Tommerup Kister's History
from 1910 - today
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Tommerup Kister is a family-run company, established over 100 years ago. The company is located in an area of natural beauty on the Danish island of Funen - where Hans Christian Andersen was born. The company is firmly rooted in the area between the small towns of Tommerup and Glamsbjerg. Familiy values are an essential part of our company identity where trust, honesty and respect are key. We depend on our customers' confidence in us - the confidence which we have earned in more than a hundred years of providing the right product every time. We abide by our agreements. We are flexible. We aim at improving our customer service every day.
Tommerup Kister was founded by Anton Schärfe in 1910. It was originally a carpentry workshop on a hill in the small country town of Tommerup. Schärfe built coffins at the same time as he worked as an undertaker. The company's first car was purchased in 1930. It was one of thwe few cars in the area and with seven children it was a great help in transporting the family around. Anton ran the company until his death in 1939 where his son Adolf G. Schärfe took over the business with his wife Astrid.
Throughout the years the workshop was expanded several times In the 1950s production included veneer work, as well as making coffins. The workshop was renamed "Fyns Limcentral" ("Lim" is the Danish word for glue which was used in the veneer). It later became "Schärfe's Finercentral". (Schärfe's Veneer Company). The workhop's main production was of wall and ceiling panels and the company grew from a workshop to become a regular factory. Adolf G. Schärfe died in 1967 aged 57.
On Adolf Schärfe's death in 1967, his grandchild, Kurt Schärfe assumed responsibility for the firm. Kurt was a trained cabinetmaker and was awarded a Silver medal for his apprenticeship. While running the factory and the undertaking business Kurt was also a successful racing driver involved in motorcar racing. He was nicknamed "Denmark's fastest undertaker". In the late 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s the buildings and production grew. However, during the building crisis of 1973-74, the need for panels fell dramatically and the buidlings at the company's address on Kirkebjerg were sold.
In 1975 Kurt built a coffin factory on Højeløkkevej 18 in Tommerup. The company was named Snedkeriet TK (TK was an abbreviation for Tommerup Kister). The company focus was now solely on coffin manufacture. In 1987 Kurt Schärfe retired from the daily running of the company due to ill health. In January 1998 the fourth generation of the Schärfe family with brothers John Schärfe, Kent Schärfe and their brother-in-law Ulrich Hein Boe Nielsen took over the company.
1998 was a busy year as Tommerup Kister was granted the distributorship of the Swedish company Rydéns with their large product selection for the funeral branch. This resulted in Tommerup Kister becoming the first Danish total supplier to the funeral industry. In the same year Tommerup Kister purchased Fredensborg Kistefabrik (coffin factory) and production was moved to the factory in Tommerup. Space was at a premium and after two years Tommerup Kister purchased a former furniture factory at Krengerupvej 84 in the country town of Glamsbjerg. The company moved here in 2000.
In the years after the move to Glamsbjerg, Tommerup Kister expanded at a rapid pace. Between 2003 and 2006 Tommerup Kister received the prestigious business award "Gazelle" four years in a row from Børsen, the Danish equivalent of the Financial Times. This rapid growth led to the factory on Krengerupvej becoming too small and the factory area was consequently doubled with a new building.
In 2009 Tommerup Kister joined forces with the world-famous Danish design company Jacob Jensen Design. The idea was to link 100 years of tradition and experience in the funeral business with the best of Scandinavian design. In connection with Tommerup Kister's centenary in 2010 a new and unique coffin was launched in a branch saturated with tradition. The Diamant coffin established Tommerup Kister as a ground-breaker and innovator in the coffin business.
1915 Anton Schärfe with his family
1930 The family car
1955 Adolf Schärfe at the factory
1967 Kurt Schärfe and his Mini
1975 The factory
1988 Fredensborg Kistefabrik (Coffin Factory)
2010 Timothy Jacob Jensen, Jacob Jensen Design and Ulrich Hein Boe Nielsen, Tommerup Kister