In the 1950s tesa trucks and also branded trains and busses could be seen all over Germany.
Our History

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 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.

1890

The first technical adhesive tape for patching bicycle tires
The first technical adhesive tape for patching bicycle tires

The tesa success story starts with the unsuccessful development of an adhesive plaster. The pharmacist Paul C. Beiersdorf worked on it when Dr. Oscar Troplowitz took over the laboratory of the company's founder in 1890. The plaster adhered perfectly but irritated the skin. Troplowitz made a virtue of necessity and in 1896 launched the first technical adhesive tape for patching bicycle tires, the 'Cito-Sportheftpflaster' (Cito Sports Adhesive Plaster).


1906

Elsa Tesmer worked at Beiersdorf in Hamburg from April 1903 through 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®

The name 'tesa' is invented.
The brand name tesa® goes back to the secretary Elsa Tesmer, who from April 1903 to the end of October 1908 worked as a clerk and head of the office for the Beiersdorf company in Hamburg. She created the brand name from the first two letters of her last name (Te-) and the last two letters of her first name (-sa).


1908

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

tesa® as a brand name for a toothpaste tube
At first, the brand name tesa® was used for a variety of products. For example, it decorated a patented tube for Pebeco Toothpaste. Unfortunately, the new tube design with a rotating mechanism was not very successful.


1936

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

The birth hour of tesafilm®
The enormous success of tesafilm® is intricately linked to the industrial manager Hugo

Kirchberg (1908-1999), who joined Beiersdorf in 1934 and was given the task of developing and systematically expanding the company's adhesive tape business. When selecting the brand name, he chose the protected name tesa® proposed by Elsa Tesmer – Initially, in 1936, simply as tesa® adhesive film, later as tesafilm®. Kirchberg soon noticed that a combined roll-off device was important. Thus, he invented the tesa dispenser.

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1941

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

Creation of the umbrella brand tesa®
Five years later, another product is created and turns into a classic. With the market launch of the masking tape tesakrepp® tesa develops into an umbrella brand for all self-adhesive products manufactured by the company. The short form tesafilm® is derived from the product name 'tesa® adhesive film'. 


1954

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

The development of tesamoll®
In the early 1950s, many buildings in Germany were still destroyed or severely damaged by the war – and high-quality building materials were in short supply. This gives tesa engineers a brilliant idea. They wish to develop a product that could be used by everyone to seal windows and doors without being particularly skilled in terms of craftsmanship and without spending great amounts of money. In 1954, the product developers invent a self-adhesive sealing profile made of plastic foam. A year later, the strips are available on the market under the name tesamoll®. Today, the product is still remarkably successful internationally. In warm countries, tesamoll® protects living spaces from heat, sand, and insects.


1972

Kati: A self-confident girl gives her “dad” do-it-yourself tips in German TV commercials.
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Kati: A self-confident girl gives her “dad” do-it-yourself tips in German TV commercials.

Kati conquers the tesa world
The company makes a name for itself with a series of unconventional TV commercials on German television. For three years, the cheeky and cheerful Kati appears on TV screens every Friday – right before the evening news. The little girl explains to her dad how tesa® tapes make life in the house and garden easier. After the 1968 movement and the beginning of the emancipation of women, tesa captures the contemporary zeitgeist. 


1974

Beiersdorf introduces its four divisions Cosmed, 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 as BDF division
Beiersdorf introduces the four divisions cosmed, medical, pharma and tesa – they represent the prerequisites for the further expansion of the adhesive tape business.


1982

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

The first plant outside of Europe – Sparta (USA)
The first large tesa plant outside Europe opens its doors in Sparta, USA. The company is thus leaving a first 'footprint' in North America, an important center of the international automotive industry. Customers from other industries are also supplied from Michigan. 


1986

tesa employee at tesa plant Offenburg
Tape production in Offenburg

25th anniversary
In the year of the company’s 25th anniversary, a new large-scale facility is put into operation at the tesa plant in Offenburg. Thus, the total usable area of the location increases from 4,000 to 65,000 square meters.


1989

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

tesa® Fly Screen – a bestseller
Consumers can now protect their homes from pesky insects without much effort: The tesa® Fly Screen celebrates its premiere and turns into a bestseller.


1990

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

Presentation of the new tesa® logo
The brand name tesa® has always been an important part of the logo. The uniform design that has been used all over the world since 1990 symbolizes the essence of the brand tesa®: The bonding of two parts.


