Standards since 1895


Hanns Hörbiger in the engineering office

Hanns Hörbiger, inventor and pioneer

In 1895, the steel plate valve invented by Hanns Hörbiger was patented. The valve plate opens when the gas pressure is high enough, and closes as long as the spring pressure is higher than the gas pressure.

The HOERBIGER steel plate valve enormously improved the performance of compressors used in steel production, making production much more reliable and efficient than anyone would have considered possible at that time.

The HOERBIGER steel plate valve not only enabled the advancement of blast furnace technology, but also paved the way for the invention of modern high-pressure chemistry. This made it one of the key technologies for industrial development at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1900, Hanns Hörbiger, together with the engineer Friedrich Wilhelm Rogler, founded an engineering office in Budapest. This office was relocated to Vienna in 1903. In the years thereafter, Hanns Hörbiger devoted himself to continually enhancing the steel plate valve he had invented. His office issued licenses for use of the technology to business partners domestically and abroad. In 1925, the engineering office became HOERBIGER & Co. trading company, headquartered in Vienna.

Alfred and Martina Hörbiger

In 1931, Alfred Hörbiger, the second-eldest son of the company’s founder, started the in-house production of valves in Vienna-Simmering. Between 1925 and 1945, a total of 171 patents were granted to HOERBIGER & Co. for inventions and developments in the field of compressor valves and controls. After the destruction of the Vienna production plant during the last year of the Second World War, and the sudden passing of Alfred Hörbiger, his wife Martina Hörbiger, who also worked in the company, managed to rebuild the plant.

The company’s product range, which until then primarily comprised compressor valves and controllers, was expanded by new business segments based on core competencies in the fields of fluid technology and stamping technology. Initially, HOERBIGER was active in the pneumatics field. Just a short time later, it established new plants in Germany – in Schongau and neighboring Penzberg – for the production of steel disks for passenger car automatic transmissions as well as for friction linings and friction disks for use in power-shift transmissions for construction machines and tractors. The Pneumatics Division was then supplemented with the hydraulics segment.

Hanns and Alfred Hörbiger
Martina Hörbiger speaking with employees

Reconstruction and globalization

Even before the Second World War, HOERBIGER sales branches were established in Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain. In 1947 Martina Hörbiger resumed international business relations, first within Europe, then later in the Americas, Africa and Asia.

By the end of the 1950s, HOERBIGER had built its own distribution system in North America, followed in 1963 by the founding of HOERBIGER Corporation of America and the development of a production operation. In 1970, HOERBIGER Nippon K.K. in Japan was founded, and initial contacts were established with Taiwan, Korea, and China.

Based on its compressor valve development and production expertise, in 1971 HOERBIGER decided to systematically build a worldwide network of service entities for the maintenance and repair of reciprocating compressors. This put the company clearly ahead of the competition.

On the way to the Group

August 1989: Martina Hörbiger, owner of the group of companies, died at the age of 87. She bequeathed the challenge of not only continuing business operations consistent with her spirit, but also realigning the corporate structure – which in the years prior was centered predominantly around her – to the new management team, which she had appointed prior to her passing together with the Board of Trustees of the HOERBIGER Foundation.

The group of companies was incrementally reorganized after 1992. Having previously been regionally organized in a variety of individual entities, business activities were assigned to the three newly formed Strategic Business Units: Compression Technology, Automation Technology, and Drive Technology. At the same time, the oil, gas and process industries, the mechanical and plant engineering industry, and the automotive industry were defined as strategic business segments.

Consistent with the Articles of Incorporation of the Foundation, the HOERBIGER Foundation protects the entrepreneurial heritage of the HOERBIGER Group, and ensures stability, self-reliance, and a future-oriented growth strategy.

HOERBIGER Board of Trustees

(from left to right): Dr. Andreas Hünerwadel, Egbert Appel, Christiana Hörbiger, Dr. Rudolf Huber, Dr. Martin Komischke