 1948

    J.C. Hempel establishes the Hempel Foundation. He transfers all his shares to the Foundation, making it the sole owner of the company. The primary purpose of the Hempel Foundation is to maintain a solid economic base for the Hempel Group. Its secondary purpose is to support causes for the common good around the world.

  • 1950

    Hempel begins to move into Asia. During the decade, it signs agreements with agents in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.

  • 1953

    Hempel introduces its first chlorinated-rubber coatings and fire-resistant coatings.

  • 1954

    Hempel establishes a Central R&D lab, connected to one of its Danish factories.

  • 1955

    Hempel’s expansion continues. It now has 13 factories and 22 stock points around the world.

  • 1957

    Hempel introduces its first tank linings. It can now provide a coating system for almost every area of a vessel.

  • 1963

    As demand for Hempel coatings increases in Asia, Hempel opens its first office in the region in Hong Kong. The company launches its first vinyl coatings and inorganic patented zinc silicate coatings follow soon after.

  • 1965

    J.C. Hempel establishes the Hempel Glass Museum and Cultural Centre in connection with Hempel’s 50th anniversary. Hempel introduces coatings for airless sprays in the middle of the decade. As well as increasing application speeds, airless sprays enable applicators to apply more paint in one coat, which significantly improves the performance of the coating.

  • 1966

    Hempel opens its first factory in the Middle East in Kuwait. The factory produces a range of coatings, including decorative coatings for the rapidly expanding housing market in the region. At this point, 10 litres of Hempel coatings are applied somewhere in the world every minute.

  • 1970

    Hempel relocates to new offices in Lundtofte and merges its Danish factories into a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. During the decade, it launches its first coatings designed specifically for heavy industrial structures, establishes a Technical Service department and creates its first Coating Advisor course.

  • 1972

    Hempel introduces its first silicone coatings.

  • 1975

    Hempel opens production facilities in Japan and Korea.

  • 1980

    Hempel enters into a joint venture with Hempel Hai Hong in China and opens its first R&D centre outside of Denmark, near Barcelona in Spain. In the 1980s, Hempel supplies coatings to the world’s first commercial wind farms. It introduces fibre-reinforced coating systems and the world’s first FDA-compliant two-coat system for container interiors – both of which are still widely used today.

  • 1990

    During the 1990s, Hempel introduces the first waterborne coatings for the container industry. Hempel also acquires the German protective coatings producer Kemp & Wessel and the UK-based marine and yacht coatings company Blakes Paints.

  • 2004

    Hempel moves from six centrally-driven regions to one centrally-run organisation. During the following five years, it buys out its partners in Croatia, China, Morocco and the Middle East.

  • 2007

    Hempel begins to rapidly expand into the decorative and protective industries. It acquires the German protective coatings manufacturer Lacor.

  • 2009

    Hempel establishes the Hempel Academy, bringing all its training courses for staff and customers under one umbrella. HEMPASIL X3 is launched. A revolutionary new antifouling coating based on hydrogel technology, HEMPASIL X3 offers customers the industry’s first fuel-saving guarantee.

  • 2010

    Hempel launches EcoBoxcoat, the world’s first fully waterborne coating system for containers.

  • 2011

    Hempel buys Crown Paints, the second largest decorative coatings producer in the UK and Ireland.

  • 2012

    Hempel buys the American specialist coatings manufacturer Blome International Inc. Together with the launch of its first intumescent coatings, the acquisition means that Hempel can now offer customers the full range of protective products.

  • 2013

    Hempel moves into new headquarters in Lundtofte, just outside Copenhagen. It launches HEMPAGUARD®, the world’s first fouling defence coating to come with a customer satisfaction guarantee.

  • 2014

    Hempel re-invents the zinc coatings market with the launch of AvantGuard®, a new technology that increases the coating’s anti-corrosive performance and mechanical strength without increasing zinc content.

  • 2015

    Hempel celebrates its 100th anniversary. The company has over 5,000 employees working in more than 80 countries. It has 27 ISO-certified factories, 11 R&D centres and 150 stock points around the globe – and nearly 700 litres of Hempel coatings are applied somewhere in the world every minute.

Welcome to
Hempels 100 years
of legacy website

Explore the
History of Hempel


Explore the
History of Hempel


Quality and
Service for
100 Years

For 100 years, Hempel coatings have been trusted to deliver outstanding protection against corrosion in the toughest environments.
From wind turbines and bridges to ships and homes, they keep our structures and equipment safe for longer and make our world a more beautiful place to live in.