From the past to the present

A century of inventiveness, drive and success

The success story of today’s international Goldschmidt Group begins in 1895 with the invention of the Thermit® process by the chemist and pioneer of the railroad, Professor Hans Goldschmidt. He had succeeded in making the reduction of metal oxides with aluminum powder technically applicable.

Hans Goldschmidt (1861-1923) is the second son of Theodor Goldschmidt and Johanna Sophie Luise Goldschmidt (born Koner). He went to high school in Altenburg and studied chemistry from 1882, first in Berlin and then, like his older brother Karl Goldschmidt, at the University of Heidelberg, where he received his doctorate in 1886. After completing his doctorate, he took over the management of the father’s company “Chemische Fabrik Th. Goldschmidt”. The Thermit® process he developed in 1895, which made it possible to easily produce carbon-free metals such as iron, chromium and manganese, is still considered a standard procedure for welding railway and tram rails that is unsurpassed in quality worldwide.

© M. Nies/Agentur Format78 GmbH


Epochs in the history of Goldschmidt

The early years (1847 to 1900)


Theodor Goldschmidt establishes the “Chemische Fabrik Th. Goldschmidt” in Berlin, Germany. Initially, the factory mainly supplied preliminary products for textile processing, including preparation salt, dextrin, chlorinated lime, tin salt and chlorine tin. The main customer was the Kattun printing company R. Goldschmidt & Sons, relatives of Theodor Goldschmidt.

Chemical factory Th. Goldschmidt, Berlin plant, general view, 1870s


The company founder Theodor Goldschmidt passes away.


After receiving his PhD in chemistry Karl Goldschmidt takes on sole management responsibility for the time being of the Chemische Fabrik Th. Goldschmidt company.


For about 30 years the brothers Karl and Hans Goldschmidt share responsibility for the company – Karl Goldschmidt as entrepreneur and politician with a social conscience and Hans Goldschmidt as a chemist who promotes technical development.


Relocation of the “Chemische Fabrik Th. Goldschmidt” to Essen, Germany.


The imperial patent no. 96317 marks the start of a real success story. Prof. Hans Goldschmidt develops the aluminothermic process – the basis for the Thermit® process for the continuous welding of railway tracks.


Implementation of a company health insurance fund.


Implementation of a staff pension fund.


Goldschmidt is awarded the first patent in the area of track welding with patent DRP 116400 for aluminothermic butt welding.

The first track welds with Thermit® are made for the Essen tramways.

From 1899 the Thermit® business became the second pillar of the Goldschmidt company after tinplate removal. It made a lasting contribution to the internationalization of the company because the welding business was always carried out globally “on site”.


The “Allgemeine Thermit-Gesellschaft” company is founded to market the Thermit® process.

Registration of the THERMIT® trademark.


The “Allgemeine Thermit-Gesellschaft” company has its own generous exhibition pavilion at the famous Düsseldorf industrial and commercial exhibition. The company receives a gold medal for the aluminothermic process.


Foundation of Thermit Ltd. in London, Great Britain and Goldschmidt Thermit Co. in New York, USA.

The first track welds with Thermit® are made on the Hungarian state railway in Budapest. These represent the first known welds carried out on railway tracks.

Goldschmidt AG, welding of tram rails in Berlin, before 1914


Société Anonyme de l‘Aluminothermit founded in Paris, France, with C. Delachaux as the first managing director.

In Jersey City, USA, Goldschmidt Thermit Co. sets up a factory to produce welding materials.


Registration of the first graphic symbol for Thermit® in Germany.


Australian Thermit Co. founded in Sydney, Australia.

In Tokyo, Japan grooved rails used for trams are welded with the Thermit® process.


The Chemische Fabrik Th. Goldschmidt becomes a joint stock company (AG).


On the Seetalbahn tramway in Switzerland, a longer section of track with a length of about 1,000 m is welded for the first time. The welds prove a success and even in 1924 the welds still show no signs of wear.


After the end of World War I, all of the companies abroad are lost.


Elektro-Thermit GmbH founded in Berlin, Germany.


Elektro Thermit GmbH is now completely owned by the Th. Goldschmidt AG company and the company is now based in the Colditzstraße in Berlin-Tempelhof.

The Chemische Fabrik Buckau AG company is acquired and through this also the plant in Halle Ammendorf, Germany.


Theo Goldschmidt takes over the position of Chairman of the Board of the Goldschmidt AG from his father Karl Goldschmidt.


Establishment of switch construction by Elektro Thermit GmbH, which ended in 1989.


The Deutsche Reichsbahn approves the Thermit® welding process as a standard welding process for track.