1994

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

tesa Powerstrips®
Nails, screws, and similar tools are becoming ever more obsolete thanks to the introduction of the patented tesa Powerstrips® Technology.


1998

In vier sichtbaren und unsichtbaren Ebenen können im tesa PrioSpot Daten für Logistik, Authentifizierung, Produkt- und Markenschutz gespeichert werden.
The PrioSpot technology protects brands from counterfeiters

tesafilm® for data storage
Two scientists from Mannheim discover that tesafilm® is suitable for data storage. And even though there won't be a 'tesa ROM' on the market any time soon, the further development of the technology today protects branded products from counterfeiting and safeguards original products from theft along the value chain. Together, the two researchers and tesa found tesa scribos GmbH.


2000

tesa EasySplice® in the production
tesa EasySplice® in the production

tesa revolutionizes the printing and paper industry
Thanks to the introduction of the EasySplice® Technology, today tesa is the world market leader in this segment. This technology enables a safe and extremely fast bonding during "flying" roll changes.


2001

tesa AG is founded
tesa AG is founded

From corporate division to independence
The original tesa division turns into tesa AG, a 100% affiliate of Beiersdorf AG.


2002

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

New solvent-free production technology
A new solvent-free production technology developed by tesa is used in the plant in Offenburg. First, all masking tapes, and later also other products, are converted to the environmentally friendly process.


2005

tesa plant Suzhou
tesa plant Suzhou

A new plant is built in China in record time – Suzhou, Jiangsu
To be closer to its global customers, particularly from the automotive and electronics industries, on December 8, tesa opens a plant with a research department in Suzhou, China.


2006

Since 2006 tesa is member of the Global Compact.
tesa supports the UN Global Compact

tesa joins the United Nations Global Compact
Against the background of global challenges, tesa, as an international company, sees it as its responsibility to reconcile social, ecological, and economic concerns and to align its business processes to a sustainable economy. To express this understanding, since 2006, tesa is a member of the United Nations Global Compact.


2008

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 specializes in transdermal therapeutic systems (TTS) among others.
Labtec is now a tesa subsidiary

tesa receives a new affiliate
"Labtec Gesellschaft für technologische Forschung und Entwicklung mbH" becomes a fully-owned tesa affiliate. The company develops special dosage forms for active pharmaceutical ingredients as an alternative to pills and tablets. Labtec specializes, among other things, in active substance patches, so-called transdermal therapeutic systems, and orally soluble films.


2010

Cleanroom facility at tesa plant Hamburg
Clean room in Hamburg

A unique production facility in Hamburg
A state-of-the-art clean-room unit and the globally unique ACX production facility for the production of new double-sided adhesive tapes are launched in Hamburg.


2011

The successful tesa ecoLogo® assortment in 2013 for the stationery sector.
tesa SE
The successful tesa ecoLogo® assortment in 2013 for the stationery sector.

Green products for the office

The growth driver in the office and stationery sector is the assortment of particularly environmentally friendly products grouped under the sub-brand tesa® EcoLogo.

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2012

tesa® ACXplus
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tesa® ACXplus

"Powerful" adhesive tapes for the construction industry
tesa® ACXplus is a new generation of double-sided adhesive tapes for structural bonding, for example, in the construction industry. To date, it is the strongest and most powerful range of tapes – It offers secure bonding of materials with different surface characteristics, optimally balances tensions thanks to its visco-elastic properties and withstands extreme temperatures and weather conditions.


2013

The tesa Group breaks through to the sales billion

At the 2013 press conference, tesa reports sales of EUR 1,000.2 million for the financial year 2012, conquering the 'magic' billion mark for the first time.

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2016

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

New tesa Campus

Over three years, the new company Headquarter of tesa SE is being built near the Hamburg airport. At the Norderstedt location, Marketing and Administration share a building with Research & Development as well as the Technology Center. With a cost of approximately 160 million Euro, the new building is the largest investment in tesa history.

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2017

"nie wieder bohren ag" in Hanau
"nie wieder bohren ag" in Hanau

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. 


2018

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

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.

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2019

The Customer Solution Center in China expands
The Customer Solution Center in China expands

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. 


2020

A new plant in Vietnam will be build
A new plant in Vietnam will be build

"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.