Our Heritage
1922 to 1936
Painting of the first workshop in 1922 at the Zalmhaven

On the 7th of august 1922 Marinus den Haan registered his tinsmithing company at the Rotterdam chamber of commerce and he settled in a building at the Zalmhaven in Rotterdam. From this building he started specialising in tinsmitthing and very different types of tin ware, although always with a nautical point of view. In a few years he added ship’s lanterns to the production.

1936 to 1940
Founding father and employees working in the workshop

In 1936 his son Marinus was incorporated in the company. Two years later his brother joined the team for some while. Because of the growing demand the company grew to a total of 16 people and the workshop of only 65 square meters  became very cramped. 

Zalmhaven after WWII Bombardment on Rotterdam

World War II started and after 5 days, on May the 14th, there was an all destructive bombardment on Rotterdam. The company and house above the workshop both went up in flames. 

New workshop at Westzeedijk

The two young brothers’ mentality wasn’t affected by the loss of their workshop and within two days a new and humble  workshop was found at the Westzeedijk in Rotterdam. It was here they spent the years of war. Only two older employees were able to continue fabricating small oil lamps, bread pans and little ovens. After the war normal life started again and some skilled workers signed up.

1947 to 1954
Sheet metal department

After the death of the founding father, M. den Haan Jr. took over control. In this year his brother Cees den Haan came back to strengthen the board. Together they tried to keep up with the increasing demand by recruiting skilled professionals and starting a learning program for students. This turned out to be an slow and painful process. The solutions was mechanization.

Large order to Dutch East Indies

The demand for ships lighting kept on rising and the export market was discovered. When the first European orders came, the United States of America and Canada soon became interested as well. In this period the idea was born to produce ships lanterns for decorative purposes. The idea was a huge success. Again, DHR was “forced” to expand their factory and a new build factory was the only option. This time they found a location at the Wijnhaven in Rotterdam and in 1962 a 3.150 square meter factory was build.

1965 to 1970
Booth at the Utrecht Exhibition Centre

In the early sixties the DHR logo as we now know it was launched, and in the following years it became a sign of quality. New decorative models were designed as well as older replica’s were added regularly to the collection.

Plastic navigation lights ready for packaging.

The use of the European waterways and the oceans for transportation became more and more intensive and expectations were high. In 1970 a global intervention came. New rules and guidelines were developed for navigation lights and acoustic signalling for example. The visibility needed to be increased and the construction of electric bulbs was defined precisely. The global intervention agreed that  all seagoing vessels after 1976 and inland navigation vessels after 1984 where obliged to adopt these new rules.

Moving machinery after taking over our last competitor

In 1979 DHR felt more or less compulsive to take over her last Dutch competitor, P.J. van den Bosch. The company kept in production under her original name until 1983. It was then that the lack of space in the mechanical department could be solved. By coincidence a 1000 square meter adjacent lot became available in which the press shop, tool shop and outgoing goods department where housed.  

1985 to 1993
R&D Head Engineer testing a new searchlight

In 1987 mr. Cees den Haan Sr. followed his brother and stopped as member of the board as well. Both their sons became director because they had been working in the company for many years now. The “seniors” stayed on as advisors and financers for the company.

Machinery from Ideal burner production line

At the end of 1993 Mr. C.G. den Haan. resigned as director. His nephew, Mario den Haan took over his company shares.  Two months later, Mario’s father, Mr. M. den Haan, company advisor, resigned as well. The holding and company management where sold to Mario den Haan and he gained full ownership of Metaalwarenfabriek Den Haan Rotterdam. But buying out his uncle and father did not mean the funding was dried up. And in 1994 a €200K CNC hydraulic deep drawer was installed in the press shop.

1995 to 1999
Newspaper article concerning the ISO certification of DHR.

In March 1995 Mr. M. den Haan Sr. resigned as company advisor. Mario den Haan gave his attention to improving the work climate and working conditions in the mechanical departments. The tool shop was expanded with a digital milling machine, that was the start of a complete modernisation of the tool shop.

In 1995 and 1996 DHR was very busy with its quality management and finally, on June the  12th 1996 received the EN ISO 9002 certification. A new computer network was installed and another step in automating production, purchasing and stock keeping was taken.

1999 to 2007
A high precision lathe is being hoisted into the factory.

In 1999 the modernisation of the tool shop was completed. In a short period of time two milling machines, a surface cutter and a high precision Weiler lathe were ordered. And 1999 turned out to be a special year. The not inconsiderable increased turnover of 1998 was maintained and the ISO9002 certificate was prolonged after 3 years. A climate chamber was ordered to further increase the quality of the products. And a barcode was added to our product labels.

2007 to 2014
Factory of DHR nowadays.