Altenburger Pergament und Trommelfell GmbH


In 1882, under his own name, Conrad August founded the Altenburg “Pergament & Trommelfell” GmbH (Parchment & Drumhead Inc.) which is still in existence today. The basis for this was the fact that the Altenburg Garrison and the company “Wunderlich Pauken” (Wonderous Timpani) were located in Altenburg.

In 1905, his sons Ernst and Paul took equal parts in the company.

In 1913 worldwide export began and the company was incorporated in the commercial register as “Brothers Conrad” formerly “A. Conrad.”

In 1929, division of the aforementioned company occurred between Ernst and Paul Conrad. Besides producing drumheads, Paul Conrad began to produce leather, while Ernst Conrad upheld tradition and continued to produce parchment and drumheads.

In 1930, despite the economic crisis, Ernst Conrad continued to expand export. Overseas clients and many European countries became customers in Altenburg. Parchment production was on the upswing due to the fact that book binders, furniture, clock and lamp manufacturers had begun to appreciate high-quality material once again. The material was found to be useful in interiors as well. In 1932, the ceiling of the Stuttgart city hall was covered with our parchments. By the beginning of World War II, the company had expanded to 20 employees.

The Second World War destroyed all previously existing connections. Raw materials became scarce and the staff was reduced due to the war. Under difficult conditions production resumed in 1945. By 1950 the need for drumheads in Germany could be met again.

Following the death of Ernst Conrad in 1960, almost all economic relations had been restored and his children, Rudolf and Karl Conrad stepped in to fill his shoes.

In 1963, the U.S. introduced plastic drumheads onto the market. The Altenburgers developed a completely different product from the one produced in United States and therefore remained independent on the market. Due to the high demand for plastic heads, a second smaller factory was created in Altenburg. Export expanded to the former USSR, Cuba, China, Korea, Vietnam and other socialist states.

In 1972, the expropriation of the company occurred under the control of the GDR. The management of the company was kept in the hands of Rudolf Conrad.

In 1975, after 93 years of operation, the government in power and the internal rules of affairs managed to make the company history . In 1978, due to illness, Rudolf Conrad left his operation. His brother Karl left as well. From then on, “planned economy” was in control until the end of the GDR in 1989. Consequently, a trust took over management until the company could be sold.

In 1993, after careful negotiations with the trust, a married couple, the Kotzenbergs, acquired the operation and installed a long-time employee, Mrs. Kerbs, as CEO. The stance of the couple on this ancient trade was ultimately responsible for the purchase and maintenance of the business. From then on, keeping with the philosophy of the founder, the company was eased back to the old hand craft and led by economic success.