BAADER - 100 Years

Innovating Food Value Chains



Founded in 1919

Lübeck, 1919. The First World War is over, there is social unrest and the economy is slow to pick up. Against all the odds, inspired and supported by his father-in-law Paul Lohrmann, 34- year-old engineer Rudolph Max Joseph Baader sets up a firm to build machinery for fast and efficient fish processing. As a business idea, it is a good fit for Lübeck, which has a long tradition in the food, canning and fishing industries. Food was in short supply during the war, but now the fishing industry is about to make a fresh start. Feeding the population is a key objective at this time.

Founder Rudolph M. J. Baader

Rudolph Baader, who was born in Leipzig, has been married since 1913 to Ella Lohrmann, the daughter of Paul Lohrmann, who owns a Lübeck fish-canning factory. Lohrmann is looking for ways to improve fish processing and fixes on his son-in-law. Rudolf Baader is 34 years old. He gained considerable experience before the First World War, working as a mechanical engineer in Chemnitz, Switzerland and France and, more recently, in a company in Hamburg. Shortly after the end of the war, Lohrmann invites his son-in-law to Lübeck to develop machines. Rudolph Baader seizes the opportunity. His pioneering technical developments mark the start of the Nordischer Maschinenbau Rud. Baader success story.

The first company building at Wakenitzmauer 33 in Lübeck
The first company building from the view of the Kanalstrasse in Lübeck

The Founding

Lübeck, 1919. The First World War is over, there is social unrest and the economy is slow to pick up...

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The first filleting machine for herring

Technical progress and mechanisation increase around 1920. The first cars are being driven on the roads, and assembly line production is transforming trade and industry. The fish industry, however, is still largely dominated by manual labour. Rudolph Baader is familiar with the cold buildings of the Lohrmann fish-canning factory, where herring is headed, skinned and filleted on long tables. The work is laborious and inefficient. Demand for processed fish could be higher but supply and sales remain limited.

Tough conditions: Manuel herring processing at the beginning of the last century.

This is something Rudolph Baader is determined to change: he wants to improve and rationalise fish processing and strengthen fish sales by replacing manual tasks with machines.

The first heading and deboning machine for hering

So far, there are no fish-processing machines that can carry out more than one task. Rudolph Baader is a pioneer entering uncharted territory. As an engineer, he knows that all attempts at mechanisation have foundered on one central problem: how to transport the fish to the individual processing units within the machine. Baader finds an ingenious solution, which is patented in April 1921: the fish are fixed to tail clips, which then transport them to the individual units. The first filleting machines for herring are manufactured and sold as early as 1921. In 1922, Baader presents its 450 model at the Lübeck fisheries exhibition.

Two BAADER employees setting up the machine
Assembly hall with the first heading and deboning machines for hering

First Filleting Machine

Technical progress and mechanisation increase around 1920. The first cars are being driven on the roads, and …

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Pre-packaged fish - The birth of the fish fillet

Rudolph Baader designs fish processing machines but is also interested in fish recipes. Until now, fish – mainly herring – has been prepared traditionally, but in several different ways. As a low-cost food, it is widespread inland as well as on the coast. Now, new types of fish, such as cod, saithe and other whitefish, are appearing on the market. They are usually sold fresh, whole and only in limited quantities. The fish are too big for many households and people are also put off by the effort involved in preparing them. Above all, whole fish are difficult to transport for sale in non-coastal regions. As a result, large quantities are turned into fish meal, which means they are no longer available for human consumption.

Rudolph Baader thinks about solutions to this problem. If, while still at the dockside, the fish could be turned into a product that was ready to cook, it would be more attractive to many customers and sales could be increased. In order to achieve this, the fish would have to be gutted, headed, filleted, skinned and halved. In 1925, Baader sets up Fischfilet GmbH and a distribution company called Tütenfisch AG (the name means ‘fish in a bag’). Soon the fishmongers are selling the first filleted herrings in bags – the fish fillet is born! It takes a while for this type of processed fish to catch on, because it involves a lot of manual work. But Rudolph Baader recognises its potential as a pioneering product and his machines are a good way of processing fish quickly and efficiently. This paves the way for the spread of the fish fillet, including the pre-packaged fish sold by Tütenfisch AG.

The Birth of the Fish Fillet

The first filleted herrings are pre-packaged sold in bags…

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UK branch and new service concepts

In the Golden Twenties (the second half of the 1920s), demand for fish and processing machines increases. From Lübeck, BAADER not only supplies customers along the German coastline but also sells machines abroad.

