The core BILSTEIN brand can look back on a 140-year history. When the company was founded in Altenvoerde (now Ennepetal) in 1873, no one dreamed what a great influence products from BILSTEIN would have one day on the road safety and driving comfort of the automobile. It was initially window fittings which were to give the company founded by August Bilstein a reputation that stretched far beyond the local regions into neighbouring countries. A number of patented technical innovations formed a solid basis for the later successes of the still young company. To satisfy the high quality demands even in the preliminary phases of fittings manufacture, BILSTEIN set up its own strip iron rolling mill as far back as 1919. In the 1920s, Hans Bilstein, who had taken over the management of the company from his father, returned from the USA to his home in the Westphalia region with some new ideas for methods of nickel and chrome plating.
Thanks to the technical inspirations gained in America, BILSTEIN managed to gain a foothold in the automobile industry in 1927 in cooperation with the Levator-Hebezeug-Fabrik from Berlin. BILSTEIN supplied the first chrome-plated bumper for series automobile production, began with the manufacture of jacks and produced the first functional side-car jack.