The history of HESS begins in Frankfurt am Main in 1885 when shoemaker Karl Scholl founds a company and thus starts to sell shoemaker supplies, shafts etc. He notes that the interest in a good shoemaker tool is indeed great, but it is far below expectations for commercially available equipment. He therefore decides to buy and optimise tools and adapt them to the needs of his clientèle. Success proves Karl Scholl right. The company grows and sets up its own workshop in Egelsbach.
His eldest daughter, Anna Scholl, and her husband Richard Hess Sr. take over the business after his death in 1919 and move the company headquarters to Magstadt.
Richard Hess Sr. continues to expand the company's own production despite the difficult post-war period. It is thanks to his creativity that numerous special devices are developed that were needed for the modern shoe gluing process. The entrepreneur and workshop manager are awarded 22 gold and silver medals as well as six plaques of honour for these innovations. He makes a name for himself across Germany and presents the company at numerous trade fairs and exhibitions at home and abroad.
The company again faces challenges during the Second World War. Production has to be switched and his daughter Anni Hess runs the business during this time, supported by Richard Hess Jr.
There is extensive demand for shoe repair tools after the end of the war. The company is literally swamped with orders but can barely process 20 percent of the incoming orders due to the problems in procuring materials at this time. Richard Hess builds his new company headquarters in Hindenburgstrasse to be able to fulfil this increased demand.
The extensive range of shoe repair tools and machines as well as shoe polishing machines manufactured here are sent all around the world.
Shoe polishing machines are fitted with coin validators for the first time at the end of the 1950s. This sees the start of a new chapter in the company's history: coin handling and self-service.
Other self-service machines are added to the shoe polishing machines in the mid 1960s. The portfolio ranges from coffee and drinks machines to newspaper, ticket and vending machines. Coin handling comes increasingly into focus in 1965 and leads to the founding of the subsidiary HESS SB-Automatenbau GmbH one year later, which will continue to concentrate on the new "cash handling / self-service machines" product line.
Currency exchange machines complement the self-service product portfolio, but HESS breaks new ground again at the end of the 1980s: the company becomes established in the banking world with the MULTICHANGE currency exchange machine, an entirely new system for dispensing coin rolls, and presents a microprocessor-controlled note and coin exchange machine as a revolutionary highlight at the CeBIT trade fair.
Coin roll dispensers and currency exchangers are soon part of the core range and sold worldwide as products "made in Germany". Besides entering the banking world, HESS is also active in the healthcare sector. The company has made successful inroads into the payment machine sector with its hospital billing machines and patient telephone billing systems.
Gauselmann AG acquires a majority interest in HESS in 1998 and takes over the whole company in 2001; HESS thus becomes part of the family-run, international Gauselmann Group.
HESS goes to Switzerland, establishing HESS Schweiz in the Swiss capital of Bern in 2011. The founding of HESS Austria just one year later means that HESS is now represented throughout the DACH region.
In 2013, HESS and US IT company NCR seal a collaboration deal with a promising future. What started out as a sales cooperation has since developed into nationwide and worldwide partnership covering all aspects of coin-handling.
The strategic collaboration between HESS and Diebold Nixdorf, the ATM manufacturer from Paderborn, represents yet another milestone. In the context of the partnership, Diebold Nixdorf is expanding its product portfolio of self-service solutions to include HESS products and coin components, while HESS is taking over the production of the coin-handling Diebold-Nixdorf systems on a dedicated production line in Magstadt. Since the end of 2016, HESS is also responsible for supporting and further developing the devices.