1921-2021
The Company

Before the plant was built

A decision about the location of planned factory in this specific, and no other place, may be determined by a lot of factors. It happens, even in the case of large projects, that they are constructed in so far undeveloped space. However, as a rule such places are selected which, due to their past and location, are perfectly suitable to write another chapter in the history of industrial development. It was the case of Kontakt.

The placement of the enterprise headquarters in this specific location in 1921 was not just a random decision, as in the area existed unused, and fairly new, industrial facilities: the remnants of Neumann company mill operations.

1921

Company foundation

The enterprise was created on July 12th, 1921 at the initiative of representatives of Polish industry, Industrial Bank (Bank Przemysłowy) and Industrial Bank of Silesia (Śląski Bank Przemysłowy). The initial name of the company was Spółka Akcyjna Przemysłu Elektrycznego “Czechowice” (“Czechowice” Joint Stock Company of Electrical Industry). Initially the factory manufactured resistors, installation, lighting and signalling equipment, and electrical meters. Later to the product range were introduced isolation holders, fuse sockets, rotary switches, and very popular at that time porcelain-housed electrical wall socket.

The Polish Industrial Bank, having the idea of creation in Poland of self-contained electrical engineering industry, ordered in the execution of this program the preparation of the electrical device factory design to the engineer, Mr A. W. Schleyen.

The design documentation submitted by Mr Schleyen on December 15th, 1920 was accepted by the Industrial Bank and, jointly with the Industrial Bank of Silesia and a businessman, Mr Zygmunt Lewakowski, they set up a founders committee to achieve the goal of the planned enterprise establishment. On January 10th, 1921 the real estate of Czechowice consisting of about 5 ½ morga of land, a mill with auxiliary buildings and a 125 HP steam machine were bought, in exchange for shares of the future enterprise; in this way Neumann & Co entered the founders’ team which appointed Dr Marcin Szarski, Dr Maryan Niemczewski, Mr Alfred Goldklang, Mr Tadeusz Filippi and Mr Adolf Schleyen as the executive committee, with an order to take all steps necessary for the project implementation. The enterprise to be established was named Spółka Akcyjna Przemysłu Elektrycznego “Czechowice” (“Czechowice” Joint Stock Company of Electrical Industry).

15XII
During the initial 18 years the plant changed the manufacturing profile from piece and small series into high batch and mass production. The Company also designed products on their own with preparation of prototypes!

Global crisis

The global crisis commenced in 1929 did not miss the Company: serious problems with product sales arouse and the Plant found itself at the verge of bankruptcy. A lot of people were laid off, and those remaining had their pay reduced. Neumann brothers saved the day providing a loan of 2 million zloty to the Company.

Recovering

In 1932 Mr Ernest Lang (MSc Eng.) took the helm of the plant and hired company restructuring specialists. In this way gradual systematic recovery process was possible. In 1938 the plant generated profit of 400 000 zloty having annual turnover exceeding 3 million zloty.

Architectural drawing of the mill, the oldest building of the future factory, designed by the Carl Korn architectural office in Bielsko
The main and at the same time oldest building of the plant A photo of 1930, or perhaps earlier. Two parts are visible: the four- and three-floor ones, and the mansard roof.
A share of the plant from the interwar period – from the collection of Mr Jan Dastych
1939-1945
the time of War
During the II World War the occupants reorganised production, to begin manufacturing for the needs of army.

Occupation

The Wehrmacht occupied the company facilities. From then on it was named Elektro-Industrie Aktien Gesellschaft “Czechowice”, in forced administration.

The end of War

The inevitable approach of the front forced the Germans to stop production on January 26th, 1945.

„Tschechowitz”

The unofficial German name “Tschechowitz” was in use, with the following address: Bestwinerstrasse 19. However, the old logo was still used, consisting of PEC letters in a triangle (Przemysł Elektryczny Czechowice – Electrical Engineering Industry Czechowice).

The demand on electrical installation equipment for military purposes was so huge that in the course of the II WW the plant had to operate three shifts. In “Tschechowitz” slave labourers from the occupied areas were employed.

1945-1960
“Kontakt” in People’s Republic of Poland (PRL)

Pre-war design
projects

Production of 250 articles based on pre-war design was started. The most important of them were: flushand surface mounted 6A/250V switches, 10A/250V wall sockets, fuse sockets with heads and 25A, 63A, 500V fuse elements, thread resistors E14, E27 and E40 in metal or plastic housings and excess current protection screw-in circuit breakers 6A, 10A and 15A.

“Czechowice”

On May 15th 1945 the plant was released from soviet military administration end came under control of the Polish national administration. The Spółka Akcyjna Przemysłu Elektrycznego “Czechowice” (“Czechowice” Joint Stock Company of Electrical Engineering Industry) under national administration was established.

The first invoice after the War

The first after-war invoice for 186 zloty was issued on May 17th, 1945.

The Plant was developing continuously. It is worth mentioning that during 15 post-war years a number of technological and production improvements were introduced. What’s more, in that period 1175 employee improvement suggestions had been submitted, of which as many as 350 were implemented into production and 8 inventions – patented.

