Our Clay connects generations

Jacobi Walther Dachziegel has been around for more than 160 years. We are a medium-sized family business, now in its sixth generation, and are experts in our clay roof tiles. As a medium-sized family business, we produce our clay roof tiles today with a qualified team of 420 employees at two locations in Germany. Each past generation has influenced the company image, the corporate philosophy, the products and the German tile market in its own unique way. We can look back on an eventful history that has shaped us and our values and goals to this day.

We are so proud of our origins that we have set up a museum at our Bilshausen site. Our small museum highlights all 6 generations of brick production in a personal way and brings the viewer closer to where we come from.

  • Jacobi_Museum_Meilensteine

    A milestone for every generation

  • Jacobi_Museum_Kontorbuch

    Account book from 1930/31

  • Jacobi_Museum_Vision_200_Jahre

    We live for one version – 200 years of Jacobi Tonwerke

  • Jacobi_Museum_Generationen

    The museum provides personal insights into 6 generations of Jacobi

  • Jacobi_Museum_Werksansichten

    Locations and products are historically documented

From teacher’s son to tiles maker

1st generation – 1826 to 1894

History arises from the self-image of its time: Joseph Jacobi should actually have become a teacher, like his father. But the material hardship of the time turned him into a migrant worker. He worked on the countless brick-making columns in Prussia to earn urgently needed money. Joseph Jacobi learned the brickmaking trade from scratch and later became a master brickmaker. A start for 3500 thalers . Back home, he and his wife Maria Theresia, née Koch, were driven by their great ambition to become self-employed. After years of patient saving, the couple were able to buy the former Duderstadt council brickworks in front of the Steintor for 3500 thalers on January 12, 1860, which laid the foundation stone for our company today.

For financial or practical reasons, Joseph Jacobi seems to have been skeptical of the technical innovations of his time. After his son August joined the company, there must have been difficult discussions about the need for technical progress. Joseph Jacobi withdrew from the business in a dispute.

Jacobi clay works 1st generation
Jacobi clay works Goepelwerk

Göpelwerk operated by horses

Jacobi Tonwerke 1 Generation Fontane

Theodor Fontane on the hard work of migrant workers in the brick-making trade (Theodor Fontane, Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg. Third part. 3rd ed., Berlin 1987, pp. 501-502).

August Jacobi’s Duderstadt steam roof tiles

2nd generation – 1853 to 1933

After the Duderstadt-Wulften railroad line went into operation in 1889, August Jacobi built the “A. Jacobis Duderstädter Dampfziegelei” in 1892, directly opposite Duderstadt railroad station. This was equipped with its own railway siding. The company was Duderstadt’s first modern brickworks and was equipped with all the technical refinements of the time, such as a ring kiln, a screw press driven by a steam engine and a roller crusher. Jacobi had work for 35 to 40 people.

August Jacobi was a man who loved the finer things in life and was also a charitable, fatherly boss. The brickworks made great strides forward. After just ten years, the ring kiln was too small, so a new, much larger one was built in 1902. With great energy and new ideas, the next generation was ready and waiting: The next modernization step in 1906 was driven forward by his son Josef Jacobi.

Jacobi Tonwerke 2 Generation August Jacobi

August Jacobi, 2nd generation

Jacobi Tonwerke 2 Generation Handarbeit

An employee stacks hollow tiles – despite initial modernization, a lot of manual work was necessary and the work was hard.

Jacobi Tonwerke 2 Generation Werk Duderstadt

Plant I" in Duderstadt before demolition. A much larger furnace was built in 1902.

Practitioners, technicians, entrepreneurs

3rd generation – 1883 to 1957

In 1919, Bilshausen became the second location alongside Duderstadt. Josef Jacobi modernized and expanded the entire Bilshausen site. By the end of 1923, almost everything was finished and up to the latest technical standards. The next ten years were a steady uphill climb until one November evening in 1934, when the entire Bilshausen plant burned to the ground. 180 employees feared for their future, but they rebuilt without hesitation. At the other end of the village, with more space and close to the railroad line, it was possible to plan and build on the “greenfield site” within a year, again using the latest technology.
With the beginning of the Second World War, production conditions became increasingly difficult, the necessary energy and capital goods were essential for the war effort and therefore difficult to obtain.
and therefore difficult to procure, and numerous employees were called up for military service. Overcoming numerous difficulties and uncertainties, Josef Jacobi was able to continue his business in the fall of 1945. In 1946, the company’s headquarters were moved to the larger Bilshausen site.

Jacobi Tonwerke 3 generation burnt down plant

The completely destroyed Bilshausen plant after the great fire in November 1934.

Jacobi Tonwerke 3 Generation Josef Jacobi Tonwerke 3 Generation Josef Jacobi

Josef Jacobi, with strokes of fate to success


Letterhead of the Bilshausen roof tile factory from 1931 – the switch to year-round operation was only possible thanks to technical innovations.

