From fire equipment to one of the best clamps in the world

It all started in 1896 when the Swedish company Allmänna Brandredskapsaffären AB – ABA (General Firefighting Equipment Store) was founded by Knut Edwin Bergström (1865-1950) with sales and production of fire materials. During the beginning of the 20th century, the General Firefighting Equipment Stores continued to develop along two main lines: manufacturing and sales of firefighting equipment.

In addition to hose couplings and other firefighting equipment, the range included fire extinguishers, rescue ropes and wheeled fire escapes. Before turn-table ladders came into general use, high places were reached by means of wheeled fire escapes. The most popular ladder of this type on the market was the Stockholm ladder made by ABA. This ladder is believed to have saved the lives of many people.

In 1911, ABA was appointed Purveyors to His Majesty the King of Sweden, and in 1918, a Royal decree was issued stipulating that only the “Ideal Coupling” – later called the ABA standard coupling – be used as fire hose coupling in Sweden. This exclusive approval significantly boosted ABA’s chances for future development.

The ABA history in pictures

Discover more pictures in our booklet about 125 years of ABA and our amazing way to becoming one of the world’s most popular clamps.

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The development of the first ABA clamp

The development of what would become the famous ABA clamp began during the 1930s. In the beginning, the hose clamp was not the highest priority, as the company, during the Second World War, was fully occupied with the manufacture of fire protection equipment. The turning point came when the Swedish Royal Air Force requested: “You must produce a Swedish hose clamp! We will order 100,000 pieces if you start a Swedish production.” This large order led to ABA intensifying the work and development of a Swedish hose clamp.

Experience showed that other clamps had the tendency to come apart on the underside of the housing. As they expanded under load, the housing would slip and the screw would lose its grip on the grooved metal. The idea of making the housing of a solid tube and then pressing it into its present shape originated with engineer Edwin Bergström. Once the initial technical difficulties had been sorted out, it was possible to manufacture a hose clamp of sufficiently high quality to meet the requirements of the Swedish Royal Air Force and other customers. Very high demands were placed on the quality of the hose clamp, as human life was at stake if they sat in sensitive places in aircrafts.

The Stockholm ladder around 1910

The internationalisation of ABA

After 1950, ABA began expanding into the world market. At the end of the 1950s, ABA was represented in most European markets as well as in Hong Kong and Thailand. Japan was added to the list at the end of the 1960s. In 1961, ABA set up a sales office in Holland, and in 1967, a new factory was taken into operation at Ter Apel for the sole purpose of assembling ABA clamps.

From 1984, the department of firefighting equipment was gradually discontinued, and in 1986, the remaining assets were sold off due to the market situation. About 20 years later, in 2006, the NORMA Group was founded through the merger of ABA with the German company Rasmussen. Since then, the ABA brand and the well-known ABA hose clamp have been an important part of the NORMA Group’s product portfolio.

Today, the ABA clamp with its blue housing is one of the best-known clamps in the world and can be found in numerous places around the globe.

ABA history in videos

All videos are in English with German subtitles.

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