KESO-founder Ernst Keller has passed away

Written by Adalbert Wendt on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 - Posted in Blog

At the end of August of last year I heard that the founder of KESO, Mr. Ernst Keller had passed away on 30th June 2015 at the age of 85 which touched me deeply.

Ernst Keller with his ”right hand“ Urs Spaeni on the occasion of the 50-year-anniversary of the company.
Ernst Keller wand Urs Spaeni on the occasion
of the 50-year-anniversary of the company.

I would like to call Mr. Keller my mentor as he was the first supplier of keys, cylinders and security systems who accepted our work. Mutual respect and regard have contributed to our companies achieving a significant value in the market.
Dear Ernst, thank you for this experience.

Company founder Ernst Keller was born on 4th March 1930 and grew up on the shores of Lake Zurich, in Richterswil. Through his father, who together with some partners owned a company for tool making, he had his first contact with the metal industry. Later on the father ran a hardware and tool shop in Zurich-Seebach.

During that time Ernst Keller learned the trade of a tool maker with the company Faes in Richterswil.

After finishing his apprenticeship he moved to Yverdon/Romandie. He started work for the watch maker Pendule SA as an assistant to the works manager. He also met his later wife Irene here.

During that time he once visited a security seminar of the Zurich city police. Weaknesses in established security cylinders were discussed there. Ernst Keller recognised straight away the challenges for safety systems and accepted it with the courage and ambition of an inventor. He bought different cylinder locks, studied them and developed various opening techniques.

A picture symbolizing the good collaboration
A picture symbolizing the good collaboration
of the Wendt and KESO companies (f. l.) my sons
Sascha und Enrico, Ernst Keller, myself and my wife Angelika.

In the garage of the hardware store of his father he started with the production of the first prototypes of lock cylinders according to his imagination.
In 1955 he registered his first patents. Altogether there are more than 350 worldwide. The KESO brand (Keller and son) was registered. It then still took eight years until the foundation of the KESO AG in 1963 in Richterswill.

Ernst Keller built his own special machines for the serial production of dimple cylinders and keys.

During the following years the company became the second biggest producer in Switzerland under his leadership and is also successful internationally amongst others in Germany. In 2001 Keller sold his business to the Swedish Assa Abloy Group.

50-year-anniversary at KESO

On 14th June 2013 the KESO company celebrated its 50-year-anniversary with the ASSA ABLOY Group in Richterswil. For my sons Enrico and Sascha, my wife Angelika and myself it was a great honour and pleasure to celebrate that day together with Ernst Keller.

It was the last time that we shook hands.
Rest in peace.

Adalbert Wendt

About the Author

Adalbert Wendt

Adalbert Wendt

Adalbert Wendt is the founder of A.Wendt GmbH. As the inventor of the Zieh-Fix, which began the professional production of Opening Tools in 1986, he has accumulated more than 30 years of experience in locking technology.

Today, Adalbert Wendt is Managing Director of Lockmaster GmbH, which is responsible for the concerns of the European Lockmaster Group and provides support and advice to members of the European Lockmaster Group.

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