Cassen Behrends Freese, son of an East Frisian sailing family, founded a "technical business" for ship and boiler cleaning in Bremen in 1910. Out of this small family business, G. Theodor Freese GmbH grew to become an international industrial concern specialising in corrosion protection, ship deck systems and surface technology. When he founded his company in 1910, Cassen Behrends Freese demonstrated entrepreneurial vision and a willingness to take risks. His courage then enables us to now look back proudly on over 100 years of company history.
In 1910, Cassen Behrends Freese founds his technical business for ship and boiler cleaning in Bremen. He wins enough orders in the ports of Bremen and so his company grows, despite inflation and the world economic crisis.
Cassen Behrends Freese (born 20 October 1869 in Carolinensiel) – Frisian entrepreneur who paved the way for subsequent successes in Bremen.
Like most port companies and suppliers, Freese had only a few employees because the periods that ships spent in port were too irregular to be able to employ staff full time. Freese therefore recruited staff for his boiler cleaning business through the Hafenbetriebsverein (Port Business Association), which had been founded to provide staff to discharge and load the docked ships. The work of the "boiler boys" was strenuous and dirty.
The young company had its first premises in the Walle district of Bremen.
When Gustav Theodor Freese takes over from his father in 1937, he has plenty of work in the shipyards and in structural engineering for non-rusting and stone-wood floors (a mixure of magnesia cement and Wood shavings). Gustav Theodor Freese begins to develop products for ship and industrial flooring. The company is renamed "G. Theodor Freese".
Following the serious damage to Bremen in the War, Gustav Theodor Freese tried out a new business idea in the post-war period:he produced artificial marble under the name UTILITH and sold it to schools and construction companies, and developed a stone-wood floor named FREESONIT.
By 1954, there was no longer enough space in the old business premises. Freese found a larger site not far away, at 33 Pillauer Str. , in 1954, and set up a workshop and a production hall there. From 1955, the striking words "Fussboden Freese Bremen – Hamburg" were emblazoned on the shavings silo, as G. Theodor Freese had taken over the Hamburg firm Heinz Seuffert, establishing a foothold on the banks of the Elbe.
A large order in 1958 crowned the rapid growth of the post-war period:Norddeutsche Lloyd refurbished the "Pasteur" as a passenger flagship, renaming it "Bremen" (V), and the shipyard commissioned to carry out the work, Vulkan in Bremen, appointed Freese to complete the
corrosion protection and flooring work. This was the first time the newly developed TEFROTEX® and TEFROKA® floors were used. The Freeses were proud to have worked on the prestigious project.
In 1961, the third generation joins the company, in the person of Karl-Wilhelm Theodor Freese (born 23 June 1934). Theodor Freese Jun. returns to Bremen from travelling in the USA with new ideas for shipbuilding and flooring.
In 1965 Hans Uwo Freese (born 28 September 1937) also decides to join the company. He recognises potential in polymers for shipbuilding and construction and introduces new products based on this material into the company. The new materials also opened up new opportunities for the corrosion protection business.
By now, space at 33 Pillauer Str. had also become too limiting. The aim was also to bring the production facilities, which up to this point had been based in Achim, under one roof with the development department. And so in 1974 new company premises were built in Schongauer Str. that were "suitable for the further expansion of the company", as the invitation to the opening of the site self-confidently declared.
In 1989, an additional storey had to be added to the company premises to create more office space. This was only sufficient for a few years, however.
After the death of Theo Freese in 1986, Hans Uwo Freese had to manage the growing company alone. He successfully gained new customers and markets and the company steadily grew. After eleven busy years, Hans Uwo Freese headhunted Olaf Ploeger in 1997 as additional Managing Director. Together they restructured the company and prepared the relocation of the company.
In 2003 a new dry mortar plant with a larger production capacity is built in Carl-Benz-Straße in Bremen, and Freese AG is established as the parent company for the operating activities of the business divisions. The foundation stone for further growth is laid. Hans Uwo Freese and
Olaf Ploeger head the company.
In 2010, GTF celebrates its hundredth anniversary in the company of numerous guests. Although the "technical business" of the founder C. B. Freese and today's corporation are worlds apart, the 100 years of family tradition also play an important part in the future prospects of
the company. With Christian Freese as Managing Director, the fourth "Freese-generation" has joined the company meanwhile.
The Group is doing well in its flooring technology, ship deck coverings and corrosion protection divisions. The Group is managed by Christian Freese and Olaf Plöger.
Our company’s history is marked by spectacular projects in shipbuilding, for industry and in commercial construction, but also by hard work and unflagging commitment. The jobs may change, but our aim of solving them as effectively as possible remains the same. Skilled craftsmanship, good products and the ability of our employees to find appropriate technical solutions for our customers time and again has distinguished our business activities over 100 years and is the foundation that our company's success is built on.
Innovative drive and flexibility remain the strengths of the company. We hope that our combination of experience and creativity, embedded in a long-term strategy, will guarantee the future of GTF Freese. Through new products and services our growth will continue internationally too.