Since 1786 the KÜHNLE Carriage Manufactory was a company of craftsmen in the 7th generation. The changeover to the production of carriages made in the Black Forest took place in the year 1960. Restoration and reparation of every kind of carriages. To date our carriages are known worldwide for their best quality.

About us

Black Forrest carriages and sleighs all over the world

In 1992 the beautiful Black Forrest village of Beihingen can take a look onto 700 years of history. Closely related to the history of the village of Beihingen is the history of the Kühnle family. The past of the Kühnle company starting as a blacksmith business dates back until the year 1786. For seven generations the rural blacksmith craft exists in the Kühnle family. The founder, Michel Kühnle born in 1748, learned the blacksmith craft and started with his own company in 1786. In this house under the living rooms he had a small workshop. Next to the house there were the stables. A lot of work took place outside in front of the house. The high and powerful clang of the blacksmith could be already heard in the early morning. The farmers had their tool build on demand. Horseshoe making brought some additional income. Furthermore the smith was the "allrounder" who was called to do all different sorts of work. This type of the blacksmith craft lingered on for some generations. The sons learned the craft from the father which was not easy most of the time. In all generations there were severe rules. The smith had strong hands and the apprentices got to snese this quite often. Smith was a hard job and notsuitable for soft souls.

The grandfather

In the village blacksmith, in the Egenhauser Street, the today's owners, Gustav and Paul Kühnle, learned the blacksmith craft from their grandfather Friedrich Kühnle from childhood on. The grandfather did a lot of different worka apart from the ones already mentioned which were only widely related to metal working. Being a smith for horseshoe and carriage making the grandfather more and more worked on fixing metal to the wooden farm carriages. For this purposes the cartwright and the wheel craftsman delivered the ready made wooden parts to the smith who fixed the corresponding metal reinforcements to the wood or equipped the wooden wheels with steel covering and steel hub.

Father and wise instructor in one person

The father of today's owners, Gustav Kühnle sen., was a passionate horse and carriage smith. In 1934 he started the production of farm carriages with air tyres and in every different style. The vehicles were sold in a very long-ranged area up to Stuttgart. Gustav Kühnle sen. was very imaginative and even today many agricultural trailers and heavy carriages for the transportation of wood trunks can be seen on festivities. He manufactured these vehicles together with 3-4 workers. Material was rare and therefore a lot of things were manufactured under the motto: "From old to new". That is why Gustav Kühnle sen. was specified in redesigning car axles from scraped vehicles. Several vehicles were bought for this purpose and stored on the area in the Bösinger Street. Here Gustav Kühnle sen. has established a new workshop which was much bigger as the one of his ancestors and where modern working methods were practised. By the redesigning of scrap the children very early learned about motorization and were hand crafting all the time.

Very early they learned about the meaning of good work

The children grew up and learned very early and fast what working meant. Mostly the older ones had to help everywhere in the household as well as in the workshop and in the farm which was also kept. Gustav the eldest left school in 1962 and traditionally learned the blacksmith handicraft from his father. His brother Paul joined the blacksmith of his father 3 years later and another year later the younger brother Helmut joined as well. The three sons often experienced from their father that learning was hard work. In his workshop as well as in the big family he had to have strict rules making everthing develop all right. He must have been successful and for sure he and his wife would be happy if they could see the achievements of today.

Everything started with a pony

We stop here with the history of the blacksmith kept for more than seven generations. The transition to the new age started with the youngest son Roland. He always wanted to ride on the horses which came for getting shoed. The five year old boy begged for having a pony of his own and his father, a horse lover himself, ended up in buying one. Soon a pony moved into their own stable on which the children rode. Because the father also wanted to do something with his pony he build a little, light-weighted carriage on two wheels with which he drove around within a few spare hours. On one of those trips he met Dr. Nagel, the former chief doctor of the county hospital in Horb. He was interested in buying a carriage with four wheels. Dr. Nagel became the first customer Kühnle build a carriage for. This was the beginning of the carriage manufacturing. Nevertheless car trailers as well as agriculture trailers still were built. In addition railings and gates for every purposes were manufactured. Even in former times the Kühnle company had many "legs" to stand on and one could not moan about missing work.

