It may be something of a sleepy backwater, but the UK home of drainage specialists, Dallmer has long been a favourite watering hole!
We had come to talk drainage in a place, appropriately enough, which is generally regarded as the UK birthplace of the very first urban sewer system. Back in Medieval times, Lavenham was one of the 20th wealthiest places to live in England, a village grown prosperous on the wool trade whose merchants enjoyed some of the finer things Tudor life had to offer. That included the removal of waste water from their homes along specially constructed underground chambers. For many years, it was the envy of much larger towns and cities where slopping out was still very much the order of the day and whose streets were awash with foul smelling disease ridden detritus.
Today, of course, the average household will typically use more than 100 litres per person on a daily basis for cleaning and washing and then blissfully unaware, rely on gravity to make it all disappear in the blink of eye. The fact that we take all this for granted is largely down to companies like Dallmer, who have spent the past fifty years pioneering a sophisticated range of domestic and commercial drainage channels and gullies.
Best known for its Ceraline Shower channel, the company can trace its origins back to 1913 and the founding of a small engraving workshop in Leipzig by Johannes Dallmer and then onto Dortmund where it remains to this day. By the 1950s they were making cavity tools for plastic mouldings and then later items like knobs for cookers and toasters themselves. It was actually an approach from a local plumber about the possibility of plastic sink traps and floor gullies that could be more easily connected to the plastic downpipes then being introduced over the traditional cast iron, lead or copper ones which provided a pivotal moment in the company’s fortunes. Within months, moulds had been made and prototypes tried out. They were instantly popular with installers and the company grew rapidly as a leading supplier of drainage products, using plastic as diverse as polyethylene, polypropylene, ABS and polyamide with gratings in stainless steel.
And so to the 1990s and its association with what in many ways could be construed as its spiritual home in sleepy Suffolk. Local man, John Purser had been involved in supplying drainage products around the world since the 70s and had established a close connection with Joannes Junior who was by now running the Dallmer operation.
After initially helping out on improving the English in the company literature and some logistic difficulties, John took up the challenge of establishing a viable UK distribution channel out of Lavenham which quickly expanded into other places outside of Europe including Qatar, USA and the Far East.
Timing, of course, is everything and the massive adoption of new bathing habits, and the incorporation of luxury showers and wet rooms into British homes since the early 2000s, saw a healthy demand for innovative new drainage solutions. The iconic and award winning Ceraline range was revamped to provide a choice of materials and finishes, and more recently the boffins in Dortmund have come up with the Dallflex system, a flexible seven shower channel drainage option which aids cleaning and provides a choice for a variety of homeowner budgets. The range is complemented by a multitude of traps, modular floor drains, shower traps, underlays, couplings, connections and valves.
Having successfully navigated the British arm of the business through the ramifications of a global economic crisis in 2008, John’s day to day input ceased at the end of September 2017 and the business is now flowing very well under the leadership of its new UK General manager, Wayne Hailstone, who took over in October 2017.
Enthuses Wayne: “It’s clearly a tough act to follow. For twenty years John was a forceful personality in so many aspects of the business, and the industry at large, and was instrumental in bringing the Dallmer brand to an appreciative army of UK installers and specifiers looking for ready made drainage solutions. Over the coming months and years, we will be looking to take the company to the next level in terms of awareness among our trade end customers, and a number of innovative products engineered specifically for the British market will be launched later this year to help us achieve those targets.”
You get the distinct impression that Dallmer will happily continue its century long tradition of always moving very much in the right channels.
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