A-43 Czechowice

In 1949 the factory was placed under administration of Zakłady Wytwórcze Sprzętu Instalacyjnego Przedsiębiorstwo Państwowe in Bydgoszcz (State-owned Manufacturing Plants of Installation Equipment in Bydgoszcz) as a detached A-43 Plant Czechowice. A Technology and Rationalisation Club was organised; its main achievements were associated with development of tools for manufacturing of the E27 bulb screw bases.

The 1950s

New products were launched. It is worth mentioning among them metal-housed holders, switches, sockets, plugs and multi-pin connectors; this range of products will constitute an important element of production until 1990s.

Independence

In 1951 the plant regained independence and operated under name of Czechowickie Zakłady Wytwórcze Sprzętu Instalacyjnego (Czechowice Manufacturing Plants of Electrical Engineering Equipment).

„Kontakt”

In March 1959 the enterprise was renamed again into Fabryka Sprzętu Elektrotechnicznego “Kontakt” (“Kontakt” Electrical Engineering Equipment Factory).

SIMP

A chapter of Association of Polish Mechanical Engineers (SIMP) has been established in the company, with Mr Alfons Mynarski as the president. On the SIMP initiative a technical reading room/library was founded, with 2000 volumes collected.

1960-1979
development
and automation

The most important achievement of 1960s was the gold medal of Jubilee Leipzig Trade Fair (East Germany) for PAWN-25, a multifunctional automat.

Besides the new products, the manufacturing process automation was the factor of great importance. The plant expansion was also the area of investments: a new transformer sub-station and high-voltage switchgear were built, and an entry scale was installed. In the A-building a lift was built-in.

An event of significant importance was the establishment of the Development Construction Office in 1962 (later known as Elgos). It was initiated by the management of Association of the Cable and Electrical Engineering Equipment Industry).

The guard house and office building in 1970 Clearly visible, typical for the times of the People’s Republic of Poland, propaganda slogans and personal cars often used by the establishments’ directors and other officials: a soviet Volga GAZ-21 (left) and FSO Warszawa.

Pocket torch

Manufacturing of multi-pin connectors in aluminium housing and aluminium sockets and plugs (for agriculture) was commenced. Among other products were also sewing machine speed controllers and... U-43 battery pocket torches.

As in previous decades, the 1960s brought also many (371) employee improvement suggestions of which almost half (180) were implemented. In the period also 18 patents were granted, including 7 international ones.

A drawing showing Polam-Kontakt with the new No 8 hall and sports grounds in 1975
Panoramic view of the plant in 1970s
To the right of the office building and already completed new guard house, the No 8 hall can be seen, the most important hall of Kontakt Company at that time.
The Kontakt Company had in 1970s a substantial machine park and was the leading manufacturer in the electrical engineering equipment branch.

In 1972 a multi-plant enterprise was established named Śląskie Zakłady Wytwórcze Sprzętu Elektrotechnicznego (Silesian Manufacturing Plants of Electrical Engineering Equipment). As the Plant No 1 the FSE Kontakt in Czechowicach was incorporated into that conglomerate.

The commencement of production of an automatic screw-in circuit breaker took place in 1974.
In 1976 the name of whole enterprise was changed into Południowe Zakłady Przemysłu Elektrotechnicznego “Polam-Kontakt” (“Polam-Kontakt” Southern Plants of Electrical Engineering Equipment Industry).
The year 1978 brought the beginning of production of a switch actuated by infrared radiation; Kontakt Company became a pioneer in electronics.

The events of 1980 and martial law

Strike activity of NSZZ Solidarność was limited to short, two-hour warning strikes. Somewhere around half of the plant production had some applications in military equipment and therefore the army was permanently present in the factory, excluding any more extensive strike action.

1980-1994
the period of change

At the beginning of 1980s manufacturing of extension cords, connectors, and later also chandeliers was commenced. Until the second half of 1990s, apart from the domestic market, these were also the main export products. Between 1981 and 1983 two new halls for production and warehousing, respectively were constructed, together with complete social facilities. The Tooling Department and Plastic Processing Department were transferred there.
To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the plant foundation, the Company Museum was opened in 1986 at the 2nd floor of the building No 8.

Beginning of the 1990s. A limited liability company named Toolmet was established, taking over the tool shop duties.

In 1992 the company name was changed into Fabryka Sprzętu Elektrotechnicznego “Kontakt” (“Kontakt” Electrical Engineering Equipment Factory).

1994-2005
after re-privatisation

Great changes!

In 1990s the Company went through the biggest changes both in the structure and production. In July 1994 Kontakt Company was converted into a sole shareholder company of the State Treasury named Fabryka Sprzętu Elektrotechnicznego “Kontakt SA” (“Kontakt SA” Electrical Engineering Equipment Factory). A year later the company shares were incorporated into National Investment Funds.

Modern solutions!

In 1995 production of holders manufactured in advanced technology of thermoplastic material (polyester) processing was launched. That solution had a significant impact on the natural environment protection by avoiding manufacturing of non-recyclable plastic elements and, due to elimination of some metal components, reducing generation of some environmentally hazardous wastewaters containing chromium compounds.
It was the result of the FSE Kontakt S.A. involvement into activities of the Polish Cleaner Production Movement.

