Without the inventiveness of Melitta Bentz, the Melitta Group 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 the entrepreneurial spirit was in her DNA: while her grandparents own a brewery, her father is a publisher and book salesman. Even in her early years, a strong sense of duty and dedication are soon apparent.
She finds her partner for life in Johannes Emil Hugo Bentz. After getting married, the pair have the sons Willy and Horst in 1899 and 1904. In 1911, a daughter, Herta, follows.
By 1900, the enjoyment of coffee is no longer a luxury. Many people drink it daily, at breakfast time or with cake and a chat in the afternoon. It is prepared using complicated apparatus or with the help of a fabric bag over which hot water is poured.
Melitta also brews her coffee every day. But the bitter taste and annoying 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 punch holes in the bottom of a brass cup, which she then lines with 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. They present them again and again in stores selling household goods, department stores and at trade shows. 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 enjoys 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, especially in times of need. Her inventiveness, her innovative strength and her entrepreneurial spirit live on today through the Melitta brand.