The history of GICS Leuchten GmbH begins in 1853 with the opening of a locksmith’s shop by Carl-Josef Schneider, a master locksmith from Blankenau and great-grandfather of our former managing director, Mr. Schütte, who managed the company until 2005. On his travels, the craftsman and master locksmith Carl-Josef Schneider came to Hamm in 1852. He worked for 1 year in a local workshop as a journeyman locksmith and blacksmith, before he married in 1853 and opened his own workshop.
In this year Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) was born.
The USA bought the territory of today’s states of New Mexico and Arizona from the Mexicans.
Without equity capital and with only a few tools, a small workshop was rented in a backyard. Initially, grilles for doors and windows were manufactured, installations of all kinds were carried out and repair work was carried out. In 1858 a gas station was built in Hamm to convert the existing street lighting, which consisted of oil lamps on wooden piles, to gas operation. The company commissioned the master locksmith Schneider to install the pipe systems. As a Berlin company, which at that time was the only company in Berlin producing gas lanterns, was not able to deliver street lamps on time, the Schneider company took the place of the company and has been manufacturing 4- and 6-point street lamps since 1876.
In the same year, Graham Bell invented the first useful telephone.
Nikolaus Otto invented the four-stroke engine and Sigmund Freud was born.
Sioux chief “Sitting Bull” defeats General Custer and the 7th cavalry in the battle of the “Little Big Horn”.
During this time, gas companies were established all over Germany and the demand for gas street lights grew continuously. The first experiments and demonstrations with electric lighting were also demonstrated. Werner von Siemens wrote in a letter in 1878:
“Gas has a great advantage over electric light in its convenience and easy and safe application. When the cable is connected, one can always have light everywhere and it is pretty sure that it will not go out. You don’t need any machines to produce it outside the gas station and you only pay for what you burn. I doubt that the electric light will ever offer the same convenience.”
From the marriage of Carl-Josef Schneider and his wife Caroline the sons Josef Schneider (II) born in 1855 and Karl Schneider (II) born in 1858 were taken over from the company. These two sons took over the company from their father.
Since the Schneider lanterns were appreciated and sought-after, not only in many German cities, but also from London, Constantinople, etc. came orders for the production of gas lanterns, the two brothers decided to register the company in 1886 under the name of Gebrüder J. & C. Schneider in the commercial register under the name of Gebrüder J. & C. Schneider. (HA 15)
This year, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz designed and patented the first gasoline engine powered car. In New York, the Statue of Liberty was inaugurated, and Philips is only founded in five years. On 8 May 1886, the pharmacist John Pemberton invented the Coca-Cola syrup in Atlanta.
The company was constantly expanded and enlarged. Not only did they produce gas lamps, but they also operated a department for gas, heating and water installations. The original catalogues from 1903 show that the model “Ritter”, our lamp #501, was produced in different variations and exported to the Netherlands.
When Karl Schneider (II) died in 1905, his widow remained co-owner. In the meantime two sons of Josef Schneider (II) had grown up, of which the older Josef Schneider (III), born in 1888, took over the management of the company in 1888 and the 1 year younger son Carl Schneider (III), born in 1889, took over the commercial management of the company.
On 14 April this year the Titanic sank after a collision with an iceberg and on 13 June 1912 King Ludwig II drowned in the Starnberg lake
The company was further expanded and in the course of the strong electrification in Europe, fittings and reflectors for electric lighting were introduced into production in 1913. In the meantime, gas and electric luminaires have been delivered to Milan, Venice, Naples, The Hague, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Budapest, Prague, etc. Enamelled bowls were mainly exported to Africa and South America.
In 1919, the company was divided into a lighting and heating systems and installations division. The widow Karl Schneiders (II) took over the heating and installation business and Josef Schneider (II) took over the lighting company with his sons Josef (III) and Carl (III). In 1929 the heating company went bankrupt. Josef Schneider (III) married in 1921, and from this marriage four children emerged. Carl Schneider (III) remained childless.
In 1925 the logo “GICS” was introduced as a logo for the lighting company. The increasing demands from all over the world made it necessary to expand again, and so the present building complex at the harbour was built in 1935.
Benno Schütte was born on 18.01.1932. He is the son of Christine Schneider, a daughter of Josef Schneider (II), who married the teacher Heinrich Schütte. After his engineering studies he joined the company in 1955 and since 1976 he has been managing it independently.
Even today, GICS lanterns are still delivered to all over the world. In 2000,18 GICS poles #812 and GICS lanterns #515 were delivered to Glendale in California for Walt Disney Imagineering. The lights were shipped from California to Tokyo and are now on display at the new Disney-Park American Waterfront in Tokyo.
In the course of the departure of our long-standing managing director, Mr. Benno Schütte, the company was transformed in 2005 from Gebrüder J. & C. Schneider KG into GICS Leuchten GmbH. Dieter Piper is the new managing partner. He has taken over the company and continues to lead it in its long history.
In 2006, GICS Leuchten GmbH took part in the project “Ökoprofit” of the city of Hamm and significantly improved the company’s environmental balance sheet.
In 2007 our managing director, Mr. Dieter Piper, was awarded the Founders’ Prize of the Dortmund Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Hamm, December 2017