THE HISTORY OF A GROUNDBREAKING IDEA
Adolf Wilhelm KEIM established our company in 1878 with the invention of silicate technology. Today, the company is the leading specialist for mineral structural protection globally, due to its sustainable solutions.
KEIM offers the most durable, purely mineral-based paints and system solutions for facades and interior spaces. Our company’s mission – “We make the best paint in the world” – underlines this claim.
There were three outstanding personalities at the beginning of the revolutionary mineral-paint invention: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and last-but-not-least, the tradesman and researcher A.W. Keim, the inventor of this paint. The basis of his 1878 patented mineral paint was a matching mixture of liquid potassium silicate (water glass) and inorganic colour pigments.
The result: A high-quality silicate paint system that offers performance, durability, protection and colour-fastness that remains unsurpassed. Buildings decorated with KEIM paints in the 19th century are still in excellent condition today. Amongst such examples are the “White Eagle” inn in Stein am Rhein and the City Hall in Schwyz (1891), both of which are in Switzerland, and facades in Oslo (1895) and Traunstein, Germany (1891).
Potassium silicate has been known since the Middle Ages, when it was termed Liquor Silicium. Good production and application possibilities, however, did not yet exist. In 1768, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had great hopes for his initial experiments with water glass. In the 8th book of “Facts and Fiction” he wrote: “What most occupied my spirit for a long while was the so-called Liquor Silicium which is obtained if pure quartz sand is melted with an adequate proportion of alkali, giving rise to a transparent glass which melts in air yielding a beautiful clear liquid…”.
However, Goethe was unable to translate his thoughts into any practical uses. The catalyst for Adolf Keim’s development work was King Ludwig I of Bavaria. This monarch had a great passion for the arts. He longed to experience fine Italian lime fresco work in his own kingdom in Bavaria. But the harsh climate north of the Alps destroyed such frescos within a short time. He, therefore, called upon Bavarian scientists to develop a paint that was of similar appearance to lime frescos but also had much greater durability.
The unique and convincing solution to these requirements was KEIM’s silicate paints. What was truly groundbreaking about A.W. Keim’s invention was the bond between paint and brickwork. KEIM’s classic mineral paint was able to strengthen and expand its position as the leading mineral paint for facades thanks to consistent further development of the product’s positive properties and targeted adaptation to various types of substrates.
In a time of pressing environmental problems, our wishes to see environmentally-friendly, permanent and excellent high-quality paints have become stronger. This wish was met thanks to a far larger mineral product range. In short, a continually young idea continues to prevail.