Anton Wingen Cleavers
Othello's beginnings date back to 1888, when Anton Wingen, the founder of Othello, opened a small workshop in Solingen, Germany's "City of Blades".
At that time there was an enthusiasm for knives, a real knife culture was in fashion for a while, in addition the admiration of the people in Europe for the bravery of Arabic Moors - the foundation of Othello was so to speak the answer to the prevailing zeitgeist.
Thanks to great expertise and high quality products, Othello soon took the lead in this industry and became the official supplier of silver and gold medals for various trade fairs in cities such as Brussels.
In the early 20th century, Othello's first-class craftsmanship met with widespread recognition. The products shown at the World Exhibitions in Turin and Bern aroused great enthusiasm. The brand also won numerous international awards, such as the gold and silver medals, the Grand Prix (the highest award), the "Diplomd'honneur" and others. Othello became world-famous as Anton Wingen's top brand. Therefore, it became Solingen's landmark.
Thanks to strict quality controls and constant technical improvements, Othello enjoys a good reputation worldwide. At the end of the 20th century, about 70 percent of the products were exported to America. It is also worth mentioning that Othello once revolutionised the forging process and developed injection moulding techniques, which the company successfully applied to the manufacture of all types of kitchen utensils.
Othello had developed from simple handicraft techniques to the use of sophisticated techniques with the use of high technology. The product range, once exclusively knives, had expanded to include numerous kitchen articles of all kinds.
In 1926, Viennese architects drew up the plan for the so-called "Frankfurt Kitchen". The working distances and routine movements within the kitchen were measured with a stopwatch and measuring tape - the results were incorporated into the design of the time-saving fitted kitchen. Anton Wingen prompted the design team to analyse the interplay of the factors "space" and "time" in the "Frankfurt kitchen" in more detail. At the end of the 1920s, Othello evolved from a popular Messer brand into a kitchen brand that combined a modern lifestyle with a tradition of excellent quality and high added value.
For a long time, the kitchen was a housewife's most important workplace. At that time, however, the kitchen designers were mostly men. The "Frankfurt kitchen" designed by Viennese architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky marked a highlight in kitchen design in 1927, as it explicitly took a female perspective. In cooperation with the city of Frankfurt, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and the architect Ernst May built their sophisticated kitchen into over 10,000 Frankfurt apartments. Othello products were used and Othello officially started into the cabinet business.
After the death of Anton Wingen in 1935, his son Hans Wingen and Walter Wingen took over the business. In view of Othello's success in the kitchen market, Sales Manager Walter Wingen was convinced that Othello should continue to develop the essential design elements of the Frankfurt kitchen in order to create a comfortable environment for domestic work with sensible work processes, work simplification and sufficient storage space. Hans Wingen had attended the Bauhaus School and assumed the function of technical director in the company. He was a mastermind when it came to modern kitchens, and under his aegis Othello added "intelligent" elements to the user-friendly elements of the Frankfurt kitchen, such as functionally designed appliances and robust technology. In 1951 the third heir, Erika Wingen, joined the company as a manager. She noted that the Germans attached increasing importance to the topic of health and that 80 percent of Germans preferred organically produced products when shopping. In the German houses, interior and exterior walls and floors were decorated with environmentally friendly and energy-saving materials. Erika Wingen therefore spent a lot of time in the factory with the workers to discuss with them how to produce healthy and high-quality products. Since that, high-quality has become a core value of Othello.