Bielefeld in the middle of the 19th century: the industrial revolution has turned the city into a major textiles location. Imported sewing machines, mainly from the USA, are used to further process the materials. They are expensive to buy and hard to service. The two mechanics, Baer and Koch, recognise the opportunity and start the first sewing machine factory in Bielefeld.
The success of the venture indicates to the partners the potential of the new market, and in 1865 Baer decides to start his own operation. Koch continues trading under the name of Koch & Co and now employs the two sewing machine mechanics Dürkopp and Schmidt. Dürkopp had already designed his first sewing machine in 1861, and in 1867 together with Schmidt he started his own company known as Dürkopp & Schmidt.
In 20 years Bielefeld develops to become one of the most important centres of the sewing machine industry in Germany. In 1880 there are 19 Bielefeld companies operating in the sector. Their products enjoy international recognition and are sold all over Europe.