The German sawing machine and storage system manufacturer Kasto Maschinenbau, which has a UK subsidiary in Milton Keynes (www.kasto.com
), is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.
With headquarters in Achern (Baden-Württemberg), the firm has evolved from a one-man business into a globally successful company that remains in the hands of the founding family.
In 1844, carpenter Karl Stolzer (from whom the company name is derived) started a machine shop in Achern to manufacture water wheels and machinery for mills; he later built sawmills.
The invention of the Kasto hacksaw in 1947 marked a significant step forward, and circular saws were introduced in the 1960s.
At the beginning of the 1970s, Kasto launched its first automatic bar storage and retrieval system; it featured two integrated circular saws, which were supplied automatically by a gantry crane.
This was the precursor of the storage and sawing centres that Kasto started manufacturing in the early 1980s.
With the assistance of numerous subsidiaries around the globe, Kasto has sold more than 140,000 bandsaws, circular saws and hacksaws, plus 2,200 storage systems for long stock such as bar and tube, as well as sheet metal.
For more than 30 years, Armin Stolzer has headed the family business as the fifth generation managing director. Other senior management positions are held by his wife — Ruth Stolzer — and four family members of the sixth generation.
Kasto’s anniversary year officially began on 7 May; to mark the occasion, the company has launched a contest to find the oldest Kasto saw still in use.
Machines built in or before 1980 may be entered, and customers are invited to e-mail details (including a photo of the saw and of the nameplate) to .
Every entry will be rewarded, and the winner will be announced later in the year.
The picture shows third-generation Friedrich Stolzer (left) with some of the company’s workforce in the mid-1920s.