Shortly after his release as a prisoner of war in 1945, Otto Johannes Müller the company founder possessed the optimism to establish a small business in what was then East Germany. He had no funds, premises or material. Production took place in his own kitchen, bristles were boiled, animal hair processed and, besides brushes, essential items such as lights were manufactured. To this day, a logo in the form of a mill (Mühle) – Muller– adorns each product.
The business grew, more workers were employed and the company began to specialise in the manufacture of shaving brushes. By 1963 Mühle products were being exported to 36 countries around the world.
Following Otto's early death in December 1965, his son Hans-Jürgen took over the management of the company. By 1970, the main customers were reduced to state trading companies in the GDR and its "socialist sister countries". Furthermore, under pressure from the state, the private businesses were forced to sell at a low price so that on 17 April 1972, O. J. Müller KG became a Publicly Owned Operation (VEB). Small individual brushmaking businesses were gradually merged to form larger units so that O J Muller disappeared inside Production Facility 6 of the operating section for brush manufacturing of the VEB Flamingo-Bürsten Schönheide, a large-scale operation with more than 3,000 staff. This facility made everything to do with brushes in the former GDR.
Hans Jürgen left this operation in 1987 to found an artisan enterprise manufacturing brushes which belonged to the Stützengrün brush-makers' cooperative.
A new order
Following the major political changes in 1989, the possibility for reprivatisation arose in 1990, when it was renamed Hans Jürgen Müller KG. However, there were no customers and only 4 members of staff. For nearly three years the firm fought to survive. From the mid-1990s things gradually improved. The company took on more staff and new customers were acquired. In the same year, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Up to the present.
The 21st century saw a growth in production with the factory undergoing modernisation and expansion. Muhle now has an extensive range of high-quality grooming items for the perfect wet shave. Since 2006 thought has been put into the rebranding with new, classic-modern corporate and packaging design and the brand name Muhle (formerly Muhle Pinsel) The MÜHLE COLLECTION, a museum of shaving, opened in 2006. Some 2,000 exhibits from 200 years of history inform and delight with curious tales about the art of shaving.
Muhle is is a brand that has not only survived the slings and arrows of the 20th century but also has lead men's grooming into the 21st century.