The company's history began in 1918, when it was first set up by Franz Kaldewei. At first, it provided raw goods for the enameling industry, such as laundry tubs and frying pans; later, milk churns and dairy equipment were added to the product lineup. In 1928 Franz's son Heinrich Kaldewei joined the board of management and actively encouraged the company to produce what would be Kaldewei's first steel bathtub; manufacturer commenced in 1934. In those days, bathtubs were made of several parts that were welded together. In 1958 Kaldewei produced the world's first "seamless" bathtub, which was made from a single metal sheet with no welding seams. Within a decade, these seamless drawn steel bathtubs had superseded the cast iron tubs that had dominated the market until then. Franz Dieter Kaldewei, who has been running the company since 1973, has made it into Europe's most progressive bathtub manufacturer with the world's biggest capacities and highest quality standards. With a material thickness of 3.5 millimeters, Kaldewei has set new standards for quality. Kaldewei's steel enamel, with its easy-clean finish, is a patented surface finish that is already a standard feature on many bathtubs and shower trays.