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125 years of Prey

In a few years the smithy founded in 1892 grew to an industrial plant for steel and mechanical engineering. Now the current Rud. Prey GmbH & Co. KG is having their 125th anniversary.

The OLift in the Water Tower at Ravensberg in Kiel. (Photo: © LMPIX Heiko Landkammer, 2016)

When Rudolf Prey established the current Rud. Prey GmbH & Co. KG during the so-called “Founder’s crisis”, he undoubtedly had no idea how many world economic, currency, oil and banking crises his family company would still have to survive apart from two world wars.

Within a few years the company had developed under its founder from smithy to an industrial enterprise for steel and mechanical engineering; it began to manufacture lifts in 1908 and the second generation in 1951 laid the foundation with the invention of modern fire hose maintenance technology for the second pillar of the fire brigade technology.

Serial construction of lifts

In the mid-1960s, the third generation began with the serial construction of lifts. During the 1970s, development and design also concentrated on the construction of special mobile installations.

HandwerkFor example, Rud. Prey erected the hydraulically operated spatial structures of the Kiel Baltic Hall with a span of 40 x 40 m and 42 tons total weight, the underwater service installation of the deep diving bell of the marine school in Neustadt and the bridge service installations for Europe’s longest high-level iron railway bridge in Rendsburg.

In 1999 Rud. Prey designed, built and developed the biggest, heaviest and most expensive passenger lift in the world for Planet M at the EXPO 2000 in Hanover on behalf of the Bertelsmann Media Group in the form of the Space Lift. The lift carried 210 people, a total load of 50,000 kg and cost about DM 3 million. In 2008 the great-grandson of the company founder, Thomas Prey, took over the family company as sole partner and managing director.

Big exhibition centre

Since 2012, the company has been managed under the Prey brand. The Kiel headquarters was completely modernised and in 2016 it was expanded by a 680 m² exhibition centre for lift cars and fire brigade technology. Parallel to the redesigned brand, the fundamentally revised product design found its way into all the production and administration areas of the company.

Today Prey currently generates 15.6 million euros with almost 130 employees and extraordinary high vertical integration in Kiel. Eight branches from Sylt to Hanover and Neubrandenburg to Bremen guarantee the assembly and service of lifts while five “flying service stations” look after the fire brigade technology, special installations and ship lifts - a total of 4,000.