Today - 80 years ago, my grandparents established Nisap Maskinfabrik, which today is known as Logitrans A/S.
Looking back at the long and exciting story, created by my parents and grandparents, I am touched and proud.
Courageous, persistent, foresighted and present
There is no doubt that my grandparents were courageous, persistent, foresighted and present. They believed in their idea, and my grandfather took pride in developing and producing quality products for customers, while my grandmother honoured to be present and take care of both family and employees. Their work, which was a combination of development and presence, has undoubtedly created the DNA, being the base of our company today.
When my grandparents bought the bankrupt smithy in Farup 80 years ago, I am sure they could not imagine the development of our company, growing from a small smithy in Farup to a global company with a huge dealer network and production in China and sales office in the USA. From chalk lines on the floor to high-tech machines and robots. From agricultural machinery and hydraulic solutions to unique handling solutions.
Many people ask: “How has this been possible?” There is no better way to tell about the first 5 years of the company's existence than my grandmother´s flashback from 1998. She was 83 years old and made the following flashback.
The flashback about the first 5 years, by the wife of Nis A. Pedersen, Ingrid Marie Pedersen (written in 1998):
“Today, when I look back on the company, growing so very big, I would like to tell, how we ended up in Farup. I had a dressmaker´s workroom in Esbjerg, and Nis worked as a smith in Tarp. Nis lost his job and did not receive any financial support. He had to find a new job very quickly. Looking in the newspaper, he saw that the smithy in Farup was for sale. The smithy had gone bankrupt, and the bank had taken over the smithy and the residence buildings.
After a lot of talking and some hesitation, we agreed to risk our savings, and we managed to provide the payment.
On May 1, 1940, we were to take over the smithy, and on April 9, 1940, Nis went to Ribe to sign the deed. This became a day rich of memories - Nis had to accompany the German Wehrmacht back to Esbjerg - the German Wehrmacht occupying Denmark.
I stayed in Esbjerg during the summer to earn money, so that electricity could be put in the residence buildings. Esbjerg was not a nice town to live in any longer - soldiers all over and the blackout time - I was pleased to leave the town on November 1. It was the coldest winter, I can remember - and we had only a little fuel.
As a wedding gift, we got two loads of peat from the parents of Nis, but the peat did not last long. During spring we had to use branches from the cemetery trees - we were allowed to take the brushwood from the pruned trees. We did not have much money the first time, and right before Christmas, Nis lost his purse, containing all our money. He had to go to the municipality in Ribe and ask for pre-payment of some work in progress. This was the first and last time, we lent money for private use.
And this although all the money we could make were used in the smithy. Sometimes it was hard, but I guess it helped that we could not buy anything anywhere. We learned how to remake our clothes, and many strange things were mixed, so that we had something to wear.
However, we also had a good and positive time. We had good neighbours, and when the streets started smelling of burned rye, we knew that we would soon gather for a cup of substitute coffee and barley meal bread. We learned to appreciate the good people, living around us, in a time when the world was out of order.
We did not see the Germans very much during the first time, but one night the war was right above us. We woke up, hearing the bullets from machine guns hit the zinc roof. It was an English plane, followed by the Germans.
One day the Germans suddenly arrived to Farup. Nis had soldiers around in the workshop; they were to shoe their horses. According to the German soldiers, four of them were to live in our home. I don´t remember how long they lived in our house, but suddenly they went to the frontline in Russia. We could feel that they were not fond of going there.
All the time, Nis worked very hard in the workshop. We had enough to do, but there was a lack of materials and spare parts.
However, nothing goes on and on, and after five long years, the war ended on 5 May 1945. We will never forget this day, nor the sight of the proud German Wehrmacht. They shuffled through Farup - no glory was left in their eyes. They were bringing old barrows, bikes and whatever might roll. They were transporting their belongings, and what they had bought for their last Danish money.
Arriving to the borderline, everything was taken away from them, and they could continue empty-handed through the German country, being shot to pieces. And this was our first five years in Farup."
Today vs back then
Back then, they were not separated from socialising with each other, as we are right now during the Corona crisis. However, they experienced just as many problems with the supply chain, as we are experiencing in these times.
When the war was over, my grandfather saw a need from the farmers for machines that could help them grow crops and clean the stables. He developed, among other things, rubber vehicles, mowing machines, wheelbarrow, beet harvester, fertilizer spreader and a manure removal system. The manure removal system was controlled by hydraulics, which meant that Nis now had know-how about hydraulic systems. This led him to develop the auto lift and other hydraulic lifting devices.
From agricultural machinery to material handling equipment
A customer asked Nis, whether he could produce 2000 hydraulic pumps for pallet trucks, and he said “Yes”. Having delivered the first 100 units, the customer went bankrupt, and my grandfather had 1900 hydraulic pumps for pallet trucks… what to do? Then he made the pallet trucks himself! And this is how the focus of product development changed from agricultural machinery and hydraulic solutions to material handling equipment.
Erling took over the company
In the mid-seventies, my father took over the company and continued to develop material handling equipment. My mother worked in the administration. My father has described why and how he took over the company from his father.
”Once upon a time, a little boy grew up in a small village in West Jutland. His parents had moved to the area a few years before he was born, because they had bought a small bankrupt smithy. The mother was a seamstress, and to contribute to the family's finances, she sewed for the village women. The father was trained as a blacksmith. The small family was founded just as World War II started. The boy in this story was born a few years after the end of the war. At that time, the situation in the village was getting better, and the family began to earn a little more than to the daily bread. Back then, it was common to help at home. The friends got jobs in the farms, and the boy got small jobs in the smithy. Even before the boy started school, he and the baker's daughter planned how to take over the smithy. It was very important for the boy that the padlock for the gate to the smithy was a part of it - in fact, the padlock was probably the most important reason why the boy - at a very young age - asked his father, if he could take over the workshop. The baker, the daughter and the padlock disappeared, but the boy took over the smithy later”.
This is how my father's story begins. The story about how he - at a very young age - knew that he was going to take over the workshop from his father.
The story about my sister and me was different. My parents had three daughters in the 70's. Back then, it was not very normal for girls to work in either industry or management. Therefore, it was not - as it was for my father - obvious that we should take over the company.
Our parents have always told us that we should choose by heart and make sure to take an education, which was interesting to us. And we did - and two of us became engineers, just like our father, while our little sister became a nurse.
In the early 70´s, my father graduated as an engineer and returned to Farup to take over the company after his father. My father celebrated his 50th work anniversary last year. Out of these 50 years, he has been a director for the 40 years. My father is 72 years old today, and he still works 30 hours a week.
Today, the company is run and owned by my sister and me, and we are SO proud that we today can celebrate the 80th anniversary and go down the memory lane of how it all started. Now it is our job to "write the story" for the next 20 years...