tesa Truck with tesafilm Advertisement from 1952

Our History

tesa’s success story begins with the unsuccessful development of an adhesive bandage. Paul C. Beiersdorf, a pharmacist, was at work on the bandage when Dr. Oscar Troplowitz took over the lab from the company’s founder in 1890. The bandage adhered excellently, but was irritating to the skin. Troplowitz made a virtue of necessity and, in 1896, launched the first technical adhesive tape.

Today tesa is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of self-adhesive product and system solutions for industry, professional craftsmen and consumers. Follow us into the exciting history of tesa and tape technology.

2020

"Green light" for the plant in Vietnam

In May the decision is made to build a new plant in Haiphong, a port city in Northern Vietnam. The total investment is around 55 million Euro. The tesa Group will hereby strengthen its presence in Asia, significantly increase capacities and thus shorten the distance to customers and suppliers.

A new plant in Vietnam will be build
2019

Expansion of the location in China

tesa starts expanding its site in Suzhou, China. Investments of more than 30 million Euro are planned, including the creation of a clean-room production unit. The extension serves to create additional capacities in the factory for the production of special adhesive tapes for the coming generations of electronic devices. Furthermore, tesa is expanding its Chinese Customer Solution Center, where tesa experts are working with customers on innovative product solutions. 

The Customer Solution Center in China expands
2018

Three acquisitions in one year

The international tesa family is expanding: As of March, the Twinlock division of the Dutch Polymount International BV is a fully-owned affiliate of tesa SE. Twinlock features a special technology for assembling printing clichés in the growing market segment "flexo printing".

The company FormFormForm Ltd. based in London expands tesa’s consumer business with its patented moldable adhesive Sugru®, a versatile product that supports the trend towards sustainability and is mainly marketed online.

Functional Coatings, based in Massachusetts, USA, specializes in special adhesive sealing tapes for the construction sector and strengthens the tesa division Building Industries.

Functional Coatings, Sugru (FormFormForm Ltd.) and Twinlock
Functional Coatings, Sugru (FormFormForm Ltd.) and Twinlock
2017

Smart mounting with "nie wieder bohren"

tesa SE acquires the company "nie wieder bohren ag” from Hanau, Germany. The range of around 100 products featuring a traceless removable mounting solution perfectly complements the tesa portfolio of smart mounting systems. High-quality bathroom accessories are now available in more than 1,500 shops of the ten largest DIY stores in Germany. 

"nie wieder bohren ag" in Hanau
2016

tesa Campus Inaugurated

On January 28, Torsten Albig (Premier of Schleswig-Holstein), Hans-Joachim Grote (Mayor of Norderstedt), and Thomas Schlegel (tesa CEO) inaugurate the tesa Campus in front of about 1000 employees and numerous guests of honour. In a symbolic act the trio complete a huge puzzle showing the building and its three components: headquarters, research and technology centre. “Three in one” is the concept of the new tesa headquarters, which is finished after little more than three years of construction. Costing some EUR 160 million, it is the largest investment in the history of tesa.

The new Heaquarters of tesa SE in Norderstedt / Germany
tesa SE Headquarters
2013

Ground Broken for the New tesa SE Building

The new headquarters of tesa SE is built close to Hamburg Airport. The marketing, administration and research and development departments as well as the technology centre are all brought together for the first time. The complex is precisely tailored to tesa’s business model and will enable tesa to further concentrate its strengths and bolster the tesa Group’s international competitiveness.

Technical illustration of the new tesa Campus
Technical illustration of the new tesa Campus
2012

Launch of tesa® ACXplus

tesa® ACXplus is a new category of tapes for constructive bonding. The strongest and best performing product range so far has a powerful bond on materials with different surface characteristics, offers optimal stress dissipation due to its viscoelastic behaviour, and is resistant to temperatures and demanding weather conditions.

tesa® ACXplus
tesa® ACXplus
2011

tesa Celebrates a Double Anniversary

75 years of tesafilm® and ten years of independence as a Beiersdorf company

In 2011 tesa celebrated its 75th birthday
In 2011 tesa celebrated its 75th birthday
2010

Unique Production Plant – Hamburg

An ultra-modern cleanroom and the world’s only ACX production plant for new double-sided adhesive tapes open their doors in Hamburg.

Cleanroom Facility at the tesa plant Hamburg
Clean room in Hamburg
2009

From AG to SE: tesa Becomes a European Corporation

As a Societas Europaea (SE), on March 30 tesa adopts the modern cross-border legal structure for corporations in the European Union.

tesa flag in the sky
tesa becomes SE
2008

tesa Gains a Subsidiary

Labtec Gesellschaft für technologische Forschung und Entwicklung mbH becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of tesa. The company develops special administration forms for pharmaceutical active substances as an alternative to pills and specialises in transdermal therapeutic systems (TTS) among others.