Changes in the shop

Carriage building from now on was kept on as an additional income in a small scale. Very soon the vehicles with inner tubed tyres could also be delivered to towns more far away, mostly to leisure drivers. Already in early times it became clear that business could be made with tourism companies. The Kühnle company could within only a few years deliver numerous carriages to tourism centres in The Black Forrest, in Bavaria and to the neighbourhood countries. Kühnle vehicles carried the guests to the Neuschwanstein castle as well as through the beautiful mountain side of Seefeld near Tirol or Sankt Moritz in Switzerland. In other summer and winter tourism centres Kühnle carriages were used as well. Kühnle still is very proud on the fact that in all these towns the old carriages are still used. Thanks to this good advertising orders for new carriages keep coming in. Different types of sleighs were als successful even in those days. To adjust to the changing climate in today's winter the sleighs were equipped with an additional wheeling system which could be lowered by a specially designed hydraulic. Gradually the company changed because the carriage manufacturing increased. Driving with horse drawn carriages became popular and new customers arrived even from foreign countries. No doubt the most important order at that time was the delivery of eight carriages to Persia.

The big change happend in the 6th generation.

The world wide success of the Kühnle carriages in the international sport of today startedin 1971. At that time a traveller filled up his car at the small petrol station in front of the workshop. Until today it is not known how this foreigner found his way to the Black Forrest village because Beihingen is not situated near a thoroughfare. This traveller named Wolf Kröber, an advertising specialist and fair organizer from Bramsche , near Osnabrück, brought the big change for the company. Just at that moment when he filled up his car a carriage ready for dispatch was driven out of the workshop door. Today's owner of Kühnle still remember how Wolf Kröber ran across the yard with big steps always calling out: "It's you I have to get, it's you I have to get ...". This was because Wolf Kröber wanted to start a fair especially for horses and horses equipment in Essen the next year. He was at that time in search of suitable exhibitors for this fair and therefore travelled through Germany and the near by foreign countries. Wolf Kröber was very pleased with the work he saw at the Kühnle company and wanted the Kühnle carriages being part of the fair right from the start. The father was not as pleased as his sons at the beginning. Several months passed while Wolf Kröber tried to get the "yes" of the father until in the end the sons convinced the father to permit the participation in the fair.

The Black Forrest stand at the fair in Essen

The beginning of the first fair as well was the beginning of a varied story of success. Eight carriages together with some small Black Forrest pines for the decoration of the stand went to Essen. Being only rural handicrafts the father and the sons had no idea about what happen in Essen but the enthusiasm of the sons could not be stopped. Not even as the father said one day before they went to the fair:"I am not sure whether we should stay at home. For sure will earn more here." Thr first booth on the fair of the Kühnle carriages was designed as a typical Black Forrest stand and therefore was very much different to the other stands and striking because of the pines. It must be admitted that again and again pitying weregiven to the owners. On the other hand the quality of the show carriages was seen and accepted by the experts without restiction with the result that all carriages were sold. The company was highly praised for their flexibility and varied techniques. Encouraged by this success new ideas were developed and put into practise in the next time. Wolf Kröber and his "EQUITANA" fair was as successful as the newcomers in carriage manufacturing from The Black Forrest and a very special friendship developed. The success during the fair showed the Kühnle company the way to specialize in carriage manufacturing. The different English exclusive carriages on the fair built in historic tradition were the models. The "EQUITANA" has meanwhile become the world fair no. 1 for equestrian sports. Kühnle carriage manufacturing has up to now participated in every "EQUITANA" fair.

