The company was founded in 1948 by Herbert Kannegiesser Dipl. Eng. who worked in the aircraft industry until the end of the war. In a wooden shed near Vlotho he and four employees started the production of ironing machines for the garment industry, which at that time was one of the major industries in East Westphalia. Ironing presses for dress shirts became the speciality of the young company and established its international reputation.
Wherever in the world dress shirts were machine ironed, from Hong Kong to Brazil, from Russia to South Africa, a Kannegiesser machine was in operation. Over decades, the company position in this market niche came close to that of a monopoly. Irma Kannegiesser, the wife of the company founder, laid the foundation for the worldwide agency network.
From 1950 specially developed shirt presses swept the laundry market and were confronted with already established brands, such as Kleindienst, Brown, Ajax or Prosperity. The involvement in the garment industry on the one hand, and the laundry businesses on the other have left their imprint on the further development of the company.
Following a rapid growth to a 25 million DM sales figure and 180 employees in 1961, the shirt market unexpectedly collapsed on a worldwide scale, both in laundry and in the garment industry. The company faced its first crisis in the 60's.
The consequences drawn from this situation included the extension of the production range. For the garment industry, Kannegiesser became the pioneer in fusing technology, and for decades the brand Kannegiesser was a synonym for "fusing machines" in many countries, such as the USA: those who talked of their Kannegiesser meant their fusing machine.
But also the product range for the laundry industry was subject to a systematic expansion, and Kannegiesser evolved into the finishing specialist for modern laundries.
In 1970 the company founder, Herbert Kannegiesser, was struck by a serious illness which led him to assign the company management to his son Martin, 27 years old at that time, who became the company owner after the early death of his father in 1974. His mother Irma remained active in the company until 1980 and has continued to take part in it with a great deal of interest and commitment ever since.
The internationalisation of the company was consequently continued and the product ranges enlarged.
Again and again Kannegiesser devoted itself to the concept of complete system solutions. This approach started in 1978 with the so-called garment lines with their core machine, the tunnel finisher. Kannegiesser was able to gain an unrivalled leading position in Europe in this sector.
In 1983 Kannegiesser presented the "Ironer line from one source" and started a development which ended the concept of one manufacturer supplying the ironer and another manufacturer the other complementary equipment.
As the structural and technological changes in laundries became fiercer, Kannegiesser eventually made the decision to regard laundries as a complete system and, accordingly, to follow the path of developing and offering a harmonised complete range of machinery for the industrial laundry.
In 1990 - following the reunification of the two Germanies - an effective ironer production was developed backed by the immense fund of know-how of the former company Textima in Aue / Saxony, today's group member Kannegiesser Aue GmbH.
In 1996 Kleindienst Wäschereitechnik GmbH in Augsburg was acquired and restructured into a highly productive manufacturing plant, specialising in the transport and conveying sector.
The purchase of Passat and Pharmagg in 1998 represented the decisive step into the so-called wetwork area.
Since that time, Kannegiesser has been a manufacturer of the full range of industrial laundry machinery, able to offer a complete range for all individual laundry processes.
Passat was founded in 1949 and is deemed as a pioneer of modern drying and water extracting technology. In the 70's, Passat took over the successful tunnel washer manufacturers Poensgen and Voss - no other manufacturer in the world installed more batch washer systems than Passat - so this company was the unrivalled No. 1 with its pace-making batch washer lines Archimedia and Poensgen PWZ.