Labtec Gesellschaft für technologische Forschung und Entwicklung mbH becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of tesa. The company develops special administration forms for pharmaceutical active substances as an alternative to pills and specialises in transdermal therapeutic systems (TTS) among others.
Labtec is now a tesa subsidiary
2006

tesa Joins the Global Compact of the United Nations

The Global Compact is a worldwide pact between companies and the UN to make globalisation more socially and environmentally sound.

Since 2006 tesa has been a member of the Global Compact.
tesa supports the UN Global Compact
2005

Environmental Award for tesa

The Association of the German Chemical Industry (VCI) gives tesa its Responsible Care Award. tesa is also granted an environmental award by the German Environmental Management Association (B.A.U.M.).

BAUM: Bundesdeutscher Arbeitskreis Umweltbewusstes Management e.V.
BAUM: Bundesdeutscher Arbeitskreis Umweltbewusstes Management e.V.
2005

New Plant Built in China in Record Time – Suzhou, Jiangsu

On December 8, tesa opens a plant with a research department in Suzhou, China, so it can be closer to its global customers.

tesa plant Suzhou
tesa plant Suzhou
2002

New Solvent-Free Production Technology

The Offenburg plant begins working with a new solvent-free production technology developed at tesa. All painters’ masking tapes are the first items to be switched over to the environmentally friendly new method, later followed by other products.

Solvent-free production technology in Offenburg
Solvent-free production unit in Offenburg
2001

From Company Division to Independence

The Beiersdorf Group’s original tesa division becomes tesa AG.

tesa AG is founded
tesa AG is founded
2000

tesa Revolutionises the Printing and Paper Industry

tesa becomes a global market leader in this segment with the launch of EasySplice®. This technology enables secure, ultra-fast splicing when changing rolls.

tesa Easy Splice assortment
tesa Easy Splice assortment
1998

tesafilm® as a Data Storage Medium

Two scientists from Mannheim, Germany, discover that you can store data on tesafilm®. Today the technology protects brand-name items from counterfeiting and secures original products against theft on their way along the supply chain. The scientists and tesa jointly establish tesa Scribos GmbH.

In four visible and invisible layers, data for logistics, authentication, product and brand protection can be stored in tesa PrioSpot.
The PrioSpot technology protects brands from counterfeiters
1994

tesa Powerstrips®

Nails and screws suddenly have to compete with the newly patented tesa Powerstrips®.ISO 9001 Quality Standard
The tesa division meets all of the requirements for the ISO 9001 quality standard, setting a new benchmark in the adhesive tape business.

tesa Powerstrips® 1996: TV commercial 1996
tesa Powerstrips® 1996: TV commercial 1996
1990

New tesa Logo Is Introduced

The tesa brand name has been a key component of the logo since the very beginning. The uniform design that has been used around the world since 1990 symbolises the very essence of the tesa brand: the sticking together of two parts.

tesa logo development 1936 to today
tesa logo development 1936 to today
1989

tesa® Insect Stop – a Top Seller

Consumers can keep annoying insects from paying a visit: tesa® Insect Stop makes its debut and goes on to become a top seller.

Protect your windows with fly screens
Protect your windows with fly screens
1986

25th Anniversary

In the year of its 25th anniversary, the tesa plant in Offenburg begins running a new large-scale unit. The total usable space at the site is expanded from 4000 to 65,000 square metres.

tesa employee at tesa plant Offenburg
Tape production in Offenburg
1982

First Non-European tesa Plant – Sparta, Michigan

The first major tesa plant outside Europe opens its doors in Sparta, Michigan, United States. Today, some 60 employees produce adhesive tapes for the general industrial market, particularly for the regional automotive industry.

tesa plant Sparta, Michigan, USA
tesa plant Sparta, Michigan, USA
1979

1200 Metres of Adhesive Tape Strips

The tesa plant in the Hausbruch district of Hamburg puts a complex coating unit with suspended drying for 1200 metres of adhesive tape strips into operation. Recovery and recycling of the solvents used in the unit enable highly efficient cleaning of exhaust air.

The tesa plant in the Hausbruch district of Hamburg puts a complex coating unit with suspended drying for 1200 meters of adhesive tape strips into operation. Recovery and recycling of the solvents used in the unit enables highly efficient cleaning of exhaust air.
Drying channel at the tesa plant Hamburg
1976

Automated Warehouse Technology

In Offenburg, tesa celebrates the initial opening of a high-rack warehouse – offering state-of-the-art automated warehouse technology with a separate picking area and nearly 8000 pallet spaces to start out (later 10,300). tesa now offers a total of 2500 product solutions.

In Offenburg, tesa celebrates the initial operation of a high rack warehouse
Warehouse in Offenburg
1974

tesa as a Division

Beiersdorf introduces its four divisions Cosmed, Pharma, Medical and tesa as a prelude to the further expansion of its adhesive tape business.

Beiersdorf introduces its four divisions Cosmed, Medical and tesa as a prelude to the further expansion of its adhesive tape business.
tesa becomes a division
1973

Mr. tesa Retires

After 39 years of service to the company, Hugo Kirchberg, head of the tesa department, retires. The tesa portfolio now consists of about 600 different products.

