100 years of accessories history
What began in 1923 with the production of photo accessories and the packaging of photo chemicals, and was later supplemented by a laboratory equipment wholesaler, continues to change the world of accessories to this day. In its anniversary year 2023, Hama has around 18,000 products in its range.
Europe's No. 1 accessories supplier starts out as a one-man business
In 1923, Hanke Martin, only 18 years old and a trained photographer, founded Hamaphot KG in his parents' flat in Dresden. He focuses on the manufacture of photographic and recording accessories and the wholesale of laboratory equipment. In 1932, the company moves into its first independent premises. In 1939, the Second World War begins and all five young men of the twelve-strong Hamaphot workforce are drafted into the Wehrmacht, including the company founder, in 1940. Nevertheless, operations continue until the air raid on 13 February 1945 which reduces the building to rubble.
1945 – The end becomes a new beginning
At the beginning of May 1945, Martin Hanke was taken prisoner of war by the Americans. By the end of May 1945, he was already released to Monheim in Bavaria, which was in the American occupation zone. Martin Hanke quickly recognised the opportunity to build a new existence in Bavaria and allowed his wife and their four children to join him from the Soviet zone at adventurous risk. In 1946, Hanke obtained a business licence in Monheim, where the business enabled him to take on employees before the currency reform in 1948.
In the decades to come, the global company Hama develops, which in its anniversary year of 2023 will have around 18,000 products in its range and 2500 employees worldwide, 1500 of them at its headquarters in Monheim.
Under adventurous circumstances, Martin Hanke's wife and children arrived in Monheim, Bavaria, in 1945.
In 1950, Hama was present at the first photokina, until 2018 the world's leading trade fair for the photo, video and imaging industry, in Cologne and exhibited picture frames, laboratory accessories, slide boxes and the powder flash.
From Hamaphot KG to Hama GmbH & Co KG
The development from a one-man business to a global company can also be seen in the change of name in 1993, when Hamaphot KG becomes Hama GmbH & Co KG. The growth can also be seen in the chronology of the company buildings. With the founding of the first subsidiary in France in 1985, Hama also becomes more international.
The new start in Monheim, Bavaria, begins in 1945 in a barn.
In 1948, the company rents its own office space for the first time.
The first independent factory building is occupied in 1953.
In 1973, new buildings are erected in Dresdner Straße.
Adolf Thomas and Rudolph Hanke supervise the construction work for the extension in Dresdner Straße in 1979.
The building complex in Dresdner Straße is still used for distribution.
Logistics centre – goods outwards building
Logistics centre – goods inwards building
The family business becomes a foundation group
Hama has been a family business since 1923. After the death of the founder, son Rudolph Hanke and son-in-law Adolf Thomas take over the management, which is joined in 1987 by the founder's grandson Christoph Thomas. In September 2015, the shareholders contribute their shares in "Hama Hamaphot Hanke & Thomas GmbH & Co KG" to the "Adolf and Christoph Thomas Foundation" and the "Martin and Rudolph Hanke Foundation". The motivation for this was the conviction that a company is not a property, but a task. The founders see the implementation of this task over the generations best and most sustainably ensured through the foundations.
Martin Hanke led Hama from its foundation in 1923 until his death in 1958.
After the death of Martin Hanke, Rudolph Hanke and Adolf Thomas took over the management in 1959.
Authorised signatory Wolfgang Nothnagel (1966 to 1990) and managing director Hans Seidl (1981 to 2007) actively contributed to Hama's success and growth over decades. The same goes for Paul Eßmann (1977 to 2013), who founded the product management team at Hama, which now has over 120 members, and led it for over three decades.
Christoph Thomas joins the company in 1987 and becomes a member of the Executive Board in 1993.
In February 2002, Hama GmbH & Co KG mourned the death of its senior boss Adolf Thomas.
In 2015, the partners Christoph Thomas, Elena Hanke, Rudolph Hanke and Oliver Hanke contributed their company shares to foundations.
On his 80th birthday on 28 November 2017, Rudolph Hanke announced his retirement from active business life.
2020 Christian Sokcevic is appointed Managing Director of Hama GmbH & Co KG. He manages the company together with Christoph Thomas, Chairman of the Executive Board.
The 2023 Executive Team: Thomas Kopp, Roland Handschiegel, Christoph Thomas, Jörg Hempen, Maximilian Bartl, Christian Seel-Mayer and Christian Sokcevic.
More than just photo accessories – the ranges move with the times
Since 1923, Hama's intention has been to enrich people's lives with practical products. What started with classic photo accessories and developed further via slide, cine film and VHS video accessories in the direction of consumer electronics, telecommunications and computers, has become increasingly diverse and has long since spanned all sectors.
Not only with groundbreaking products, but above all by continuously expanding its product range, Hama always stays at the cutting edge.
Hama has been selling photo products such as tripods and ball joints since 1923. In 1948, the first synchronised powder flash unit was launched, and in 1979 the revolutionary slide framing system "Hamafix". Bags, tripods, albums and picture frames, manufactured in-house until 2021 and for over 20 years, are now just as much part of the photo range as accessories for smartphone photography.
In 1978 Hama added the first cables to its range and the step towards audio and video ranges is taken. The "Videocut 200" developed and produced by Hama is presented at the IFA in Berlin in 1991 and is the best-selling video editing device in Europe just a short time later.
At the beginning of the 90s, Hama entered the computer sector, selling mice, keyboards and storage media, for example. PCs, laptops and even tablets have long been part of everyday private and business life and with them headsets, microphones, webcams, docking stations or stylish notebook cases from Hama.
Mobile phones become mass-market in the 90s. Hama has been involved from the very beginning and introduced the MobilSafe hands-free kit at CeBIT 1995. The mobile phone has become the smartphone. It is always with you, you make phone calls, listen to music, get information, send messages, take pictures and videos or check appointments. Chargers, display protectors, holders, cases or headsets from Hama complement this all-rounder perfectly.
TV accessories are always in demand and wide-ranging. Connection cables, aerials, remote controls or holders in different variants. The first flat-screen TVs came onto the market in 1999, which meant that the range of wall mounts picked up speed. Easy to install, as flat as possible, flexibly adjustable or with a long extension, the possibilities are as varied as the areas of application.
Consumer electronics is becoming a term that unites many media and always moves with the times. Video, TV, computer, audio, the industries are growing together more and more and bringing with them overlapping product ranges. Audio is a big component and scores with digital radios, headphones or speakers.
In 2018, Hama added the first fitness tracker to its range. This area is evolving, getting bigger and becoming an important part of digital accessory products. Hama fitness watches accompany users during sports and, thanks to lifestyle features, also in everyday life and are impressive both from a technical and fashion perspective.
With smart home products from Hama, comfort, security and efficiency move in. The digitally networked home is easy to operate, makes everyday life easier and saves electricity and heating energy. Sockets, lamps, webcams or even the heating are automated and controlled via app or voice.
100 years of company history are marked by numerous products that reflect the respective spirit of the times and contribute to the success of the company.
The PBS (paper, office and school) division started in 1996 with, among other things, school satchels for children starting school. This quickly developed into an independent sales branch around Hama's own brands Step by Step, Coocazoo and eoto. The other own brands uRage for gaming, Xavax for household accessories and the premium cable brand Avinity complete Hama's wide overall range.