Th. Goldschmidt AG acquires an interest in Elektro-Schweißwerk Ing. P.C. Wagner in Vienna, Austria to make the first Thermit® foreign investment  after World War I.

Chemical factory Th. Goldschmidt, Thermit® welding in Berlin, 1930s


For the first time, railway tracks over a length of 1 km are continuously welded using the Thermit® welding process. This is the way to the continuously welded track of today.


In Argentina the Roca railway line is the first railway in South America where railway track is welded using the Thermit® welding process.


The Thermit® facility in Essen is mainly destroyed in a bombing raid. To compensate for this in November of the year a new Thermit® production facility is opened in Halle Ammendorf, Germany.


From 1945 the Thermit® welding process becomes the standard welding process for the tracks of nearly all railway organizations worldwide.


The plant at Halle Ammendorf in the Soviet occupied area of Germany is impounded by the authorities along with all of its Thermit® production.


The Elektro-Thermit GmbH company is founded in Essen, West Germany. The existing Elektro-Thermit GmbH company in Berlin from now on concentrates exclusively on switch production and the business of rail welding in Berlin.

Thermit® brochure from Elektro-Thermit Essen GmbH, 1949


The Goldschmidt AG acquires an interest in Thermit Italiana in Milan, Italy.

The Thermit® process is used for the first time in Brazil within the scope of a license contract with Monas Ltda in Rio de Janeiro.


Goldschmidt AG participates in the founding of India Thermit Corp., India.


Goldschmidt AG participates in the founding of Thermit do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro.

A subsidiary of Elektro-Thermit GmbH is founded in in Vienna, Austria.


The Elektro Thermit GmbH exhibits at the groundbreaking trade fair “Rail and road” in Munich.

E.T. Argentina is founded in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Patent for the Ellira® welding repair process.


Elektro-Thermit GmbH has a spectacular mission in Berlin: On November 22nd the annealed steel dome of the Berlin Reichstag building is welded through with Thermit® charges, which then falls into the former (and current) plenary hall. A conventional demolition would have caused irreparable damage to the old building.


Patent for the SmW fast Thermit® welding process.

Bag wit Thermit® welding compound, 1956


The fast Thermit® welding process SmW becomes the standard welding process on the German railways.


Thermit Welding founded in Rainham, United Kingdom.

E.T. Mexicana founded in Mexico.


Full acquisition of E.T. Argentina.

Merger of P.C. Wagner KG and branch office of Elektro-Thermit GmbH to become P.C. Wagner Elektrothermit Schweißgesellschaft, Vienna, Austria.

Since 1945 approximately 19,900 km of rails have been joined using Thermit® welding around the world.


Introduction of the Thermit® SoW welding process.


Orgotherm (for Original Goldschmidt Thermit), Inc. founded in Chicago, USA.

Booth of Elektro-Thermit GmbH Essen at the traffic exhibition in Zagreb, 1969


Patent issued for the MT insulated joints. In the same year the hydraulic weld trimmer is introduced.


Patent for the Thermit® SkV welding process and Eteka5® welding repair process.


The Thermit® SkV welding process becomes the standard welding process with the Deutsche Bundesbahn and many other railway organizations worldwide.


After reacquisition of the Thermit® brand rights in the USA and the acquisition of Thermex Metallurgical Inc. including all existing production locations, US Thermit Inc. is founded in Lakehurst, USA. For the time being Orgotherm Inc. remains independent.


Acquisition of Thermitrex in Johannesburg, South Africa by Thermit Welding.


The separate Thermit® companies in Essen and Berlin are given a single management.


Patent of the Riflex® welding repair process.


In January, after a construction process of 18 months, the completely renovated production facility at Lakehurst starts operation.


Introduction of the ATS-ER automatic tapping thimble.


Complete takeover of Orgotherm Inc.

In Brazil a new Thermit® production facility starts operation.


Orgotherm Inc. merges with US Thermit Inc. to become Orgo-Thermit Inc.


Thermit Australia is founded.

Thermit Australia acquires the existing Thermit® business of Steel Mains Ltd. which goes back to the Goldschmidt company founded in Australia in 1909.

Elektro-Thermit GmbH, advertisement for arc welding, 1980s


Complete acquisition of the Thermit Italiana and Thermit Welding.


OSG Oberbau Schweißgesellschaft (OSG) founded in Halle (Saale), Germany which on January 1, 1991 takes over and continues the existing Amotherm operations of the former VEB Plastwerke starting with 56 employees.


Complete takeover of Thermit do Brasil.


Form-Thermit founded in Brno, Czech Republic as a subsidiary of P.C. Wagner.