Loyal employees guarantee success

Success always demands great effort and does not come automatically. The success of the Kühnle company is closely related to the five most loyal employees being part of the company for years. The personal effort of these employees and their good relationship to the other workers made the outrageous success happen to the company in a branch formerly dominated by the British companies. The leading employees are supported by mostly young and high motivated workers whose ideas are always welcome. Up to now the leading employees could be taken from the already existing staff. Also in the past many young people could finish their apprenticeship at the Kühnle Company and nearly all of these young specialists could be kept in the firm. Throug industry and the manufacturing of high quality products meanwhile all critics could be convinced that the Black Forrest carriages are unsurpassed. The world wide success of today could only happen because of the always demanded good teamwork in the company. The practical knowledge of the entrepreneurs Gustav and Paul Kühnle who both learned the blacksmith profession with the main topic vehicle construction and had passed the examination for master craftsman's diploma is of great use to the employees. Therefore the workers are not expected to achieve impossible results. The practical experience plus the hard years of learning at the father's workshop nowadays pay for the Company. Today nearly 50 employees manufacture carriages, sleighs and other horse drawn vehicles of every possible kind. They products are made under the observance of old handicraft traditions on app. 3.000 m2 production space in a modern manufacturing company. All former craftsmen such as blacksmith, locksmith, mechanic, coachmaker, cartwright, carpenter, upholsterer, saddler, painter and artistic decorator work in the Kühnle carriage manufacturing. Apart from these traditional craftsmen Kühnle also employs fitters and surface painters. Herewith tradition and modern technology is connected and best results arise every day. Even demanding wishes can be fulfilled without any problem.

Factory expansion was imperative

Even before January 1979 Gustav and Paul Kühnle knew that together with the taking over of the factory also expansion would be necessary. At that time the good demand for the Black Forrest products could be seen very clearly and certainly the clients' wishes could not be fulfilled in the previous building. Already in the middle of 1980 another production hall was added to the building and the numberof employees rose accordingly. A lot of space in the production hall was necessary for the modern and special wood department which caused high costs. Just 2 years later again another production hall had to be added and in 1985 space was short again. The Kühnle people are rural inhabitants of Beihingen and therefore would not leave the traditional location Beihingen. Thankfully the Kühnle's wish was accepted by the former mare Hugo Meroth and he supported the urgent building plans. The quick agreement of the town councillors also supported the development of the company very well. When the resettlement was due it looked as if the Kühnle company had to give up the Beihingen location. Thanks to the town councillors of Beihingen and Haiterbach the Kühnle company could have been able to settle within short next to the already built companies Schwenk and Stöhr. The new company building had already been approved when the brothers Gustav and Paul Kühnle received an offer from Mr. Schwenk. He wanted to sell his building opposite to the sporting ground because he had decided to dose the factory within the next time. It was very hard for the Kühnle owners to give up their plans for building a new production hall. But after thinking things over very good they decided on taking over the complete building of the Schwenk company. In November 1986 the removal took place. While Paul Kühnle prepared the new factory together with some workers Gustav Kühnle kept up the carriage manufacturing with the remaining workers in the previous building. Herewith no delay in production occurred due to the removal. During the first days in the new building the employees were allowed to design their new workplaces according to their own wishes. Since Kühnle moved into the new building they called themselves "Kühnle carriage manufacturing" because from this time on according to the good old tradition all handicrafts necessary for the final product were gathered under one roof. The pride of many craftsmen lives on in the Kühnle company and they are proud of manufacturing more than 100 different types of carriages to be exported in the whole world. Due to the increase of the working staff the number of office employees had to rise accordingly. The company has a qualified office staff too. The employees are multilingual and the customers take this for granted. During most weekends in the months of summer the Company owners exhibit their Black Forrest quality products on national and international horse sporting events. On these tireing journeys which always happen after a normal working week in the factory the owners are accompanied by their wifes and successfully supported by them in difficult discussions.

