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A woman full of ideas and drive

Melitta Bentz

Without the inventiveness of Melitta Bentz, the Melitta company would not be what it is today. But who was she exactly?

And how did she lay the foundation for our success story? Our company's founder was born on 31 January 1873 in Dresden, Germany, as Amalie Auguste Melitta Liebscher and her entrepreneurial spirit is born and bred in her family: while her grandparents own a brewery, her father is a publisher and book salesman. Even in early years, her sense of duty and her dedication are apparent.

With Johannes Emil Hugo Bentz, she finds her partner for life. Following their marriage, the pair have sons Willy and Horst in 1899 and 1904. In 1911, a daughter, Herta, follows.

By the year 1900, the enjoyment of coffee is no longer a luxury. Many people drink it daily, with breakfast or with cakes and chatting in the afternoon. It is prepared with complicated apparatus or with the help of a fabric bag over which hot water is poured.

Melitta brews coffee daily too. But the bitter taste and the troublesome coffee grounds in every cup bother her. The ceramic or metal filtering devices that are already in use don't help. On a whim, she uses nails to poke holes in the bottom of a brass cup, which she then lines using a sheet of blotting paper from her son's school notebook. The result is outstanding: the coffee tastes significantly more aromatic, there are no more grounds in the bottom of the cup, and preparation is fast and simple.

On 15 December 1908, she registers her own company for the sale of coffee filters with the trade office in Dresden. Her starting capital: 72 Reichsmark cents. The company headquarters: a room in her apartment.

Melitta and her husband have 100 cartons of filter paper and 50 filters manufactured. These they present again and again in stores selling household goods, department stores and at trade fairs. Her coffee filter receives awards – and demand goes up and up. Emboldened by their success, Melitta and Hugo develop numerous other ideas for household products. The company continues to grow and experience great success.

On 29 June 1950, Melitta Bentz dies at the age of 77 after having lived a full life. With her ingenious mind and her many ideas, she not only founded the company but made a decisive contribution to the company's growth and continued existence. Her death was a heavy loss for the family and for the employees, whom she supported with dedication in many ways, most especially in times of need. Her wealth of inventiveness, her power of innovation and her entrepreneurial spirit live on today in the Melitta brand.