From a garage to a global market leader: the couple who founded igus celebrate their 90th birthdays

Together, Günter and Margret Blase laid the foundation for a motion plastics breakthrough in industry in 1964

In 1964, they founded igus in their back yard garage in Cologne-Mülheim. In 2021, the internationally active company supplies customers all over the world with its lubrication-free and maintenance-free motion plastics. On the occasion of the founders’ 90th birthday, igus is bringing that garage back to life.

When Günter Blase drives to igus on his 90th birthday, as he does on many days of the year, the company founder can currently see the construction progress of the new company building on the B8. The new building is being erected next to the headquarters in Cologne Porz-Lind and can be identified from a long ways off by its signature yellow pylons. This is where igus GmbH develops and produces motion plastics – high-performance plastics for moving applications. The tribo-polymers are being used all over the world to make moving parts lubrication-free, quiet and lightweight – on theatre stages and in mountain bikes and office furniture, in offshore drilling rigs, crane systems, ships and space rockets. In 1965, a year after the founding, none of this was imaginable when the first motion plastics were developed in a 55-square-metre garage in Cologne-Mülheim. Blase had recognised the potential of plastic early on and realised that injection moulding could be the key to rationalisation in industry. So, after eight years of a steady job at a company in the plastics industry, he decided to strike out on his own. His wife, Margret, who also celebrated her 90th birthday this April, supported his decision. As an independent tax advisory agent, she also assumed responsibility for the new company’s accounting and finances while her husband focused on production. For six years, igus manufactured motion plastics from the garage as a simple contract manufacturer for a few industrial customers.

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