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The company dates back to 1835 when Georg Egestorff founded a company called Eisen-Giesserei und Maschinenfabrik Hannover to build small steam engines. They soon started making farm machinery and in 1846 built their first railway locomotive for the Hannover State Railways. By 1870 they had made 500 locomotives and in 1871 changed their name to Hannoversche Maschinenbau AG. Road vehicles followed when in 1905 they received a contract for Steam waggons for the German army.
Petrol engined vehicles followed in 1912 with a line of farm tractors.
By the 1920s the market for steam road vehicles was in terminal decline and Hanomag looked to cars as the future, particularly economy models. In 1925 they launched the Hanomag 2/10 open two seater with single cylinder water cooled engine and weighing just 370 kg. Its rounded front and rear gained it the name of Kommissbrot meaning Army Bread. Although made in large numbers, 15,775 in total, it did not make much money for the company and in the late 1920s the railway locomotive division was sold to Henschel & Son of Kassel.
A more conventional car, the 3/16PS, and the first diesel engined tractors came in 1928 taking the company back into profit but they were badly hurt by the drop in trade in 1929 and built upon a large stock of unsold vehicles. Things improved in 1930 and the company got 14 per cent of the domestic car market taking them to second place behind Opel but in 1931 a new crisis came when the banks withdrew a loan facility. The factory was mortgaged to Hannover City and the Vereinigte Stahlwerke trust and the company relaunched as Hanomag Automobil und Schlepperbau GmbH.
For 1932 new small car, the 1.1 Litre, renamed the Garant in 1934, was announced and sold well allowing two shift working to be introduced and it was joined by the larger 1.5 Litre Rekord (a name later used by Opel) in 1933 with independent front suspension. A diesel Rekord was shown at the 1936 Berlin Motor Show.
During the war the car plant made military vehicle engines, a military version of their heavy tractor reanmed the SS-100, and half track troop carriers. Post war production resumed making trailer units followed by tractors and in 1949 a 1.5 ton truck. Although prototypes were made, no cars were produced post war. Rudolph Hiller, who had been president of Phänomen trucks, joined the board and restructured the company by arranging for it to join the Rheinstahl consortium inn 1952.
In 1964 Rheinstahl took over Henschel & Son and in a reverse of history the company was merged with Hanomag. The farm tractor operation was sold to Massey Ferguson and in 1969 the truck making division of Hanomag-Henschel went to Daimler Benz leaving the Hannover works making earth moving machinery. This was sold to Komatsu in 1990 and in 1995 became Komatsu Hanomag Aktiengesellschaft.
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