Rudolf Fuchs was born in Mannheim on September 25, 1909, the son of a craftsman and trader. Even during his commercial apprenticeship in a Mannheim import and export trading house, he recognized the importance of lubricants for the growing motorization. Rudolf Fuchs was only 21 years old when he founded the company "Rudolf Fuchs" in May 1931, in economically difficult times.
He took this step because he was aware of the engine problems caused by inadequate lubricants and therefore specialized his young company in the import and distribution of high-quality refinery products from Pennsylvania (USA). He calls his first company brand "Pena Pura. In a box rented at the Mannheim slaughterhouse, Rudolf Fuchs fills the imported oil into canisters and delivers them by bicycle to transport companies in the port of Mannheim. He is soon so successful with this that he is able to move into larger premises at Mühldorfer Strasse 10 and buy a car for transport.
In October 1935, Rudolf Fuchs marries his wife Irma. She becomes his most important employee and relieves him in the office and in shipping. This allows Fuchs to devote himself to the development of his own lubricants, adapted to the different requirements. In 1936, his company produces summer and winter gear oils, and the first sales office is established in Munich.
In 1938, Rudolf Fuchs buys a site on Friesenheim Island and builds a new plant there for his company, now renamed "Rudolf Fuchs Mineralölwerk", which can be moved into a year later. This remains the company's headquarters to this day.
Because of the war-related import ban, the company has to switch its products to synthetic lubricants. Rudolf Fuchs makes a virtue out of necessity and continues to develop special lubricants adapted to the changed conditions. However, as many transport vehicles have to be handed over to the Wehrmacht, the demand for lubricants falls and Fuchs loses many of his most important customers. He therefore begins to develop new lubricants for the industry, which he adapts to the needs of the respective machines on site with the help of additives. During this time, emulsion lubricants, Vaselin products, rust protection oils and the belt oil "Renolit" are developed.
In March 1945, the offices as well as 2,000 barrels from the warehouse stock are moved to safety from the air raids in the Odenwald forest. As early as the end of August 1945, the American military government allows the Fuchs company to resume operations. Rudolf Fuchs is helped not only by the 2,000 barrels that have been moved out of storage, but also by the fact that the factory facilities have been spared from looting. Because the factory entrance is painted in the company colors blue-white-red, the company is mistaken for a French company.
Rudolf Fuchs was soon able to supply the industry, which was in the process of reconstruction, with special lubricants. Fuchs engine oil was also used on German racetracks, making the company well-known in a short time.
In 1949, Fuchs develops an HD engine oil for diesel engines with special additives. From 1951, the company exports its products abroad. At the company's 25th anniversary in 1956, the company is one of the leading mineral oil companies in Germany with branches throughout Germany.
On September 8, 1959, shortly before his 50th birthday, Rudolf Fuchs dies unexpectedly of a heart attack while driving. His son Manfred takes over the management of the company at the age of only 20. He founds subsidiaries in France and Spain, expands the product range and converts the company into a stock corporation in order to raise the capital needed for expansion.
Today, Fuchs Petrolub SE is a global group and the world's largest independent supplier of lubricants. The product range is immense. It ranges from engine oils for vehicles and lubricants for industry to specialty lubricants for agriculture and construction, ropeways, and hydraulic oils for mining. Nevertheless, Fuchs Petrolub has remained a family-run stock corporation.
Following the retirement of Dr. Manfred Fuchs, who was made an honorary citizen of Mannheim, Stefan Fuchs, the grandson of the company founder, now heads the company.