MÀV-Thermit founded in Budapest, Hungary as a subsidiary of P.C. Wagner.

Sale of E.T. Argentina to the Oppizzi family.

Acquisition of Railway Maintenance Services by Thermit Australia.


The plant in Halle (Saale) is enlarged to 50,000 m² through the purchase of 20,000 m².

Elektro-Thermit Dienstleistungsgesellschaft mbH (ETDL) founded in Essen, Germany.


Winding up of the OSG company with assets transferred to Elektro Thermit GmbH.


Separation of all Thermit® companies in Germany and abroad from the Goldschmidt AG and takeover by the assets management company “Erben Dr. Karl Goldschmidt GmbH, Essen (VVG)”.

Patent for the Single Use Crucible.

Single use crucible (© M. Nies/Agentur Format78 GmbH)


Patent for the High Performance Weld (HPW).


Acquisition of the Elaugen Group with locations in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Belgium.


Goldschmidt Thermit GmbH becomes Finance and Management Holding of the Goldschmidt Thermit Group.

RO-Thermit founded in Rumania as a subsidiary of MÁV-Thermit.


Thermit China Co. Ltd. founded as a subsidiary of Goldschmidt Thermit GmbH.

Relocation of the head office of Goldschmidt Thermit GmbH from Essen, Germany to Leipzig, Germany.

SoW-5 Thermit® welding process approval EN 14730-1.

Introduction of different measuring devices such as Railscan, Railstraights, Trackscan and temperature measuring devices.


Relocation of Elektro-Thermit GmbH & Co. KG to Halle (Saale), Germany and start of the new Thermit® production in Halle (Saale), Germany.

Introduction of different measuring services such as stress-free temperature measurement and geometrical measuring services.


Goldschmidt Thermit Railservice GmbH founded from ETDL and Elaugen Essen, Germany.

Goldschmidt Thermit Railservice (Österreich) Ges. m.b.H founded in Austria from P.C. Wagner Elektro-Thermit and Elaugen in Vienna.

Homologation of Thermit® SkV-Elite welding process acc. to EN 14730-1.

Stress-free temperature acceptance inspection with the Railscan measuring device on the French TGV high-speed line “LGV Est européenne” before opening of the line and the TGV speed record.


Long-term rail stress measurements up to 2009 using DMS technology in the Citytunnel Leipzig, Germany.


Goldschmidt-Thermit Japan Co., Ltd. founded in Japan.

Homologation of SkV-Elite L25 welding process acc. to EN 14730-1.

First measurement of the Eurotunnel with the Railscan measuring device.

Delivery of components for the Thermit® welding process with the Gautrain line extension for the soccer world cup in South Africa.


OOO GT-ATS founded in Russia.

Measurement of approx. 1,000 track kilometers of the high-speed line of the Turkish railways TCDD with the Railscan measuring device.


Approval/release for users for Railstraight measuring devices with the German railways, DB Netz AG.


Acquisition of PortaCo, Inc., Moorhead, Minnesota, USA.

Supply of components for the Thermit® welding process and training and support for welding specialists with the Marmaray historic tunnel project in Istanbul, Turkey where the railway networks of Asia and Europe were connected.

Supply of weld-tempered rails, welding consumables and training for welding specialists for the new Ring Line tram system in Doha Education City, Qatar.

Execution of Thermit® welds for the extension of the railway network for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sotschi, Russia.


New construction of the molding shop of Elektro-Thermit GmbH & Co. KG in Halle (Saale), Germany.

Technology Innovation Center founded in Leipzig, Germany.

Introduction of the Railstraight App.

Railstraight App (© M. Nies/Agentur Format78 GmbH)

Introduction of the Smartweld Spark.


120-year jubilee of the Thermit® process patented by Prof. Hans Goldschmidt in 1895.

Supply of components for the Thermit® welding process for the new high-speed intercity connection between Erfurt and Leipzig/Halle. The new section is part of the new and extended railway connection from Nuremberg to Berlin within the German reunification 8 project and is a part of the trans-European transport network from Northern Italy to Scandinavia.


Goldschmidt Thermit Polska founded in Poland.

Acquisition of SRS Sjölanders AB, Osby, Sweden.

Introduction of the Goldschmidt Digital App.

Introduction of the Smartweld Jet.


Acquisition of GRAW Sp. z o.o., Gliwice, Poland.


Acquisition of Prüftechnik Linke & Rühe GmbH, Magdeburg, Germany.

Introduction of different measuring devices such as Trackgauge Digital, Trackgauge Solar and Trackscan Compact.

Introduction of the database solution Dari®.

Database solution Dari®(©


Introduction of the new global brand Goldschmidt.