The present day company "TESTING Bluhm & Feuerherdt GmbH” was born in 1978 on a living room sofa. Benno Bluhm and Sylvia Feuerherdt were the two founding shareholders of the GbR (company constituted under civil law). As, after 30 years as the head designer at "TONI-Technik", Mr Bluhm wanted to spend more time on his sailing boat, and Ms Feuerherdt had more than enough on her hands with three children, Jochim Feuerherdt (at this time employed as a sales manager in France and later as the production manager of "TONI-Technik" in Berlin) was given the task of getting the company up and running and for developing product and sales ideas.
The 1st air entrainment meter
At that time, West Berlin was still surrounded by the wall, which complicated transport out of Berlin and through the GDR customs. In addition, the West German sales regions were firmly in the hands of five competitors. So what was the best approach and what was to be made? The product had to be technically simple, able to be sent by post and produced in large quantities. With our market knowledge, we opted for the so-called "air entrainment meter", with which the total air content in fresh concrete is measured. We drew up design drawings, looked for a foundry and found a production company.
After a good four months assembly of the pilot run began in the basement of the apartment of Mr Bluhm's apartment block. Mr Bluhm converted the 5m² basement area into a small production workshop with mini workbench and drill plus assembly bench. It wasn't long before the first neighbours asked Mr Bluhm what he was doing in the basement and what the noises were. He excused himself by saying he was working on his sail boat.
Following completion of the prototype we contacted "Weissgerber", the largest German construction machine dealer in Frankfurt/Main. The adventure began with an initial order for 10 air entrainment meters. Due to the other residents (in Mr Bluhm's apartment block) the cast/individual parts could only be made at night during the dark in the basement of Mr Bluhm. Transporting finished equipment from the basement was also difficult; they were packaged ready for transport at night by Mr Feuerherdt's employer at the time.
This was naturally no permanent solution. So Mr Feuerherdt rented production rooms in Berlin-Kreuzberg, which had to be vacated soon after due to extreme rent increases. The company moved to Berlin-Charlottenburg. We had to leave these rooms too in 1990, following the opening of the Berlin Wall, as the landlord raised the price of the rent per square meter to Frankfurt am Main levels. We finally found new production rooms near Berlin-Tempelhof airport. An engineer's dream with a room height of 5.5 metres and walls that were 0.5 metres thick – we rented a building with 500 m². The upturn could begin.