Wilhelm Van Berkel
Wilhelm van Berkel and its brand history
The history of this renowned slicer company goes back a long way. To this day, these pricelessly beautiful items are put on display by collectors all over the world, but the historical beginnings of this brand can be traced back to one very specific figure, the founder Wilhelm van Berkel.
From a period article:
“…the photograph you see is the image of W. A. Van Berkel, the creator of the slicing machine, next to the first model he built himself. W. A. Van Berkel founded his first factory in Rotterdam on 12 October 1898. Van Berkel was a very enterprising and clever young man. He had been involved in trade since his youth, but his passion had always been one: mechanics. One day he had the idea of building a machine that would make it easier for sausage makers to cut sausages into thin slices.
It took months of experiments, often on the verge of failure, but in the end Wilhelm van Berkel’s patience was rewarded. The first slicer was born.
But van Berkel did not have the means to produce his own machine. He discovered a certain printing house that was in a state of bankruptcy. Boldly, he approached the owner and offered to turn the print shop into a workshop for the manufacture of his machines. His idea was accepted and in October 1898, the “Van Berkel” company was born.
In the very first year, 76 machines of the most current model, the A model, three machines of the B model and five machines of the C model were manufactured. From then on, the company continued to grow.
As is always the case, imitators sprang up all over the place, but no one then or now was able to match the original products. That is why classy customers, the owners of the best shops in the world, only ask for “Berkel” machines: because they know that “Berkel” products have been imitated, but not equalled, and that the name “Berkel” is the oldest, the safest, the most serious.
Despite the fact that they belong to rather ancient times, Berkel scales and flywheel slicers still represent symbols of absolute genius, with constant innovations that have made history. We at La Bottega del Restauro take part in the Berkel tradition, refurbishing valuable pieces that have been completely restored. Contact us to find out more about our activities for collectors in Italy and around the world.