The Nijhuis heritage

110 years ago, Gerrit Jan Nijhuis started a small machine factory in Winterswijk, located in the east of the Netherlands. G.J. Nijhuis was born in 1877 in Boekelo and grew up on a farm called “den Els”. After having discovered his talent for forging and repairing machines he established “Machinefabriek (Machine factory) Nijhuis-De Wolf” together with his business partner Mr. Wolf in 1896. After eight years their partnership came to an end and on 5th of April 1904 he started “Machinefabriek (Machine factory) G.J. Nijhuis” on the Parrellelweg in Winterswijk. The workshop offered repairs for textile, dairy and slaughterhouse equipment. In 1917 he expanded the factory with a foundry which enabled the company to design its own generators, motors and other iron equipment.

During the mid-twenties the company gradually applied more focus on designing and manufacturing slaughterhouse equipment. In 1927, Nijhuis provided the local slaughterhouse in Winterswijk with the latest state-of-the-art slaughterhouse technology, a unique piece of equipment in the Netherlands back then. In the 1930s Nijhuis introduced a new division aimed at repairing, designing and manufacturing Nijhuis pumps. G.J. Nijhuis proved to be a great inventor and was personally responsible for the introduction of the self-priming centrifugal pump. Nijhuis pumps continued to grow in popularity, particularly in the shipping and fire pump industry where the Nijhuis name became a household brand for decades. After World War II the population of The Netherlands was on the rise again which had an impact on the demand for food and slaughterhouses. This development in combination with the company’s engineering experience encouraged Nijhuis to continue to expand and build a reputation for itself in the field of pumps and slaughterhouse equipment.

The growing demand for the purification of wastewater in slaughterhouses in the sixties and seventies led to the development of the Augias bandfilter and flotation system. Capable of separating solids from slaughterhouse wastewater, the newly developed system was able to meet the discharge requirements imposed by the government. The flotation system was an idea originally inspired by the oil industry. In 1977, Machinefabriek G.J. Nijhuis employed 200 employees active across three divisions: Pumps, Slaughter Technique and Wastewater. Each division had their own symbol and specialized in the engineering, manufacturing and delivery of products across a wide range of industries. The idea behind the company’s logo, showing the Nijhuis eye was also established during this time. It meant to visualize “a critical eye on water treatment”.