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Company History

It began when Emil Hörster (left) established a photographer's studio in Marienberg/Westerwald on 1 March 1919. By and by, a store for office supplies, paper and stationery and a printing house were added.

In these beginning stages, folders were already being produced in the printing house under the name of Wäller. "Wäller" is the local dialect term for the Westerwald area and its inhabitants. Emil Hörster was very attached to his home region, and during the 1920's he also developed our logo, which we still use in an almost unmodified form today. It stands for our quality products from the Westerwald.


In 1928 the production and administration were moved to Frankfurt/Main, where card files became the main product. The company address was on Taunus Street – a central location – while the production was located outside in Hattersheim. The legal headquarters, however, remained in Marienberg. Business was running well with over 50 employees. The card files were mostly exported to Spain. Soon, however, Spain was plagued by turmoil and riots, resulting in the refusal of large deliveries by customers. In 1930 the production in Frankfurt was forced to close.



Emil Hörster started all over again in Marienberg and developed a novel suspension filing system during the 1930's, which attracted great attention in expert circles. In 1938 the Wäller filing system was shown for the first time at the Leipzig Trade Fair, the most significant German exhibition in those days. Demand was great and our company received many orders, which led Emil Hörster to acquire a larger factory in Marienberg in 1939. The move took place on 1 September 1939 – the first day of World War II. Little by little production halted due to the war. Finally the building was destroyed by a fire in 1945.

After his release from war captivity, Emil Hörster's son Manfred (left) took over the company in 1948. Over the course of several years, he rebuilt the burnt-out factory. At first there were only ten employees. Although his means were quite limited, Manfred Hörster had the energetic support of his wife Ruth. Soon new developments set the course for the future:


  1. In 1952 the Wäller filing system was exhibited for the first time at the Hannover Fair, and Manfred Hörster found many business partners there who attend to our interests independently as Wäller distributors with their own sales territories. This sales network remains in use until today.

  2. In 1954 Manfred Hörster invented and patented the carousel cabinet. It was shown for the first time at the Hannover Fair – with overwhelming success. The bottom picture shows Ruth Hörster demonstrating a cabinet to fair visitors.


From then on we steadily gained ground. Manfred Hörster was awarded the gold medal for his invention of the carousel cabinet at the 1959 inventor's fair in Brussels. Following this award, the cabinet was recognised in 1964 as an economically valuable invention by the Ministry of Finance and Reconstruction of our state, Rhineland-Palatinate. 

During these stormy times of business expansion, Manfred Hörster formed many relationships with important policymakers. The right-hand picture shows him talking with German chancellor Ludwig Erhard.  

For important business trips, Manfred Hörster used a chartered plane. He progressively developed exports. France in particular became an important market (2nd picture from the left). 

As early as the 1960's we also exported to our socialist neighbour countries in the East. The right-hand picture shoes Czech party leader Dubcek at our booth during the "Prague Spring".


By now the facilities in Marienberg were becoming more and more cramped due to the continuous rise in sales. After exhausting all possibilities for expansion, the production and administration were moved to a newly built, modern building in Hahn/Westerwald in 1969.
On 12 December 1969 a ceremony was held with all staff and friends of the house to celebrate the new opening as well as the company's fiftieth anniversary. 



On 1 March 1979 Wolfgang Hörster entered the company to support his father. In 1984 the business, previously a sole proprietorship, was converted to a limited liability company, and Manfred Hörster transferred its exclusive management to his son. Export was expanded beyond Europe, with the Wäller products making the Westerwald region famous in many countries.



The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 provided unexpected new expansion possibilities, and we exhibited at the Leipzig Trade Fair in September 1990 (left). This helped to find business partners and establish distributors in the new German states and Eastern European countries.



The Wäller filing system's exceptional efficiency has made us thousands of satisfied customers both locally and abroad. New clients are constantly being added by means of the internet. Since 2006 we also manufacture other files and folders besides Wäller (for more information please visit  www.hoerster.net). 

We're convinced that paper will continue to be an important storage medium in the future.