ROLAND brand marks centenary


In the economic history of Offenbach, it occupies a prominent position. The year 2011 marks the hundredth year since the first ROLAND model press left the factory. Along the complex path from lithography to high-tech offset, modern printing technology has widely removed itself from the early work of Senefelder. It has also come a long way since the first ROLAND in 1911. Nonetheless, its name lives on, on literally every continent, in the printing companies that use presses from Offenbach for their work. One hundred years have passed since the first ROLAND model left the manufacturer.

It’s name would later be adopted by the entire company. The Offenbach factory in question had already been in existence for around 40 years. The Franco-Prussian War forced the engineers Louis Faber and Adolf Schleicher to leave Paris in 1870. In the following year, they established their Association for Production of Automatic Lithographic Presses. Though they established the company in Frankfurt, Faber and Schleicher broke ground in Offenbach, where they were soon doing business on an international scale. Their first export model was the Albatros, which was sent in 1875 to the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. In 1911, as the first ROLAND entered the market and immediately won a gold medal at the Turin World’s Fair, the founders officially established their company as Faber & Schleicher AG.

The name: from the product to the company! In 1957, the successful model made its way into the company name, which was now Roland Offsetmaschinenfabrik Faber & Schleicher AG. Faber had died in 1896; Schleicher in 1910. In 1979, it was decided that their names, too, should be put to rest in the company archives. Another name change followed the amalgamation of the Offenbach company with the printing press unit of the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nuremberg (MAN) in Augsburg, a major long-term shareholder. The company thus became MAN Roland Druckmaschinen AG. And it stayed that way until 2008. That was the year that brought us manroland.

Today, the romantic names of the ROLAND’s predecessor models Albatros, Faust, Gretel, Odin or Delfin are reserved for specialist literature. Those models were still lithographic presses and still quite similar to the technology developed by the inventor Alois Senefelder at the turn of the 19th century in Offenbach for the André music publishing company. Faber and Schleicher were not alone in their constant expansion and advancement of this area with new technologies and designs; they and their successors were, however, always at the cutting edge of development. Their presses ultimately conquered the world market. The names of many successful new products that were developed along the way still pay tribute to the ROLAND model.

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