Spotlight on: Max Grundig

Max Grundig was one of Germany’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and played an important role in the country’s economic boom after the Second World War. As founder of Grundig, he built the business into a household name that has now become synonymous with pioneering innovation and design. Despite all his commercial success, the German businessman came from very modest beginnings:

Grundig: the early years

Max Grundig was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1908. His father died when he was only 12 years old, leaving his mother to raise him and his three sisters on a meagre factory wage. Although he grew up in relative poverty, Grundig prospered from an early age. Fascinated by radio technology from an early age, he completed training to become an electrician. At the age of 22, he opened a store selling radios with an associate under the name Fürth, Grundig & Wurzer. The company was a success and by 1938, had already generated one million Reichsmark in sales.

Post-war success

Grundig really took off at the end of the Second World War. In 1945, he opened a new radio production facility in Fürth. At the time, producing radios was subject to a licence due to strict Allied control across the country. So, Grundig came up with an ingenious idea of selling a build-your-own radio kit that Germans could use at home. The product was marketed as a ‘toy’ called Heinzelmann, and helped cement Grundig’s status as a real innovator.

Next, Grundig expanded his business under the name "Grundig Radio-Werke GmbH". As sales continue to rise, the company became a pioneer in home entertainment electronics. In 1951, Grundig marketed its first portable television set. It was one of the first companies in Europe to do so. By 1979, the company was employing more than 38,000

Electronics goes east

The late 70s brought with it an exciting innovation: the VCR. It also heralded an influx of new competitors into the market from the East, and, in particular Japan. Although European manufacturers like Grundig were producing superior VHS technology, the Japanese VHS eventually won out. The low-cost Japanese manufacturers, backed by global corporations, started to dominate the electronics industry.

A lasting legacy

Although Grundig’s commercial success peaked in the 70s, the brand is still synonymous with innovation and impeccable design. This is evident today across our range of high quality home appliances, with many of our products receiving Red Dot Design awards, such as our No Frost Fridge Freezer. Grundig himself will always be remembered as an energetic entrepreneur who left a legacy of pioneering elegant and efficient design, from beautiful fridge freezers to highly efficient and good looking washing machines.