The history of TETENAL
From the birth in 1847 to the restart in 2019

When the Berlin drug dealer Theodor Teichgräber had his pulverizing and cutting facility entered in the commercial register in 1847, no one had any idea that this would lay the foundation stone for an important company in the photo industry. 

With his initials "TT", the company founder was also the namesake for the later established brand Tetenal, which has literally developed over the decades into a synonym for photochemistry.

After the insolvency of the former Tetenal Europe in 2019, Tetenal 1847 GmbH is focused on the development, production and worldwide distribution of imaging chemicals: essentially in the segments Photo, Industrial X-ray, Pre Press and Micro. In addition to the Tetenal portfolio, the development and production of imaging chemicals for OEM partners is the second important pillar of the company based in Norderstedt near Hamburg. We have been making history since 1847 and are significantly involved in the development of the photo industry. Our most important milestones:

1847 – 1972

Professional Imaging Products


The company Theodor Teichgräber is registered in 1847 as a joint stock company in the Commercial Register of Berlin. The company's laboratory soon produced not only pharmaceutical products, but also the necessary chemicals for the first experimental photographers.  

The brand "Te-Te" is branded as a developer and fixer bath and under the name TETENAL ready-made photo paper. With the introduction of the new Neofin concept, TETENAL is the first surface developer in the world to launch the new generation of developers for high-resolution films that are still in use today. At the end of the 1950s, the foundation stone for a photochemical plant on a total of 20,000 m2 of operating space was laid in Norderstedt near Hamburg – the central and globally operating manufacturing facility for color, X-ray, repro and B/W chemicals. 

1972 – 2018

Innovation with ecological ambition


As part of the Safe Chemistry research programme, TETENAL has launched several products with improved occupational safety and environmental compatibility. Examples include formaldehyde-free stabilizing baths for use in finishing, minilab and professional laboratory applications, as well as minilab processes (C 41 SLR, RA-4 CD SLR) with the lowest replenishment rates.  

Since the beginning of the 1990s, TETENAL has been setting new ecological standards: As the first manufacturer in Germany, we offer our specialist customers a product delivery and disposal cycle. In the field of medical imaging, we are launching the first specialized developer for mammography applications, Roentoroll RA, which offers improved cancer screening capabilities. 

With Roentoroll AC, the first hydroquinone and glutaraldehyde-free X-ray developer for all film types, as well as innovations in the field of dental technology, Tetenal strengthens its position as a specialist for X-ray photography applications.  


At the end of the 90s, the user-friendly Minilab range Ergoline and the professional Colortec product line with odourless and reduced allergy formulas were added to the range.

2018 – March of 2018

Premature end of an era


The application for insolvency proceedings of the old Tetenal Europe GmbH went through the photo press like a purgatory. The entire analog photo industry was shocked. 172 years of tradition out and over? The end of a legend seemed sealed. 

But when the need was greatest, the employees intervened. With a courageous initiative, four employees together with around 40 employees decided to take over the company and lead it into the future.

The birth of the new TETENAL 1847 GmbH and the realignment

After successfully concluding a contract with the insolvency administrator, the initiative now owns the production machines, recipes, registrations, Tetenal trademark rights and the know-how from 172 years of analog photochemistry production. The foundation for a successful restart.

Since 1 April 2019, the new company has been producing at its old location and is focusing exclusively on the production and distribution of chemical products. In the meantime, TETENAL 1847 GmbH has also met the need for a direct presence to the end customer and is modifying its product range and dividing it into two main groups: Professional Imaging (b2b) and Consumer Imaging (b2c).


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