The saying of the father

The traditional motto of Gustav Kühnle sen., father and teacher of today's owners to his sons was: "Listen to all opinions and do not offend anybody by saying 'We already know' but take all instructions as an aid for new developments and improvements and you always will be respected and yourwork will be successful." Today's success in the big equestrian sports such as single, pair and four-in-hand driving as well as tandem-cart-driving has a good basis. The opinion of a beginner in horse driving is as welcome at the Kühnle Company as the opinion of the numerous World Champions, National Champions and medal winners from all over the world who rely on Kühnle carriages. Products crafted correct and carefully according to the vision of the customer is and always has been the foundation for lasting success and does assure employment. Today Kühnle carriages are successfully used in sport, in leisure driving and in commercial enterprises. The Kühnle company delivers app. 60 percent of their high quality products to nearly all foreign countries in the world.

Official supplier for the World Championship in the USA

Only recently the Kühnle company took part with an exhibition stand in the American Championships at Gladstone/New Jersey, the biggest equestrian sporting event in the USA. Already before this visit to America the World Championship committee told the Kühnle company that they had been elected to be official supplier for the first World Championship to take place on American ground. In America according to the wish of the organizers of the World Championship it was agreed that Kühnle delivers 40 to 50 new carriages via sea to the States in September 1993. After the arrival of the carriages in the USA they should be already presented to possible customers. The taking over of the carriages by the purchasers could take place in October 1993 afterthe World Championship. During the 12 th "Equitana" fair in March 1993 the World Championship carriage types are already presented in a special colour on the American stand to already draw customers' attention to these carriages. A very special order was placed with the Kühnle company some years ago after the "Equitana" fair by the sultan of Oman who ordered 12 carriages of the most exclusive type. In 1984 a great challenge for the company was the order of the Daimler Benz company to produce re-constructions of the so called riding vehicle dated 1885 and the motor carriage dated 1886. Also the big Orders of Daimler Benz for their 100 th company jubilee in 1986 were delivered to the great satisfaction of the client. Because of this several orders for vehicle restorings followed. On the 700 th birthday of the Beihingen village a Daimler riding vehicle and a motor carriage were shown in the parade. The Kühnle-drivers had dressed up according to the historic background.

Successes in sporting competitions

While the building of air wheeled carriages for leisure and tourism purposes always grew slowly, Kühnle carriage manufacturing at the end of the 70's was nearty run down by the success of their carriages for competitive driving. It was very unusual that a German manufacturer could jump into this market dominated all over the world by the British companies. In 1974 Gustav and Paul Kühnle took 4 air wheeled carriages to Frauenfeld in Switzerland to the 2 nd World Championship for four-in-hand-drivers. At that time the Company owners had only very little experience in the international sport. But the enthusiasm for competitive driving was to begin soon. The fact that the four shown carriages could be sold during the Worid Championship encouraged Kühnle to build even better and more beautiful carriages in future. 1977 the European Championships for four-in-hand-driving in Donaueschingen/Germany took place. For this event the Company manufactured a prestigious hunting carriage with wooden wheels and with a metal top according to theF E.I - specifications This carriage was very much admired by the public at the European Championships and immediately after the show it was purchased by Max Assmann, an at that time very successful driver of international contests. Being so pleased with the quality of that carriage Max Assmann ordered at the beginning of 1979 a special carriage for marathon driving contests which was designed after his specifications. This marathon carriage also was shown at the "Equitana“ fair. Nano Jansen and Helmut Kolouch successfully participated in the European Championships in France in 1979 with their Kühnle multi purpose carriages just bought at the "Equitana". Herewith the door to international competitive driving was opened. One reason among other for the world wide success of the company is that the Beihingen carriage manufacturers always endeavoured to implement the improvement advices given by their customers. Already in 1980 at the Wortd Championships taking place at Windsor castle in England five Kühnle carriages took part.
Partner der Kühnle Kutschen-Manufaktur: Dekra VDTÜV und die Deutsche Reiterliche Vereinigung FN