Friedrich Wilhelm Broekelmann

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Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Brökelmann (born August 10, 1799 in Dortmund , † July 31, 1890 in Neheim ) was a German entrepreneur .


Brökelmann came from a bourgeois Dortmund family that has been in the city since the 16th century at the latest and produced not only merchants but also lawyers . They belonged to the wealthy urban ruling class and were involved as city ​​judges , councilors and city treasurers in the self-government of the Free Imperial City .

Oil painting of the Brökelmann family by Engelbert Seibertz , 1850

The future prospects of the young Johann Friedrich were excellent, but he lost his father at the age of two. Since his mother married her brother-in-law, the wine merchant and merchant Wilhelm Rittershaus (from the founding family of the later Dortmund Ritter Brewery ) in 1804 , he grew up in the family of his stepfather. In 1811 Brökelmann also lost his mother, but stayed with the Ritterhaus family and attended the Dortmund city high school from 1810 to 1814 . Then he completed a commercial apprenticeship . After his apprenticeship, Brökelmann went on a multi-week trip abroad to Belgium in 1818 and visited glassworks , ironworks , cannon factories and other modern companies.

In 1820 he took a position in Peter Overbeck's colonial goods wholesaler and vinegar factory, which later became the Dortmund Löwenbrauerei . As a traveling salesman , he was mainly active in the Sauerland and Siegerland . He also came to Neheim. At that time, this city not only suffered from the consequences of a devastating city fire in 1804. In addition, there was a profound economic crisis, as the previously relatively important textile home trade was already largely inferior to the competition from British factory goods. The community gradually changed to an arable town with no significant commercial importance.

One location factor was therefore a considerable number of available workers, which had a positive effect on the beginnings of industrial development. The originally commercial involvement of Brökelmann was more traditional with the operation of an oil mill and a specialty store. He worked on behalf of the Dortmund company Overbeck and received a small part of the turnover as a salary. In 1828 Brökelmann married the Dortmund merchant's daughter Luise Christine Wilhelmine Friederike Boecking , and this marriage resulted in four children. A year later, Brökelmann acquired Neheim citizenship . In the following decades, Brökelmann expanded his property in Neheim in order to be able to expand his flourishing company. In 1831 Josef Cosack  - another industrial pioneer of Neheim - became a partner in the Brökelmann & Overbeck company . A short time later, he acquired the prestigious Risse house on Neheimer Markt as his own residence.

In 1838 the three partners began to go beyond the rather pre-industrial framework and founded a puddling and rolling mill in neighboring Hüsten in 1839 . The company could not hold on, however, and Brökelmann and Overbeck withdrew from this project. At the same time, this laid the foundations for the Hüstener trade union founded in 1845 . Also on zinc - and lead mining in Ramsbeck is Brökelmann involved financially since 1840. During Brökelmann its shares in Ramsbecker union could sell 1,851 for huge profits, its financial commitment in the emerging paid coal industry is not enough.

former factory building of FW Brökelmann

In 1844 Wilhelm Overbeck left the joint company in Neheim. As a result, Brökelmann held 3/5 and Cosack 2/5 of the company, before the shares were completely transferred to Brökelmann in 1846. Since then the company has operated under the name FW Brökelmann . In essence, it continued to be based on the processing and distribution of agricultural products. Among other things, from 1851 Brökelmann took a stake in a former state oil mill in Hamm , which he finally took over completely, and which has operated under the name Brökelmann & Co. since 1861 .

The transition to an industrial entrepreneur took place in 1853, although the mills continued to be owned by the company. In that year, Brökelmann founded Eisenwerke Cosack & Co. (later the Westphalian Union ) together with Cosack, Carl Fuhrmann and Felix Schürmann in Hamm . Around this time the oil lamp production gradually began to spread in Neheim and this branch of the metal industrial finished goods production became the basis of the later dominating lighting industry in this city. With Brökelmann's financial support, a metal goods factory was founded by the two entrepreneurs Franz Jäger and Gustav Busse. In 1871 Brökelmann took a stake, the company was now called Brökelmann, Jäger & Co. , and later the third partner was also included in the company, which has since been Brökelmann, Jäger & Busse (BJB).

In the following decades the company developed into the largest industrial company in Neheim with around 500 employees. It specialized in the manufacture of burners for kerosene lamps and after the turn of the century it became a central producer of components for the manufacture of electric lights.

Brökelmann also took part in the establishment of the Arnsberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry in addition to his narrower entrepreneurial area , campaigned for the construction of the Ruhr Valley Railway as early as 1849 and advocated public welfare for the disabled. As early as 1856, he set up factory support funds in his factories, which after the passage of the law on health insurance for workers of June 15, 1883, became the company health insurance fund Brökelmann, Jaeger & Busse in 1885 . His advocacy for the Protestant parish in the predominantly Catholic Neheim was particularly lasting. He was instrumental in financing the construction of a church, paying the pastor's post and building a Protestant school. In 1834 he was one of the co-founders of the Neheim hunting club. Brökelmann was also involved in founding the local savings bank . He even participated in a kind of “citizens' initiative” to set up street lighting. From 1841 to 1845 Brökelmann was also a member of the Westphalian Provincial Parliament for the state of the cities and the electoral district "Duchy of Westphalia" for the city of Gesecke u. a.

In official recognition of his services, Wilhelm II appointed him to the Council of Commerce and, at the age of 90, to the Privy Council of Commerce . Shortly afterwards he died in Neheim in 1890.

His grandson Friedrich Wilhelm Ottilius Brökelmann founded the Brökelmann Aluminum company in 1910 .


  • Barbara Gerstein: Friedrich Wilhelm Brökelmann (1799–1890) . In: Rheinisch-Westfälische Wirtschaftsbiographien , Volume 11. Aschendorff, Münster 1983, pp. 142–162.
  • BJB (Ed.): In the center: The light. 125 years of involvement in Neheim's industrial history. Arnsberg 1992.
  • Ernst Rehermann: Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Brökelmann . In: Yearbook Hochsauerlandkreis , year 1990, p. 134 f.
  • City archive Arnsberg (ed.): Company and family estate FW Brökelmann . Arnsberg 2003. ( Finding aid for the Brökelmann inventory in the city archive with biographical sketches)
  • Alfred Bruns (Ed.), Josef Häming (Ed.): The Members of the Westphalia Parliament 1826–1978. (= Westphalian source and archive directories , volume 2.) Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe, Münster 1978, p. 215.

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