KELLER Home » KCS » Company history

The history of the KELLER company

In 1894, the Laggenbeck machinist Carl Keller (1847-1932) invented the finger car. This rather inconspicuous device was the beginning of automation in the brick and tile industry. Keller‘s realisation that his finger car would have no chance without a functioning dryer system was the impulse for further innovative developments.


Carl Keller first found an Osnabrück-based company as a partner, which patented his finger car and which he authorised to build and market it for 10 years. However, he was not satisfied with the quality of the built finger car and established his own repair shop in Laggenbeck, where he improved it. After the patent use expiration, he took over the production at the Laggenbeck site in 1904. A few years later, the product range had already been extended to rotating and lifting gears, transfer cars and elevators. In 1910, he developed the first fully automatic brick handling machine of type „Hörstel", a combination of cutter, pallet conveyor and elevator. This was the breakthrough for mechanisation.

Carl Keller put a lot of his heart and soul into the commercialisation and distribution of his products. He travelled to Russia before the First World War, where the first fully automatic brick handling machine was installed in Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea.

In the context of the reparations that the German Reich had to carry out after the First World War, KELLER supplied machines to North France and Belgium. First machines were also sold to Uruguay and Argentina.

After the difficult years of the Depression at the beginning of the 1930s, business picked up again from that time on. KELLER found its old domestic and foreign markets again and found more and more access to the underdeveloped Southeast European countries.

During the Second World War, KELLER became an armament factory. Russian war prisoners were assigned to the company and the company’s own permanent workers had mostly to join the army. A quarter of them were killed in the war.

After the reconstruction, the KELLER company achieved a breakthrough and became a globally active machine and plant manufacturer.

In 1954, KELLER founded its sister company named KELLER Spezialtechnik, which developed and manufactured control and measuring systems for dryers, and acquired a majority of the shares of the Pyro-Werk in Hanover, a company that had been producing pyrometers for non-contact temperature measurements since 1925. In 1971, the administration and production was moved from Hanover to Laggenbeck. In 1977, KELLER Spezialtechnik and Pyro-Werk merged to initially form KELLER Spezialtechnik-Pyrowerk GmbH which became the MSR division in 1990.

In addition to the systematic development and the worldwide sale of pyrometers, the business unit MSR also established its own automation department. The focus of this department lies on control system for plants in the bulk materials handling industry as grain mills or compound feed plants.

KELLER is a commercial, innovative and globally operating company. In addition to the continuous technological developments, the trusting partnership with our customers and their satisfaction are our top priority.

In 2018, the business units were reorganized. We will present you these business units on the following pages.

Since 2006, KELLER is a division of the French Groupe Legris industries.