Under Hartmann, the new operation spun cotton and bleached fabrics that ultimately went into producing caps, stockings and handkerchiefs. Because the machines required for cotton spinning were water-driven, the company's site was located on the river Brenz that flows through Heidenheim. The Brenz was also an important communication route: when Hartmann wished to speak with neighbouring industrialists such as Friedrich Voith, he came to them by boat. The local entrepreneurs, above all Hartmann, were of course also very interested in road construction and linking up with metropolitan Stuttgart.
Son Paul reinvents his paternal inheritance
Infrastructure gradually took shape, and developments in Heidenheim contributed to the industrialisation of Württemberg. One of Ludwig's sons was Paul, who completed his training and, aged 22, joined the operation in 1834. Nine years later, in 1843, Paul and his brothers Carl and Eduard took over the company. Paul was responsible for the Heidenheim cotton mill, Carl for the bleaching plant and Eduard for the Herbrechtigen spinning mill. Paul Hartmann then took his business in another direction, by buying the "Scheckenbleiche" bleaching plant in 1867, which then lay the foundation for today's PAUL HARTMANN AG.
At that time, the business was called "Paul Hartmann Heidenheim Bleaching, Dyeing and Textile Finishing" and Paul Snr. went into partnership with his sons, Paul Jnr. and Albert Hartmann. Although textile production continued, the three were destined for more. Hartmann Snr., with his fascination for matters related to the healing of wounds, hygiene and medical progress, would soon become a pioneer in the medical dressings industry. As head of the company, he travelled extensively to medical trade fairs and congresses, where he gathered information and made numerous contacts. He knew that combined effort and strong partnerships lead to success, which is, incidentally, a distinguishable feature in the company today.
Improvements in wound treatment
Paul Hartmann put Bruns’s absorbent, but also hygienic, innovation into practice in the early 1870s. At once, wound care had been improved. Paul Hartmann achieved the first decisive milestone on the way to becoming a medical products manufacturer when his factory began quantity production of the novel dressing in 1873.