After 39 years of service to the company, Hugo Kirchberg, head of the tesa department, retires. The tesa portfolio now consists of about 600 different products.
Hugo Kirchberg, 1973
1972

“Kati” Conquers the World of tesa

tesa positions itself in the construction and do-it-yourself markets with a number of unusual TV spots in Germany, which cause a stir not only on the advertising scene. The cheeky and happy Kati flickers on the tube reliably for three years on Saturdays at the best broadcast time just before the main news. The little girl explains to her daddy how adhesive tapes from tesa make life in the home and garden easier. It is a change of roles that would have been unthinkable in the 1950s – even in tesa advertising. DIY was a man’s world, and hobbies and handicrafts were for the women. However, after the movement in 1968 with the beginning of women’s emancipation, tesa strikes social gold with the Kati advertising. “Kati and Daddy” are also used in different media. Since television still plays a subordinate role, the popular duo also appeasrs in print advertisements.

Kati: A self-confident girl gives her “dad” DIY tips in German TV commercials.
Kati: A self-confident girl gives her “dad” DIY tips in German TV commercials.
1968

Ahead of the Times: Displays for Speciality Retailers

tesa develops special displays to clearly and professionally present its products to DIY enthusiasts in speciality shops.

tesa developed special displays to clearly and professionally present its products to DIY enthusiasts in speciality shops.
Sales display, 1968
1954

tesamoll® Development

The temperatures almost reach zero. An icy wind blows through the streets. How nice it is when it’s cosy at home. But that is rarely the case at the beginning of the fifties. Buildings are damaged from the war, and high-quality building materials are in short supply. This gives the engineers at tesa an ingenious idea. There would have to be a product that protects windows and doors against drafts without requiring a great deal of skilled craftsmanship – and is also inexpensive. The product developers invent a self-adhesive profile seal made of plastic foam in 1954. One year later, the strips appear on the market under the name tesamoll®. Here, “moll” indicates an elastic material (mollis: lat. soft) and creates an association with the German word “mollig”, which means “cosy warm.” The product is still very popular internationally to this day. In warm countries, tesamoll® protects living space against heat, sand and insects.

A bestseller to the present day: tesamoll® for sealing windows and doors is developed and then launched one year later.
tesamoll® advertisement
1941

tesa Becomes an Umbrella Brand

Only five years later, besides the tesa adhesive tape, Kirchberg advertises another product. With the launch of the painters’ tape tesakrepp®, tesa evolves into an umbrella brand for all the group’s self-adhesive products. The tesafilm® name is created as an abbreviation of “tesa-Klebefilm” (tesa adhesive tape). Today, both the tesa masking tape tesakrepp® and tesafilm® are classics of the product range.

The tesafilm® name is created as an abbreviation of “tesa-Klebefilm” (tesa adhesive tape). tesa evolves into an umbrella brand for all the group’s self-adhesive products.
tesa® logo 1941
1936

Birth of tesa Adhesive Tape – Hamburg

Transparent rubber tape enters the market on February 17, 1936 as the latest product to be given the catchy name tesa. 25-year-old Hugo Kirchberg applies to Beiersdorf for a job and decides to make his new employer’s then-insignificant rubber adhesive film a resounding success. The “K Klebefilm” (K adhesive tape) is manufactured in two lengths and six widths right from the start in the versions “colourless-crystal-clear”, “yellow transparent”, “yellow covered,” and “black covered”. Other colours follow later.

At a time in which industrial production of food and its shelf life plays an increasingly important role, the K adhesive tape is praised for sealing jam jars, tin cans for bread and biscuits, as well as cardboard packaging for dried fruit. When this predecessor of the subsequent tesafilm® comes to the market in 1936, Kirchberg shows his keen sense for the requirements of potential customers. In the same year, he develops a dispenser that can be found in a modified form on almost every desk to this day. The principle behind the “receptacle for dry-glue-coated adhesive strip rolls”, registered under patent number 661115, is held by tesa up to the 21st century. A product is only really good if it can be used easily and has recognisable benefits.

In 1936 the tesa adhesive tape enters the market named “tesa Klebefilm”
tesa Klebefilm packaging
1908

tesa as a Brand Name of a Tube for Toothpaste

In the beginning, the brand name tesa® adorns several products. For example the patented tube used for Pebeco toothpaste. Unfortunately the tube business fares poorly.

tesa® was the brand name of the patented tube used for Pebeco toothpaste. Unfortunately the tube business fared poorly.
tesa® toothpaste tube
1906

The Name “tesa” Is Born

The name tesa® traces back to the secretary Elsa Tesmer, who worked at Beiersdorf in Hamburg from April 1903 through to the end of October 1908, first as an office clerk and then as the office manager. She thought up the term from the first two letters of her last name and the last two letters of her first name.

Elsa Tesmer worked at Beiersdorf in Hamburg from April 1903 through to the end of October 1908, first as an office clerk and then as the office manager. She thought up the term from the first two letters of her last name and the last two letters of her first name.
Secretary Elsa Tesmer invented the brand name tesa®