On July 1st 1923, Walter Graf founded a new company, Walter Graf u. Co., together with a partner in Schmiedefeld am Rennsteig.
The new Walter Graf u. Co. began manufacturing injection syringes made of glass. The demand for all glass syringes, a new technology based on the old “Record Syringe” was huge at the time. Over time machines and tools were developed resulting in much more efficient production. In 1923, Walter Graf married his wife Klara, who was also involved in the business from the beginning.
In 1927 Walter Graf dissolved his partnership and formed his own company under the same name. In the same year the first general catalogue was published. Primarily, the young company was manufacturing for export to the US market. The brand name FORTUNA WGCO was registered. During 1932 and 1933, most customers in the USA cancelled orders due to the depressed economic conditions which resulted in difficult times for the young company over the next few years.
In 1935, the ORIGINAL “FORTUNA Pipette” D.R.G.M.” (a combination pipette and piston) was introduced. Measuring pipettes and volumetric pipettes are still an important part of the product range today. During World War II the company was selling to German dealers and to the German hospital service. By this time, the number of people employed had increased to 30. After World War II, there were not many opportunities in the eastern part of Germany for free enterprise.
For this reason and at short notice the family decided during the summer of 1950 to move to Wertheim. Many loyal employees followed. The increased demand for glass syringes, cylinders and laboratory equipment meant that new staff had to be hired and trained. In 1951 a new factory was built in Wertheim-Hofgarten where the company is still located today. New production methods were introduced. The first machines for mass production were bought. A new catalogue, published in 1950, for glass syringes was an important contribution to the sales effort. As early as 1953, the company performed pioneering work in the field of silkscreen printing of glassware.
The two sons of Walter Graf, Helmut and Siegfried, became shareholders of the new company in 1950 and 1953 respectively. Until the beginning of the 1960’s the parts for injection syringes were adjusted individually. Walter Graf u. Co. GmbH was one of the first companies in Europe who introduced a new revolutionary technique of calibrating glass tubes with micro-tolerances (0,001mm). It became possible to manufacture interchangeable glass pistons and cylinders. Even today, we are still one of the few manufacturers of glass instruments of this type.
In 1967, another new catalogue “FORTUNA® Glass Instruments for Volumetric Analysis” was released. During this period of growth, Walter Graf died unexpectedly in March 1968. His death was a very sad loss for both the family and company but the company was successfully handed over to and developed further by his sons. In 1970, the premises were expanded allowing an increase in production capacities. In 1973, a further catalogue “GRAF Glass 73” was published.
During the following years, there was a change in the use of laboratory glassware. Initially, there was a higher demand for semi-automatic pipetting aids. In particular, hazardous chemicals had to be dispensed safely and quickly. The definitive breakthrough came in 1976 when a new dispenser named FORTUNA OPTIFIX was introduced. This product, continually being developed and improved, is still selling today. Due to this great success the GRAF “Liquid Handling” product line was born. Today this line includes a large number of other liquid handling products such as electronic titrators and fully automatic micro-processor controlled dosing stations. During the course of time, the company has not only invested in the development of liquid handling products but also in production technology, quality control and the sale of volumetric glassware and syringes made of glass or plastic.
Today Poulten & Graf GmbH is certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2015.
The merger with John Poulten Ltd. on 1st January 2000 offered the advantage of a wider product range to customers.
After 18 years of cooperation, Poulten & Graf Ltd. in London was closed on February 1st 2019. In the future the customers of Poulten & Graf Ltd. will be served by Poulten & Graf GmbH, Germany. The product range was adjusted. The precise volumetric glassware will be offered with the VOLAC FORTUNA logo in future. The high quality VOLAC pasteur pipettes will still be produced in England.