In the first decades the company made fine household appliances out of sheet metal. This has included various letterbox models since around 1900. The production of handheld vacuum cleaners and industrial vacuum cleaners was added later. Sheet metal household goods were no longer produced from 1952, but sheet metal processing has always remained at the heart of the company. In 1956, the then owner had to agree to a state stake in the company before she was completely expropriated in 1972 and the company was converted into the state-owned company VEB. The turning point came in 1990 and Erika and Reinhard Kolbe, the successors of the expropriated owner, decided to reprivatize the company. The beginning was difficult and required entrepreneurs and their employees to take risks and take action. With the existing sheet metal processing machines and the paint shop, as well as the support of the highly motivated workforce, the foundation stone was laid for the company to continue developing. The company began manufacturing infrared heaters and rail heating elements, and in 1991 the groundbreaking decision was made to produce mailboxes again. This decision was largely determined by the needs of the market, but also a return to the roots of the company was of great importance.

In 2002, the mailboxes with 30 employees were manufactured at the historic location in Waldheimer Strasse. Today the company employs more than 160 people at two production sites in Döbeln and two branches in Berlin and Munich. Mailbox systems, individual mailboxes and accessories around the front door are lovingly handcrafted at the production facilities. The products convince with value and attention to detail.

In the meantime, Thomas Kolbe, the son of the entrepreneurial couple, is the managing director of the company. Thanks to future-oriented strategies and high motivation, the family-run company is on the road to success – and the trend is rising. With modern technology, letterboxes, letterbox systems, parcel compartment systems, newspaper compartments, bells and many beautiful things around the entrance area are manufactured both at the historical location and in the newly created operating part in the Döbeln Ost industrial area.

Everyone must have a mailbox, this is required by law. Even more: every tenant has the right to a mailbox. This explains why mailboxes made in chub are so popular. In times of increasing digital data storage in clouds and sending messages by email, the mailbox is actually an old product, but always up-to-date in design, color and function. Mailbox fashion is based on the current architecture. Edgy shapes, shades of gray and integrated functions are predominant. KNOBLOCH mailboxes can keep up. “Our mailboxes are made to order. The customer determines the details, we produce, ”says Kolbe. Responding flexibly and quickly to the requirements of the market has always been a cornerstone of Knobloch’s success.

The flourishing housing market has a positive impact. The demand for mailboxes is currently high, whether for single and two-family houses, for normal and upscale needs or entire mailbox systems for the housing industry. KNOBLOCH mailboxes also go to 27 countries, primarily to Central and Western Europe, but also to Japan and North America. Products made in Germany enjoy a good reputation worldwide. “But growth has limits,” says Thomas Kolbe. The lack of skilled workers is a problem and is slowing growth. “We have full employment in our region, it is difficult to find new employees.” There has never been a situation like this in the almost 150-year history of the company. And as President of the Central Saxony Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he knows that all companies are faced with this problem. Ultimately, the entrepreneur is certain that the problem of a shortage of skilled workers will drive automation.

Kolbe sees the future of the mailbox industry in the so-called “user-friendly transfer units”, to put it loosely: parcel boxes that can be filled by several delivery services. “But we believe that the mailbox in its conventional way will still be current for at least ten years,” said Kolbe.

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Max Knobloch Nachf. GmbH was founded in 1869 and is known in the mailbox market under the brand name Knobloch. This makes Knobloch the oldest still producing mailbox manufacturer in Germany and the only full-range supplier in the mailbox sector.