ISO 9001

The Company implemented a quality assurance system ISO 9001 for products of electronic and teletechnical industry.

The first foreign shareholder

The year 2002 had part in the history of the company by acquisition of the first foreign shareholder. National Investment Fund Magna Polonia sold some shares of Kontakt to the Italian company Urmet Domus International SA.

Kontakt-Simon S.A.

A half of shares had been sold to the Spanish group Simon Holding and in 2005 the name was changed to Kontakt-Simon S.A.

Urmet and Simon are equal shareholders, with 50% of company shares each. The Company’s share capital is equal to 3 582 698,04 PLN.

2005-2021
contemporary times
Kontakt-Simon S.A. is a leader on the Polish market in the segment of switches and sockets. We offer products for all groups of customers from economy (Simon 10 series) to luxury (Simon 100 series) segments.

Each newly introduced series is an innovative solution, including assembly facilitating measures, design and materials used.

Kontakt-Simon series of electrical installation equipment dedicated to various segments of the market.

Simon 100

– a series with unique and modern design, setting up new standards in switches and sockets.

Simon 82 Detail

– a series developed for customers expecting interesting design and a very wide scope of products. Series has two frame variants: Original, Select.

Simon 82 Nature

- a unique, nature-inspired series of 16 frames made of wood, metal and glass.

Simon 54 Touch

– a series of glass, touch-activated switches.

Simon 54

– series with particularly wide range of products, including also electronic products. Simon 54 has two frame versions: Premium and Nature. A sub-group Simon 54 GO has been separated from this series – with the possibility to be controlled with a smartphone.

Simon Basic

– a series that allows application of a wide range of products depending on the installation type (2 frame variants: Standard and Neos).

Simon 15

– a series using 16A switches in a budget version.

Simon 10

– basic series of modular accessories.

Simon Akord

– basic product, complete, frameless

Simon Aquarius

– surface-mounted series (IP54), offering splash-proof switches and sockets.

Simon Aquaclick

– a series of surface-mounted products with modern design and easy installation.

New implementations 2021

Simon 54 GO

– smartphone-controlled electronic products providing access to your own house from everywhere in the world.

Simon 100 iO

– modern, designer series with unique look, controlled with Wi-Fi from any point in the world. An ideal option for a modern interior.

Simon 54 Touch

– electronical series of glass panels with touch modules

Connectivity Systems

In July 2006 the offer of Kontakt-Simon Company was extended by introducing into Polish market electricity distribution products manufactured in Spain.

These products make it possible to assembly electrical and ICT installations and are dedicated to business: offices, logistic-industrial centres, hotels, shops and galleries in shopping centres.
The offer includes: floor installation boxes, power supply columns, wall and floor trunking, furniture power supply blocks and accessories with two socket systems: SIMON 500 and 45x45. CabloPlus – trunking dedicated to assembly in medical facilities received the PHZ approval certificate in March 2021.

Beginning of collaboration on foreign markets

Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Moldova, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Morocco, Mexico.

Subsidiaries

Establishing of subsidiaries/shareholding acquisition in foreign companies
– in 2007 in Torino the Simon Urmet Italy company was founded
– in 2005 in Kiev the Kontakt-Simon Ukraine company was established
– in 2014 shares of Norwegian Kontakt-S AS were aquired and Kontakt-Simon Nordic Company was created
– in 2019 the Kontakt-Simon CZ spol. s.r.o. was established, with registered office in Smržovka.

In several recent years, in connection with dynamic development, the infrastructure of the Company has been expanded significantly.

Investments

A new (4d) assembly hall was built in 2008 and another one (4e) – in 2013. At that time the compressor house building was also commissioned.

In 2019 another (4f) manufacturing building was completed. Furthermore a new warehouse and office building (No 8) were commissioned.

The 2020 brought the construction of acutely needed additional car parking and new granulate storage silos were built. For the coming years some further much expected investments are planned.

Sustainable development

– activities for the benefit of natural environment

GRAJ W ZIELONE (play in green)

– the product packaging returned by the customers were sent to a company manufacturing ecological lawn grids. Thanks to that action where used foil had been recycled, the quantity of waste was reduced!

PAFNUKI

– an extraordinary educational action for children concerning electricity saving. A cycle of stories about Pafnuki, some little Earth-saving creatures, combined with a competition for illustrations. Theatre performances organised at schools of Silesia Voivodship were the prizes in that competition.

Acting locally

education and support for public cultural institutions (e.g. Theatre in Bielsko-Biała, Rock&Blues Festival)
– supporting of sport events and sportsmen/sportswomen (including Magdalen Solich, the freediving World Champion)

Activities for the benefit of society

– sustainable development, contributions for charities

– #szczytnycel – the most recent action for the company’s 100th anniversary under the auspices of Mr Krzysztof Wielicki. Over 1000 people hiked mountain trails collecting points convertible into money. And all that to support the Foundation of Silesian Hospice for Children with the amount of 100 000 zloty.

A Company in continuous development...