LIFE AND WORKTIMELINE

The following timeline provides a compact overview of the main milestones in Adi and Käthe Dassler’s private life as well as in the founding history of adidas.

Private life

03.11.1900

Adi is born to Christoph and Pauline Dassler in Herzogenaurach

1913

Adi completes his training as a baker but is more interested in athletics and shoemaking

1914-1918

First World War

17.07.1917

Käthe is born to Franz and Katarina Martz of Pirmasens

1918-1919

Adi serves in the German Army

Dassler Brothers

1920

Adi and Karl Zech develop the first running shoe in his mother’s washroom

1921

After countless attempts and sometimes painful trials in the forest, the successful production of sport shoes begins

1923

Adi offers his brother Rudolf a position in the firm

01.07.1924

The two brothers list their company in the commercial register with the title “GeDa – Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik” (Dassler Brothers Shoe Manufacturers)

1925

Production of the first football shoe with leather cleats and track shoes hand forged spikes

1926

Occupation of the production facility by the train station

1928 - Summer Olympic Games in Amsterdam

The first time athletes wear Dassler shoes in the Olympics; Lina Radke wins gold in the women’s 800m run

1930-1933

Worldwide Economic Depression

1930

Beginning of collaboration with National Track coach Waitzer to develop competitive running shoes

1932-1933

Adi attends the shoe technical school in Pirmasens where he meets Käthe, the daughter of renowned shoe form maker Franz Martz

1932 - Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles

Arthur Jonath takes Bronze in the 100-meter sprint

1933

The Dassler brothers build and share a family home next to the factory by the train station. It becomes known to all as “The Villa” where they host numerous guests from the worlds of sport, politics and business.

30.01.1933

Adolf Hitler becomes German Chancellor

1934

For business reasons, the brothers join the NSDAP political party

17.03.1934

Käthe and Adi enter marriage

1936

Son Horst is born; Käthe’s sister Marianne Hoffmann moves to Herzogenaurach to help with the business and children

1936 - Summer Olympic Games in Berlin

Jesse Owens wins four gold medals wearing low-cut shoes with specially designed spikes

1938

Daughter Inge is born

1938

Opening of the second factory on Würzburgerstrasse; with roughly 150 people employed employees

1939-1945

Second World War

1940-1941

Adi serves in the German Air Force as a radio operator

1941

Daughter Karin is born

1943

Per order of the military government, production is redirected to the manufacture of components for anti-tank weapons

1945

Father Christoph Dassler dies at the age of 80

1946

Daughter Brigitte is born

1946

Shoe production resumes

1947

During the “De-Nazification Process” Adi proves he never actively supported the NSDAP and is allowed to resume leadership of the company

from 1948 onward

Despite food shortages, Adi and Käthe share what little they have with customers, trainers, and athletes, developing lifelong friendships with figures such as Joseph Waitzer and Sepp Herberger

1948

Monetary reform: the worthless Reichsmark currency is replaced with the Deutsche Mark

1948

Irreconcilable estrangement of the brothers; the business is split between them

1949

Founding of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany)

adidas

18.08.1949

Founding of “Adolf Dassler adidas Sport Shoe Company” with 47 employees; the name and trademark three stripes are registered; production of shoes with three stripes begins

from 1950 onward

In addition to managing the household and large family, Käthe is also involved in the growth and expansion of the company

1952

Product line expands beyond shoes with introduction of the first sports bag; first track shoe with replaceable steel spikes

1952 - Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki

Track athlete Emil Zatopek wins three gold medals wearing adidas shoes

1953

Daughter Sigrid is born

1953

Approximately 150 adidas employees

1954

Definitive breakthrough for Adi Dassler thanks to football shoes with interchangeable bolt-on cleats

1954 - Football World Cup in Switzerland

Known as The Wonder of Bern: The German National Team wins the World Cup in Switzerland with a 3:2 victory over Hungary

1955

The free economy of West Germany attains rapid growth known as “The Economic Wonder”, East Germany struggles under a centrally planned economy

1955

Expansion of factory in Herzogenaurach

1955

Mother Pauline Dassler passes away at the age of 85

1956

First football and track shoes with Nylon soles

1956 - Summer Olympic Games in Melbourne

72 medals in sport shoes with three stripes

1957

Founding of the European Economic Community

1958 - Football World Cup in Sweden

The majority of players trust adidas shoes

1958

The “Villa”, the Dassler Family home next to the factory, is modified

1959

adidas expands production to France with The Dettwiller factory managed by Horst Dassler

1960

With 550 employees, adidas is the largest sport shoe producer in the world

1960 - Summer Olympic Games in Rome

The athlete Wilma Rudolph, who was paralyzed by Polio as a child, wins three gold medals in adidas shoes

1961

Construction of the Berlin Wall

1962 - Football World Cup in Chile

adidas shoes were are worn in all 32 games; referee Ken Aston officiates the “Battle of Santiago

1964 - Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo

Billy Mills wins an upset in the 10,000 meter race wearing the lightest track shoes of all time; Willi Holdorf wins the Decathlon gold medal wearing custom fitted adidas shoes

1967

A track warmup suit is the first clothing product from adidas, opening a new niche in the sporting goods business

1968 - Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City

Wearing adidas shoes, Dick Fosbury revolutionizes the high jump with his backward jump technique

1969

First manned moon landing

1970

The Telstar is the official ball of the 1970 Football World Cup in Mexico

1971 - Fight of the Century in New York

In what was is billed as the heavyweight fight of the century, boxers Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali both wore wear adidas boxing shoes

1972

Hostage drama at the Munich Olympic when Palestinian terrorists take 11 Israeli athletes hostage. All hostages are killed during a rescue attempt.

1972

adidas presents the new Trefoil logo

1972 - Summer Olympic Games in Munich

Ulrike Nasse-Meyfarth wins gold in the high jump; 78% of athletes wear adidas

1974 - First Football World Cup in Germany

The German team, equipped by adidas, wins the World Cup

1976 - Summer Olympic Games in Montreal

Fourteen year old Nadia Comaneci is the first gymnast in history to earn a perfect score of 10; Alberto Juantorena set a world record in the 800 meter event wearing adistar 2000 Shoes with an adjustable spike system

1977

German Autumn: The terror of the Red Army Faction (RAF) reaches a high point

1978

Adi Dassler becomes the first non-American admitted to the National Sporting Goods Manufacturers Hall of fame

06.09.1978

Adi Dassler dies at the age of 78; Käthe assumes leadership of the company

1980 - Summer Olympic Games in Moscow

Many nations boycott the games for political reasons; 80% of athletes wear adidas shoes; Englishman Daley Thompson wins the first of his two gold medals in the Decathlon

1982

With a daily production of ore the 280,000 pairs of shoes, adidas is the largest sporting goods producer in the world

31.12.1984

Käthe Dassler passes away at the age of 67; Son Horst becomes the business leader

1986

Nuclear Catastrophe in Chernobyl

1986

Over 12,000 people employed worldwide

1987

Son Horst dies at the age of 57

07.07.1990

The family sells their shares of the company to the French businessman Bernard Tapie