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With his ideas and energy, Fritz Müller was a visionary who laid the foundation for what GEMÜ is today – both nationally and globally. Even when Fritz Müller passed his life's work on to the next generation in 2013, stepping down from operational business, he maintained close ties to GEMÜ – right up until his death in December 2021.
Fritz Dieter Müller was born on 2nd January 1939 in Stuttgart-Hedelfingen. Even as a child, he was particularly interested in two things: The light weight of his self-designed model aeroplanes and the speed of his self-built soapboxes.
In the 1950s, Fritz Müller laid the foundation stone for his professional career: Inspired by his inventing, he decided to train as a precision engineer. He began his apprenticeship in the area of control and regulation technology in Ingelfingen. Driven by the desire to learn, he resigned after completing his studies and gaining initial work experience, and began to study at the precision engineering school in Schwenningen. He successfully completed this in 1961. Fritz Müller then gained additional work experience in the testing department at Herion-Werke KG in Stuttgart.
In 1963, Fritz Müller made an important decision: The time to herald a paradigm shift in the world of valves and to construct his own valves had arrived. With the development of the world's first valve made of plastic, he went into business for himself and, in 1964, founded the company GEMÜ Gebrüder Müller Apparatebau GmbH & Co. KG.
Appearances at trade fairs ensured numerous orders from 1965 and annual turnover doubled in the first few years. At the point where the children's bedroom had to serve as a design office, one thing became clear to him: They needed their own premises. They opted for Criesbach for this. It was located right on the railway line and proved to be extremely advantageous.
As early as 1968, Fritz Müller expanded the company for the first time. Four years later, an additional building complex was added and, by the company's 10-year anniversary, they employed more than 100 employees.
In the years that followed, GEMÜ continued to grow and, in 1981, started to expand on an international level. To do this, Fritz Müller founded five foreign subsidiaries in Brazil, Switzerland, Great Britain, France and Sweden.
In the subsequent decades, under the management of Fritz Müller, the company developed many new and innovative products and continued to expand their product range. Furthermore, GEMÜ continued their global growth and founded various new foreign subsidiaries around the world.
Fritz Müller also continued the expansion in his native Hohenlohe. One special event was the construction of the GEMÜ Dome to mark the company's 45th anniversary, which reflects the visionary power of Fritz Müller as much as his inventiveness and his ingenuity. Today, the GEMÜ Dome is still the company's Development and Innovation Centre.
Fritz and Ingrid Müller
During his time at Herion, Fritz Müller was not only certain that he wanted to go into business for himself, but also that he had found the woman he wanted to spend his life with: Ingrid Ruchser, who also worked at Herion at this time. 1964 certainly wasn't a quiet year for Fritz Müller – after founding GEMÜ, he also married Ingrid Ruchser on 29th August in Ingelfingen. Soon thereafter, the family grew with the birth of their daughter Regina and their son Gert. In the early years of the company, Ingrid Müller also took on responsibility for accounting, and actively supported her husband.
Even though Fritz Müller was drawn out into the world time and again, he always remained deeply connected to his home town of Ingelfingen. Fritz Müller has left behind a legacy here too. For instance, he acquired unique structures with centuries of history in the form of the gate watchman's house in Ingelfingen and the Schüssler villa in Künzelsau. And let us not forget the Schloßhotel, which he took on out of his keen sense of responsibility towards Ingelfingen and which is still operated by GEMÜ today. Fritz Müller also donated a very special monument – the salt boiler fountain – to the town of Niedernhall in 2012.
Fritz Müller had a flare for preserving and designing. It was therefore clear to him that a company that grows does not just grow everywhere but rather in an environment of historic, architectural, cultural, agricultural and many other references.
New landmarks also emerged under Fritz Müller's management, such as the Ingelfinger Fass, the second-largest wooden barrel in Europe, which sits in the vineyards above the town of Ingelfingen. His commitment to viticulture had family roots. And he also supported the local clubs and associations, schools and cultural programmes.
Fritz Müller was honoured many times for his entrepreneurial and community spirit; he was awarded the ribbon Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Enterprise Medal of the State of Baden-Württemberg and the title of honorary citizen of the town of Ingelfingen.
Fritz Müller passed away on 1st December 2021. We will cherish his memory forever.