The history of the First Dutch Horseshoe Factory began on May 8, 1909. Its founders, brothers Hero and Berend Werkman, started the industrial production of horse shoes in Helpman Groningen, the Netherlands where the factory is still located today.
The work of producing horseshoes manually was hard and time consuming. Earlier, in 1908, the brothers had started a business selling milk tablets and custard powder in order to be able to invest in the farriery. After six months they were able to dedicate themselves fully to manufacturing horseshoes.
1910, Orders from all over the country
It took a great deal of persuasive power to convince farriers that a factory-produced horseshoe could be every bit as good as manually produced one. But through word of mouth and because of the good quality of the products, the factory Werkman soon attracted customers from all over the Netherlands. Orders were written down on pre-printed postcards and delivered by horse-drawn wagon or by track boat.
High quality is always our principle. This was recognized early in a statement from the authority in this area. The director of Farrier School in Amersfoort: Dr. Gallandat Huet.
1930, Across borders
Soon our name and quality became known abroad as well. And there was also a demand for our shoes. Such as a purchase order of Darby&Co. from Dublin.
1930, Our premises
Our premises in 1930. We heated with cokes and coal.
1930, Central drive
The entire plant, from production to work planning was centrally driven.
In 1950’s Werkman Horseshoes Factory began supplying to markets in Cuba and Porto Rico, through German agencies.
1960, The Ryder Original model was introduced and has been a very popular shoe all around the world
1960, Expansion abroad
In addition to the domestic market disappearing the company faced more challenges in the early 60s, when two of its directors died: the company’s founder and his son. Along with his uncle Anne Werkman was appointed director and set out to look for new markets. Taking a car and a trailer full with horseshoes, Anne and his wife headed for Germany in 1963, hoping to find new customers. He advised forging instructors to start trading in horseshoes. It was during this time that he made some key contacts that are still important to the company today. Committed to further expanding the market, Anne Werkman would later cross the Alps, thereby laying the foundation for the export company Werkman was to eventually become. Sales soon increased, the models were adapted to the needs of the foreign farriers. Over the years, we further expanded, eventually selling our horseshoes all over the world.
1976, Hero Werkman
In 1976 Hero Werkman has joined the company.
1978: Team at work
Hendrik Jansen, with his son in law Kees Brinkhof, at work.
Jan van der Werf, the forge operator.
Right picture: Before 1980, the warehouse was filled with bundles of horseshoes which were transported by steel lories on rails. Left picture: Later, forklifts came and the horseshoes were transported and stored on pallets.
1980, Automated production lines
1980, New and more efficient forges for a more constant quality in the horseshoes.
1985, The EuroSkill was introduced, in many countries very well received because of coarser nail hole placements
1990, The EuroSkill Work A Holic line has been introduced and still today Werkman has the best draft and harness horseshoes in the world.
2007, 4th generation Werkman
Hero Werkman is still active in the company but slowly handing over to his children Christel and Reian. They support their father Hero in managing the business. The fourth generation has joined the company.
2010, The current business premises.
Our office looks a lot different now. Modern, large and built-in in the surrounding district.. All machines are updated with a finish feature. All shoes are finished in the most professional way, both practical and optical.
2009, Jubilee! 100th Anniversary.
We began producing horse shoes in 1909: a hundred years ago. Much has changed since then. Machines have been automated, and our range has been greatly extended. We offer a suitable horse shoe for virtually all horses. All of our horseshoes are produced in Groningen, the Netherlands.
2009, Warrior model, was developed
2013, Collaboration is the key.
We, Werkman Horseshoes, focus passionately on good cooperation with quality farriers. Their wishes are determinative for us. A wide range of products, solid craftsmanship and fast delivery. That is what we stand for "Skilled focus on improving farriery"