Since the dawn of the company – in those days a cabinetmaker's shop – the search for radically new ideas, continuous improvements and system solutions has stood at its core, as has Hermann Steiner with his revolutionary idea that marked the start of the company as we know it:
“It was on a cold and rainy day in December 1955, shortly before Christmas. We had to deliver numerous small joinery goods, which we had prepared for Christmas meeting the requirements of our customers in our joiner’s workshop. Fonci, the truck driver in Liestal, was responsible for the transport. Storm, snow and rain did not make things easier. We needed all our strength and accuracy to prevent water damaging these Christmas presents. Back home, my ears started to hurt.
Obviously, I had caught a cold again. My wife gave me some painkillers and I went to bed with the comforting thought that this hurry was over now. But when I woke at midnight, it was like a dream. My thoughts had strayed from my pain to another important problem, which I had considered a couple of times before. Like other cabinet makers we had started using particle board and were encountering difficulties in joining the panels. Down with fever, I suddenly saw a practical approach to the problem, which made me forget everything else. I saw how we could use a groove cutter to cut short opposing grooves into the panels and connect them using small biscuit elements. In contrast to continuous grooves, this procedure would not weaken the board. My wife thought I had visions due to the fever but I myself was entirely convinced of my idea.”
In an unprecedented fashion, Hermann Steiner's innovative idea reached many joiners around the world and the name Lamello has since become synonymous with this high-quality joining solution. In 2004, the invention was honoured along with other innovations as part of a special exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (Moma) entitled "the most humble innovations of the 20th century".