Economic miracle and reconstruction

4th generation – 1913 to 1999

After the end of the war, the factories were in a desolate state. For the first time in the history of Jacobi Tonwerke, it became difficult to find good workers. Herbert Jacobi wanted competent, self-confident employees whom he trusted to make independent decisions. As an advocate of industrial, technical development, he overcame company and national borders. He was a co-founder of the European Brick and Tile Association. As a graduate engineer, he focused on automation and completed the construction of one of the most modern brickworks in Europe in Duderstadt in September 1955. “A marvel of technology” was the euphoric headline in the Göttinger Tageblatt.

He considered the twenty-five years of partnership with his sons Helmuth and Klaus in the management of the company to be a great stroke of luck. In old age, he retired from day-to-day business, but continued to visit the company every day. At the grave of the man who did not want to be a patriarch, the Chairman of the Works Council gave a speech and wept.” Herbert Jacobi died.

Jacobi Tonwerke 4 Generation Opening Plant4
Jacobi Tonwerke 4 Generation Delegation Italy

Herbert Jacobi (with hat in the center of the picture) with a delegation of Italian tile owners during a tour of the new Plant I in Duderstadt.

acobi Tonwerke 4 generation modern production

Europe's most modern production facility

Jacobi Tonwerke 4 Generation Bilshausen site

Aerial view of the Bilshausen site

Success with the first dual leadership

5th generation – Decisions with heart and mind

With the 5th generation, the company was managed by a dual leadership for the first time. Herbert Jacobi attached great importance to involving his two sons in the company while they were still at university. The two brothers are very different and occupied different areas from the outset. Helmuth was responsible for
Helmuth was responsible for finance, technology and personnel; Klaus was in charge of sales and marketing. In 1988, both became managing directors. The wall came down the following year. The great fortune of the 5th generation is this change and German reunification. The factories in Duderstadt and Bilshausen were able to meet the great need for renovation in the new federal states.

“Helmuth and Klaus Jacobi will remember the first five years (…) as a kind of second founding period, a time in which decisions had to be made at lightning speed and dealing with dizzyingly high sums of money became part of everyday business, a time that left no time for long reflection, and yet one that demanded carefully considered action.
required well-considered action more than ever. Looking back on their eventful years together, the brothers agree that they have always worked closely and successfully together in a spirit of trust, despite – or precisely because of – their differences.

Plants IV, V, III and Va were rebuilt in Bilshausen in 1992, 1995, 1998 and 2000. This enabled production to be increased from fifteen million to fifty million pressed roof tiles per year. The A

Jacobi Tonwerke 5 Generation Walther Dachziegel

Takeover of Walther Dachziegel GmbH in Langenzenn

Jacobi Tonwerke 5 Generation Werk Langenzenn

Langenzenn location

Jacobi Tonwerke 5 Generation Messe Constructa

Trade fair stand at Constructa to expand business activities

Roof tiles – The good sound connects.

6th generation – All company divisions in family hands

With the arrival of Max Jacobi (son of Klaus) in 2010, the work of the 6th generation begins. Lucas Jacobi (Klaus’ son) and Dominic Jung (Helmuth’s son-in-law) followed in 2014. All three had previously worked in other companies and gained experience. The growing company with several locations in Germany requires a broader management structure. For the first time since Josef Jacobi (3rd generation), the training and inclination of the 6th generation means that family members can once again be responsible for all areas of the company:
Max Jacobi: Finance and Controlling
Lucas Jacobi: Marketing and Sales
Dominic Jung: Technology and Production

Jacobi Tonwerke 6 generation Jacobi family

6th generation

Major challenges vs. major opportunities

The 6th generation started in economically challenging times. In 2010, building permits in Germany were at their lowest level since the Second World War. Other major challenges are the shortage of new talent among roofers and carpenters, the strong competitive pressure from corporate companies and climate change. Great efforts are being made to unite the two companies Jacobi and Walther, each of which has its own proud identity, into one company with the same values. A relaunch of the brand identity shows the new modern face of the company in all areas.
The possibilities of digitalization offer great opportunities, but also mean a high need for investment. The combined heat and power plant, which was commissioned in 2016, is the first major step towards efficient energy use. From now on, more than 40% of the electricity required will be produced highly efficiently in-house.
The installation of a small pack plant with bundles of 4 bricks in Langenzenn in 2020 will reduce the weight of the brick packs by over 40%. This step is intended to reduce the heavy
physical work of roofers and carpenters is to be made easier. In order to make optimum use of production and development expertise, since 2020
all beavers have been produced in Langenzenn.

The 160th anniversary falls in the difficult times of the corona pandemic. Nevertheless, this time will be celebrated with the design and construction of the “mini museum” on the Jacobi story.

6th generation Jacobi (from left to right: Max Jacobi, Lucas Jacobi, Dominic Jung)

6th generation Jacobi (from left to right: Max Jacobi, Lucas Jacobi, Dominic Jung)

State-of-the-art robots in the small parcel facility at the Langenzenn site

State-of-the-art robots in the small parcel facility at the Langenzenn site

New J160-PV in-roof solar module solution

New J160-PV in-roof solar module solution