A look behind
STORY WITH A FRAME STORY
Initially Hubert Halbe wanted to open a book shop in Kirchen, but that wasn't so easy back in 1946. Not having completed his apprenticeship as a book seller, he was merely granted a special permit for installing a book outlet. Better than nothing. On the vicar's recommendention, Hubert extended his assortment and started selling pictures of saints, which were highly popular at the time. His customers then also requested frames for their pictures. The wooden strips to build the frames were used to fire the ovens, but Hubert Halbe was a gifted improviser. He acquired the valuable material and turned his kitchen into a workshop – with the entire family helping out. HALBE Rahmen was born.
AN IDEA TURNED INTO A SUCCESS STORY
Since 1946, the HALBE family have been putting perfect framing conditions at their centre of attention. What started in a small workshop reached its first peak in 1973, with the development and later patenting of the magnetic frame. Today it is easy for anyone to frame pictures professionally with an utmost level of comfort and functionality. Halbe frames are perfectly designed to the detail, thanks to the knowledge and expertise of a third-generation family-owned company. Find out how it all began and get a glimpse into production.
The precursor of today's magnetic frame was the "HALBE picture block"
In 1960 the blocks first went into mass production - here with a laminated saint picture. In 1984 a flood damaged the machine that manufactured the blocks, which meant the end of their production.
FRAMED BY ECONOMIC MIRACLES
By the 1950s the kitchen had become too small. HALBE grew into a midsized company. With additional staff, the first mass production of picture blocks began in 1960, and Hubert Halbe implemented his idea of framing from the front. In the early 1970s he developed his idea further – a two-piece frame with plastic profiles. But something very important was missing.
MAGNETICALLY DRAWN TO INGENUITY
Sometimes it's the ideas that find their inventors. This was also the case in 1973 – when the magnetic frame was invented by a lucky coincidence.
One evening Heinrich Halbe sat at his drawing board and worked on some assignments for technical college. Magnets fixed the paper to the board. Heinrich had an idea: Wouldn't this also be possible for picture frames? He immediately convinced his father, and the two brainstormed and experimented. The plastic they had used so far proved unsuitable for the profiles, aluminum however worked. They applied for a patent.
Officially it was called a "device for holding, supporting and hanging or putting up thin and flexible large-scale bodies, in particular pictures". Among demanding art lovers it quickly become known as the HALBE Magnetic Frame.
PROGRESS ON A BIGGER SCALE
The HALBE magnetic frame is and has been a success story. In the mid-1980s Hubert and Heinrich Halbe developed the HALBE DISTANCE magnetic frame. In 1995 Heinrich Halbe took over the business. His first design award pushed him to ever more innovative ideas. Between 2007 and 2011 he developed four more models. His frames became known for their high quality. Orders became larger. He was the first in the industry to open an online store.
FACING A WALL OF SCEPTICISM
New ideas often face a rough start. The HALBE magnetic frames were no exception. Sales representatives and the photo trade rejected them. In hindsight, it turned out to be a blessing for Hubert and Heinrich Halbe: Instead they sold them to artists, galleries, collectors, museums and private art enthusiasts directly who were instantly struck by the idea of simple framing.
Family business in third generation
In 2015, the next generation entered the picture – with David Halbe (centre) joining the family company.
MAN AND MACHINE TEAMING UP
For Halbe the internationally recognised label "Made in Germany" symbolizes more than just excellence. It is a commitment to traditional virtues and pioneering spirit. Precision and reliability are combined with lean production and process orientation. The site in Kirchen, Rhineland-Pfalz, also contributes to the consistent quality of their products, for this is where the essential expertise and profound knowledge of the HALBE staff is rooted. Many have been part of the team for over 20 years. What unites them, is their personal commitment to a midsized, family-owned company in Germany, the land of ideas.
CNC-controlled break forming press for accurate production of sheet metal angles or entire base elements. It can also be used for multiple edgings.
Welding of the sheet metal joint (Blechwinkelverbundes). It is cut to size with minimum tolerance and permantently connected – to ensure longevity and frequent picture changes.
Dimension inspection of the bending height (Abkanthöhe) for smaller base elements with one-piece metal tray (durchgängiger Blechwanne). The height is adjusted to the picture strength (Bildstärke) so object and glass can be held optimally by the top frame.
Modern production in the 21st century
At HALBE classic craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology go hand in hand. Production is based on computer-aided precision and attention to detail. This combination ensures outstanding quality.
Pasting the rear wall into the sheet metal joint (Blechwinkelverbund). The adhesive is applied to the back by a robot and the sheet metal joint manually put on top.
For a long-lasting picture story
High-quality materials and careful processing makes HALBE magnetic frames durable and extremely robust. But even frequent changing of pictures – as is common practice during exhibitions – pass the test with flying colours.
Inserting the magnetic strips. They are the core element of all HALBE frames – whether they are made of wood or aluminum. The metal particles are cast in plastic for long-lasting magnetic power.
Adjusting the orientation for a smooth transition. The rubber hammer has hit almost every HALBE magnetic frame millions of times during its 35 years of service.
With the help of a specially developed machine the aluminum profiles are compressed and moulded together. Modern technology and dexterity achieve the perfect mitre.
Ready for private or public openings: HALBE magnetic frames are delivered ready for use - the glass edges are smooth and the glass is clean.
Before inserting the frame the washed glass is checked for quality and cleaniless. The frame is then ready for framing and hanging, without any additional cleaning.
Final installing of frames. Passe-partouts included in the order are inserted directly for optimal protection during shipment.
Masterpieces framed by masterpieces
HALBE products meet the highest demands in terms of outstanding presentations, ongoing conservation and preventive safety measures. Material, shape and colour can be matched to the work of art.
Packaging and shipment
To make sure that all goods are delivered in perfect condition, frames and glasses are carefully wrapped for safe shipment. Our robust packagings exactly match the measurements of your order to avoid damages when properly shipped. They are re-usable and you can take them to store your frames. They can also be purchased them at a later time.
A CNC-controlled cutting plotter is used for exact cutting and grooving the packaging. The material is interleaved for better waste optimization.
After final installation and quality control the finished frame is protected by exactly fitted packaging.
Innovation & Developement
At HALBE, we develop new ideas based on decades of experience. This invaluable knowledge is family-based and well-grounded by long-term employees. The constant exchange with artists, galerists, art scholars, curators, as well as private and institutional collectors makes us even better. Thus, individual requests have already found their way into serial productions.
After sawing the wooden strips, we check the cutting edges for a perfect mitre and, if necessary, refinish the colour coating.
Measuring a picture. This way, a passe-partout can be cut accordingly. Ideally the passe-partout covers the picture 5 millimetres on all sides for perfect alignment and clean assembly.