Courage to change
Crespel & Deiters and global events…
Shoe production at Salamander circa 1910
At the beginning of the 20th century, people still placed great value on the quality of their clothing. Especially because they were not so quick to throw things away or change them as we are today. Back then, people kept their shoes, dresses, shirts and trousers for a long time. In 1920, Salamander was a popular high quality German brand. The shoes with the cute amphibian logo were manufactured in a modern shoe factory in Kornwestheim. They were glued using cobblers’ glue made by Crespel & Deiters.
The story of how Crespel & Deiters got involved in shoes began back in 1865. Because of the economic impacts of the raw materials market – customs duties had sent wheat prices sky-high in some parts – Crespel & Deiters extracted starch from potatoes as well as wheat. But it is was not only Joseph Deiters who favoured the golden grain. Starch extracted from wheat is also far more versatile. The decision was taken in favour of wheat: In 1865, Crespel & Deiters shifted its starch production fully to wheat starch, flying completely in the face of the general trend towards potato.
Tapping new markets
Crespel & Deiters textiles customer: Mechanische Weberei Gebr. Laurenz
Joseph Deiters’ strategy on the up. With its high-grade wheat starch, the group was now able to tap new markets and specialised in starch production for technical purposes. The textiles and shoe industry began to take notice of the starch factory in Ibbenbüren. Crespel & Deiters from then began to develop and make products for the refinement of fabrics, which the manufacturing companies could rely on 100%. That was particularly important because at the time, textiles factories could impose high compensation claims on the finishing companies if the fabrics could not be further processed to perfection. Crespel & Deiters’ high quality wheat starch products guaranteed an optimum end result for all parties.
Gluing shoe shafts and back flaps with Crespel & Deiters cobblers’ glue
The cobblers’ glue started life as a niche product, but it’s high quality meant it was soon in big demand. It was manufactured from the gluten that results from wheat starch production. For the emerging shoe industry at the end of the 19th century, Crespel & Deiters refined the gluten to produce Vienna Glue, or as the workers called it: cobblers’ paste. The glue was also the first time the company has diversified its products. In addition to wheat starch, the glue now gave Crespel & Deiters another strategic product with relatively high added value that was in strong demand not just in the heartlands of the German shoe industry, but in Switzerland and Russia too.
Surviving the war
1914 marked the start of some difficult years for Germany. When World War I broke out, it was initially welcomed with patriotic passion, but throughout the duration of the war the full extent German policy’s lack of preparation for the emergency was revealed. The country’s food supplies collapsed.
A dramatic slump in production by German companies triggered an economy of thrift and emergency measures. Crespel & Deiters was also affected. The complete lack of wheat flour as a result of the war, and the deployment of business owners to the front meant business operations ceased for a long period.
During this time, the company looked after the relatives of those of its employees deployed to the front. Although production ceased, Crespel & Deiters supported the staff’s families and helped many of them out of their dire straits.