Four men doing a surgery on another man's leg. Four men doing a surgery on another man's leg.

HARTMANN: Going further for health since 1818

Our founders' stories

The HARTMANN GROUP began life in 1818 when industrial pioneer Ludwig von Hartmann acquired the Meebold spinning mill. His son, the visionary Paul Hartmann Sr. later founded the Paul Hartmann Bleaching, Dyeing and Dressing Company, a dressing material factory that revolutionised wound care. Our founding fathers were more than industrial pioneers. They instilled a drive, optimism and commitment to improving healthcare that lives on in the business to this day.

Thanks to them, we are still innovating, actively seeking to improve healthcare through: wound management, disinfection, risk prevention, incontinence management and personal healthcare.

Who was Ludwig Hartmann?

Ludwig von Hartmann was born in Stuttgart in 1766. By 1791 he was Director of a Heidenheim-based textile factory, Meebold, Schüle and Co. Under his management the company acquired a bleaching company and, in 1812, he built one of the first mechanical cotton mills, the “Aelteste Verbandstoff-Fabrik“ of Germany. Six years later he took over the company, renaming it the Ludwig Hartmann Company. It quickly became one of the largest cotton mills in Germany producing caps, stockings and handkerchiefs. By now Ludwig was one of the most important industrial pioneers in the Kingdom of Württemberg.

Portrait of Ludwig Hartmann senior

From Ludwig Hartmann to Ludwig Hartmann's Sons

In 1843 Ludwig handed over the bleaching plant and the spinning mill to his three sons: Carl, Eduard and Paul Sr. with the request that "two entities remain together and not be separated". Carl assumed responsibility for the management of the bleaching plant. Eduard took over the spinning mill in Herbrechtingen and Paul took charge of the Heidenheim cotton mill. The sons gradually brought the indebted company back to profitability changing its name to Ludwig Hartmann’s Sons.

Historical postcard showing the headquarters as well as different branches and production sites of the PAUL HARTMANN AG.
Three pioneers, one vision

We have been working with medical professionals since day one. Their input has been and continues to be invaluable in helping us innovate and improve our products and services. One notable collaboration was that between Paul Hartmann Sr., Sir Joseph Lister and Professor Victor von Bruns:

Paul Hartmann Senior
Paul Hartmann Sr.

was a rebel with a cause. He went against his father's wishes to stay in business with his brothers. Instead, he used the knowledge and experience he'd gained to forge his own business, the Paul Hartmann Bleaching, Dyeing and Dressing Company. With dedicated partners from the medical field, including Sir Joseph Lister and Victor von Bruns, he created a dressing material company that would change the face of wound care management forever.

Sir Joseph Lister
Sir Joseph Lister

was an English surgeon. Inspired by Louis Pasteur's findings that wound infections were often caused by dangerous airborne microorganisms, he set out to find a solution. After several experiments he discovered that carbolic acid was a suitable disinfecting agent. He began soaking dressings in carbolic acid, creating the first ever antiseptic wound dressing. His invention was initially met with scepticism and rejection in England but Paul Hartmann Sr. recognised his genius. Together they developed the cost-effective carbolated gauze that would later be described as "the greatest turn in the history of surgery".

Professor Victor von Bruns
Professor Victor von Bruns

discovered a way to removing grease from cotton, allowing the material to absorb a much larger amount of liquid. This invention marked a crucial turning point in the history of wound care. It opened the door to absorbent cotton and the subsequent industrial production of cotton wool dressings by Paul Hartmann in 1873.

The first company logo

For the first company logo, Paul Hartmann opted for an adaptation of the Red Cross symbol modified to include the staff of Aesculapiu. It was registered as a trademark in 1883.

HARTMANN historic package

Our brand identity

Our logo has gone through many changes over the years.

HARTMANN history logo 1883 HARTMANN history logo 1883
1883 Created when Paul Hartmann received his first major order; 400 pounds of surgical cotton wool for the St. Jacob's Hospital in Leipzig. It deliberately mirrored the recently established International Red Cross' symbol, associating HARTMANN with humanity.
HARTMANN history logo 1906 HARTMANN history logo 1906
1906 New laws dictated that the International Red Cross had exclusive rights to the coloured cross so HARTMANN changed its cross to white. It retained the Aesculapian staffs, however, to emphasise its medical heritage.
HARTMANN history logo 1920 HARTMANN history logo 1920
1920 A general overhaul of the brand saw the white cross (which had become confused with the Swiss flag) take second place to a red H, the first visual reference to the brand name.
HARTMANN history logo 1938 HARTMANN history logo 1938
1938 The H octagon design was now well established so it could take second place to a blue oval containing either the HARTMANN name with its new slogan "HARTMANN helps healing" or individual product names.
HARTMANN history logo 1968 HARTMANN history logo 1968
1968 The blue oval's role was now shorthand for quality and reliability so there was now a need for a uniform brand identity with just the one word: HARTMANN. As the oval starts to dominate, the octagon also starts to recede although it is still an important part of our identity.
HARTMANN history logo 2008 HARTMANN history logo 2008
2008 To celebrate 190 years of health innovation, HARTMANN revived its 1930s slogan "HARTMANN helps healing".
HARTMANN logo 2015 HARTMANN logo 2015
2015 In 2015 we brought our logo to life by adding a 3D effect. This was done to make it more graphically flexible on different backgrounds and media.
Discover the values that define who we are as a business

We believe our three core values will drive us to go further for health: passion, partnership and professionalism.

Nurse hugging a female patient, which is lying in her hospital bed – both are smiling.