How did DORMA, Kaba, and dormakaba get their names?


On July 1, 1908, Dörken & Mankel KG was founded by Rudolf Mankel and his brother-in-law, Wilhelm Dörken in Ennepetal, Germany. The new company thrived from the very start and in 1913 they broke ground on a one-million plus square foot facility. The pair registered their new brand name, DORMA, with the German Patent Office in 1927. In 1936 Wilhelm left the company making Rudolf it’s sole proprietor. DORMA GmbH Co. KG was established in 1970.


In 1862, Franz Bauer, along with three colleagues, established a manufacturing company in Zurich, Switzerland that specialized in safes and cash registers. One early safe model, the “Franz Bauer safe”, was so exceptional that it was displayed in the 1878 Exposition Universelle, or World’s Fair, in Paris, France.

Franz died in 1908 and left the company to his sons, Adolf, Carl, and Edwin, who renamed the company Franz Bauer Söhne AG. A stock corporation, Bauer AG, was created in 1915 and Leo Bodmer, an engineer and largest shareholder at the time, became the company president. In 1934, engineer Fritz Schori created the world’s first reversible key and patented the lock under the name Kassenbauer, or “cash register maker”,  in honor of the companies’ founder, who’s surname also meant “maker” in popular usage at the time, analogous to Smith in Anglo countries.

Kassenbauer was eventually shortened to Kaba and in 1975 Bauer AG was renamed Kaba Holding AG.

The Bauer AG factory.

The Bauer AG factory.


On April 30, 2015, DORMA, still owned by members of Rudolf Mankel’s family, announced it’s intention to merge with Kaba Holding AG to form dormakaba Holding AG. The merger was completed in September of that same year.


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