Hygienic, eco-friendly, efficient


OROPON®-barrels, 1910

With the invention of OROPON® at the beginning of the 20th century, the chemist Dr. Otto Röhm wrote a new chapter in the hitherto unprogressive history of leather production.

Until the spread of OROPON®, leather stain was based on processes that worked with dog excrement and pigeon manure, among other things. These techniques were not only unhygienic, but also fraught with abundant stench.

From 1905 onwards, Otto Röhm had been involved in the production of leather and the staining of animal skins and two years later found a clear effectiveness of enzymes of the pancreas, including those of pigs, in the processing of the hides. From this, he developed a process that was suitable for processing all types of animal hides and skins. This was the birth of the OROPON® mordant.

After it was ready for series production in 1907, Röhm founded the company Röhm & Haas in Esslingen together with the businessman Otto Haas. Due to the high demand and the associated space requirements, the successful company moved to Darmstadt just two years later, also in order to be able to produce in the vicinity of the leather manufacturing industry. Otto Haas subsequently travelled through many European countries to promote the new product. Soon the first international sales offices were founded. After Haas had started the product launch in the USA with a branch in Philadelphia, the first exports to Japan started in 1911. After just a few years, OROPON®, named after Otto Röhm, replaced the unhygienic faecal stain in many countries.

In 1911, the product was awarded a gold medal at the International Hygiene Exhibition in Dresden. The constantly improved preparations led to an ever shorter treatment time of the hides and skins and consequently to water savings and more environmentally friendly work.

In 1996, the leather business was incorporated into a joint venture, which was sold in 2001.