Tradition & Values

Founded as a country carpenter's workshop in 1880 and still family-run today, our company has a varied and exciting history. The carpentry tradition is still close to our hearts today, it shapes us and at the same time keeps us constantly developing.

Tradition und Werte - Sorpetaler Geschichte
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Sorpetaler. Where we come from.

1880: Founding father Hermann Nolte discovers his talent for carpentry.

We had our beginnings in 1880 as a country carpenter's workshop. Founding father Hermann Nolte took on all kinds of wooden component jobs - from chairs and cabinets to windows and doors. All this was a side-line business, because farming was the main occupation. As time went by, however, carpentry became more and more important. This is evidenced in historic records.

1929: The first Appelhans takes over and expands the village carpenter's workshop.

In 1929, he handed over the carpentry business to his son-in-law Eduard Appelhans, who remained true to the classic carpentry trade.

Eduard Appelhans (Mitte) mit Sohn Hubert und Gesellen um 1955

1949: Wood windows are the order of the day. Hubert brings back orders from the Ruhr region - on his moped. The business in the Sauerland region grows.

In 1949, his son Hubert Appelhans took over the workshop and slowly initiated some changes. Enterprising as he was - it is said that he regularly rode his motor scooter to the Ruhr valley and brought back full order books - he significantly expanded the radius of the carpenter's workshop. In the process, he landed many orders for windows and doors in cities like Dortmund and Bochum, which had been badly affected by the war. At some point he finally decided: If I want to be really good, I have to set a focus. He thus paved the way for the transition of the Appelhans joinery to Sorpetaler Fensterbau. Due to strong growth, Hubert decided to build a new large production hall on a greenfield site in the mid-1970s - where production still takes place today.

Sorpetaler-Fensterbau-Geschichte Hubert-Appelhans-1
Sorpetaler-Fensterbau-Geschichte Hubert-Appelhans-2

1984: The economy collapses, Sorpetaler is on the verge of insolvency. The whole family pitches in, the company is restructured and reorganized.

It was a difficult time. Following some large investments, the construction of a new factory building in 1974 and having changed the business model to supplying carpenters, there was an economic recession. Sorpetaler entered a tangible crisis. Eduard Appelhans, at the age of 24, decided to step in and turn the business around - together with his brother Norbert and several other siblings and their partners.

Eduard-Appelhans IT-Geschichte

Everyone pitched in to give Sorpetaler a new future. The tour de force succeeded. The company was realigned and put on a secure financial footing. In 1991, Eduard Appelhans took over the management. The product range, production and sales were innovatively reorganised and brought up to speed. A very successful period followed. In 1999, further investments were made: the new office building was constructed. An innovative project at the time as a timber-frame construction with 3 floors - at that time unique in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

2009: Investment in new CNC machinery as the heart of IT-supported window production

After another massive slump in the construction industry starting in 2000 and a decline in the German market from more than 20 million window units to about 11 million window units (2005), the company continued with major investments in 2009: A completely new, state-of-the-art and versatile CNC window production line was acquired. Now it was possible to produce window systems in construction depths of 68, 78 and also 90 mm – including windows for old buildings, new buildings or also special windows such as the continuously improved Sorpetaler sliding window.

2017: Departure into the digital world. Another generational change begins.

Stefan Appelhans has also been on board since 2017. He was initially responsible for digitalisation, before taking over sales management. Since October 2021, he has been Managing Director of Sorpetaler alongside his father Eduard Appelhans.

Sorpetaler-Fensterbau Geschichte Stefan-Appelhans-1
Sorpetaler-Fensterbau Geschichte Stefan-Appelhans-2