Aerial view company premises
The origins of today’s Calbe Chemie GmbH date back to the time before World War 1, when Calbe an der Saale became the site for a plant for the production of gelatine. On the one hand, a growing demand for the emerging food industry was to be met at that time, and on the other hand, a new sales market arose for the Calbe gelatine plant after the then largest film factory in Europe went into operation in nearby Wolfen in 1910.
The rapidly growing demand for photographic emulsions with gelatin – first for glass plates and later also for films and photographic papers – ensured growth and constant expansion of the Calbe plant.
In the post-war period, gelatine continued to be produced in Calbe from 1945 until 1991. The main customer was VEB Filmfabrik Wolfen, which had been reorganized in the course of the economic and political division of Germany.
The year 1964 brought significant changes when the production of photographic chemicals of the national brand ORWO (Original Wolfen) was started.
Until 1990, VEB Gelatinewerk Calbe, as a combine of Fotochemisches Kombinat Wolfen, produced a comprehensive range of b/w and color chemicals under the ORWO trademark and distributed them worldwide.
After the political turnaround in 1990 and unsuccessful privatization attempts by the Treuhandanstalt Berlin, Gelatinewerk Calbe GmbH went into insolvency in 1991. From the insolvency estate, only the production area of processing chemicals was privatized, and the production facilities for gelatine were demolished. With the foundation of Calbe Fotochemie GmbH, production facilities were renewed and focused on the production of modern imaging chemicals for commercial customers in the segments Photo, X-Ray and PrePress, chemicals of the brand Calbe Chemie as well as contract manufacturing for OEM customers.
Against the background of changes in the market, in particular due to the progressive conversion to digital imaging processes, Calbe Chemie already set up additional production facilities in 2002 for the contract manufacturing of chemical products, among others for aquaristics, water treatment and agricultural technology, from liquid products to powders and granules to tablets. This was accompanied by a realignment of the business, and for this reason, among others, the company was renamed Calbe Chemie GmbH in 2005.