The first Generation

Up until c. 1850, Germany was primarily involved in the export of wool. That changed in the middle of the 19th century: the demand for wool grew as a result of the mechanisation of the wool industry, while at the same time the wool production went down. On the one hand, there were modern methods applied in agriculture with which higher yields could be gained from even poor soil. That saw the breeding and keeping of sheep in Germany become increasingly uneconomical. On the other hand, cheaper wool from abroad was sold on the German market. For example from Australia. It is estimated that in 1825, there were a mere 238,000 sheep in Australia; in 1860, it was around 20 million and in 1880, it was more than 62 million.

for more than 800 years. It was not located near the large wool-processing centres and the export from the inner German region mostly took place via Frankfurt am Main or Hamburg. From the middle of the 19th century, Bremen began to develop into an import harbour for wool from abroad. The imports were sporadic at the start, but from 1860, whole ship loads of raw wool started to come with increasing regularity to Bremen from abroad. In October 1868, a total of 1284 bales for eight Bremen import companies are said to have been imported.

Bremen's position on the German wool import market became ever stronger; in 1870, a sixth and in 1872, almost a quarter of all German raw wool imports came through Bremen.

Otto Vahland
(21/12/1887 - 26/04/1948)

Around the turn of the century, there were said to be around 200 wool importing companies in Bremen. Ludwig Jorns and Otto Vahland did not miss out on the wool trade, which was a lucrative business at the time. Vahland had already founded the wool trading company Form & Co. in 1896, which he left on 30 September 1908. A day later, on 1 October 1908, Otto Vahland and Ludwig Jorns founded the wool trading company Jorns & Vahland in Bremen. Jorns left the company again very shortly afterwards but Otto Vahland stayed true to himself and remained loyal to his company and the wool trade. He hired Otto Heidorn on 1 December 1908 as an aid, who remained with Jorns & Vahland until August 1910.

The office and telephone were initially in Vahland's own home in Horner Straße 111; in early 1909, the entrepreneur found two rooms in the building in Wachtstraße 40 in Bremen city centre. Jorns & Vahland later had its office in Birkenstraße 15.

Only a few documents still exist from the period before the Second World War because the office and Otto Vahland's private home completely burned out during the war, and almost all documents were destroyed in the fire.

The Bremen Chamber of Commerce documented that the company had formed a war partnership with Alfred Meyer & Co. in April 1942. This was meant to save on workers, offices and materials. Alfred Meyer & Co. then surrendered its office and gave the senior role in the war partnership to Jorns & Vahland. Otto Vahland died in 1945. Immediately following the Second World War, the company more or less just existed on paper. That's when the qualified wool merchant Carl Bellinger, born in Fulda in 1915, took over the business Jorns & Vahland. In 1949, he married Renate Vahland, Otto Vahland's daughter.