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.
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 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.
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.
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.