Transport of the machines in 1926

In Britain, one model in particular proves very popular: a herring- processing machine specially developed to produce the kippers so popular with the British (herring that has been gutted and split lengthways down the back, leaving the main bones in oneside). In Germany, kippers are known as ‘Fleckhering’. In 1927, Rudolph Baader establishes Fisadco (Fish Industrial and Development Company Ltd, London) in Aberdeen, Scotland. BAADER now has its first office abroad.

Mr. Rowton (left) our Agent in England with Rudolph Baader (right)

Around the same time, BAADER brings out two klipfish machines. These cut up large whitefish, such as cod and haddock. The BAADER 414 heads them, while the BAADER 420 splits them and removes some of the bones. The klipfish is one step closer to becoming a fish fillet.

Advertisment for boned kippers of supplier in England 1928

Newspaper article about boned kippers in 1928

However, the fishing season is short – restricted to the summer and autumn – and afterwards the herring-processing machines stand idle for months. The seasonal workers do not make much of an effort to maintain them because the machines also put their jobs at risk. The company keeps receiving complaints. In 1929, Rudolph Baader decides to stop selling the machines and to hire them out for the season instead. Delivery, servicing and repairs by the company’s own mechanicsare included in the hire price. At the end of the season, the machines are given a complete overhaul. This modern hire and service scheme goes down well with customers. BAADER machines are soon being used in the Netherlands, Belgium and France, as well as in Germany and the UK.

The Golden Twenties

The idea of machine leasing and all-round worry-free service packages increases demand for fish processing machines in several countries and the expansion path starts...

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Worldwide, 2019. Various global trends are shaping the food industry. At the centre are increasingly conscious consumers. Conscious consumers are becoming more mindful about what they buy as they seek to combat some of the negative effects consumerism is having on the world. They seek traceability from farm to fork and water to plate and demand much higher standards in terms of quality, food safety, sustainability and animal welfare.Technological evolutions such as cell-cultured meat, 3D printing, new supermarket models and other digital innovations with the help of IoT are putting enormous pressure on established food industries.

Cultured Meat

Ideas such as how cell-cultured meat – meat production using cells grown in bioreactors, without all the environmental degradation that comes with raising and slaughtering livestock – might one day feed the global population are no longer centuries away.

3D Food Printing

Recent innovations have made possible machines that print, cook and serve food on a large scale. And the industry’s luminaries are not stopping there: 3D food printers could improve the nutritional value of meals, produce intricate sculptures out of everyday foodstuff and solve hunger in regions of the world that lack access to fresh, affordable ingredients.

Insects as Alternative Source of Proteins

Insects are appealing to the food and feed industry around the world as a high-quality source of proteins and edible oils with a significant source of vitamins and minerals. Protein and fat recovery factories, where insect protein is being processed, are popping up around the globe.

Ready-To-Eat and Grab-And-Go Meals

The rise of ready-to-eat and grab-and-go meals are shaping global food and beverage packing trends. Clever portioning methods can support this increasing demand.


Digitalisation is changing our economy and our society. Through new digital solutions, the food industry can reach previously unattainable levels of transparency, traceability, food safety and overall value chain performance resulting in new business models.

The BAADER Response

As a leading provider of food processing solutions, it becomes necessary for BAADER to leverage its competencies within these global trends. While its knowledge and experience in food processing technology is and remains the company’s core DNA, it simply is not enough anymore. BAADER is actively looking beyond its own value creation and is expanding its digital scope to all kinds of stakeholders working along food value chains.

100 years after founding, BAADER is renewing itself once again making it visible with a new appearance and brand promise. We Innovate Food Value Chains emphasises the four cornerstones of the BAADER mission: We are BAADER – One BAADER. And together we can drive Innovation covering the entire and several Value Chains in and beyond food processing with the goal of providing safe, quality and traceable Food to global consumers.

And as One BAADER, the company is celebrating its
100-year anniversary together with customers, employees and business partners – wherever they are.

2019 is a year of celebration for BAADER, looking back and looking ahead, a year of new beginnings.

A New Image

Worldwide, 2019. The global increasing consciousness about food origin and quality is shaping the entire food value chain …

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“For 100 years, we have helped innovate food value chains while staying true to the values that made it possible to be where we are today."

- Petra Baader -

From design and features to applications and operations, our products and services represent the latest in technology, innovation and quality. Our new branding and brand promise reflect the past, current and future direction of the entire BAADER Group.

That said, we’re still the same down-to-earth, family-run company looking forward to the next 100 years.

When you are passionate about what you do, it is amazing how quickly time passes by. One moment you are a small, family-run company in the north of Germany and the next you’re a global corporation providing modern digital solutions to innovate food value chains.

It’s now been exactly 100 years since everything began and much has changed. This year, we are renewing ourselves once again, working on being tuned into the demands and challenges of the digital world.

100 Years of Commitment and Competence

1919 - 2019