WAGO - The Story behind the Company

WAGO was founded almost 70 years ago. But how did it all begin? Get an insight into the company history.

It all started with the original patent for spring pressure connection technology, which led to the founding of the family company. It was 1950. While playing cards in Berlin, brothers-in-law Heinrich Nagel and Friedrich Hohorst learned about a patent for screwless leaf spring clamps with pushbuttons, and spontaneously purchased all of the rights, including the housing, springs, current bars and rivets for a first assembly batch. This laid the cornerstone for the new family company: WAGO Klemmenwerk GmbH was founded on April 27, 1951 in Minden. Initial concepts followed, as well as highs and lows, but they were always accompanied by the conviction that screwless connection technology would be successful. The first decade was characterized by innovations, products, patents, and the first successes at home and abroad.

  • 1951: Acquisition of the original Terminal Block (including patent)
  • 1952: SUPRAFIX Banana Plug
  • 1953: SUPRAFIX terminal strips with pressure spring connection (12-pole); SUPRAFIX compact terminal blocks with push-buttons on both sides (2-pole)
  • 1954: Small SUPRAFIX modular terminal block with pressure spring connection
  • 1957: First WAGO Rail-Mount Terminal Block Family with leaf spring connection, for standardized DINrails

In 1961, Wolfgang Hohorst joined the company, bringing several new ideas with him. His vision for spring pressure connection technology – better, safer, more economical – served as an incentive for the course that he charted for the company. One pioneering decision in 1966 was the use of polyamide 6.6 instead of Duroplast for the housings for the rail-mount terminal blocks – a global first. In addition, pluggable connectors and solderable modules with spring clamp connection for printed circuit boards expanded the company’s product portfolio in the 1960s, while the use of spring pressure connection technology in electronic ballasts and capacitor terminal blocks provided WAGO with an entry into the lighting industry.

  • 1961: Wolfgang Hohorst joins the company
  • 1963: First Rail-Mount Terminal Blocks with 4-Conductor PUSH WIRE® Connection for the elevator and signal device industry
  • 1964: First modular PCB Terminal Block with leaf spring connection
  • 1965: First Pluggable Connector for PCBs with leaf spring connection
  • 1966: The world’s first use of polyamide 6.6 for the housing of rail-mount terminal blocks
  • 1968: First screwless pluggable terminals blocks for capacitors
  • 1969: First screwable/pluggable terminal block for control gears

A decade of innovations: WAGO’s developments changed the markets in the 1970s. In 1974, the new junction box connectors dramatically restructured electrical wiring with PUSH WIRE® connection technology for solid conductors. Three years later, in 1977, the CAGE CLAMP® transformed connection technology for all conductor types. WAGO presented the first Rail-Mount Terminal Blocks with CAGE CLAMP® connection technology, and sold the first 30,000 modules even before the market launch. A short while later, the refinement of the CAGE CLAMP® followed – the addition of front-entry wiring – which proved its versatility even in the smallest spaces.

  • 1971: WAGO France established
  • 1972: First WAGO Field-Wiring Terminal Block
  • 1974: WAGO PUSH WIRE® Connector for Junction Boxes
  • 1977: WAGO Rail-Mount Terminal Block with CAGE CLAMP® Connection (cage clamp spring)
  • 1977: WAGO Switzerland established
  • 1979: Compact Terminal Block with CAGE CLAMP® Connection (cage clamp spring)
  • 1979: WAGO Austria and WAGO USA established

In the 1980s, WAGO was making great strides: the CAGE CLAMP® technology was set to conquer the market. Under these excellent conditions, WAGO began its mission to disseminate spring pressure connection technology. Encouraged by the conviction that the market would embrace the CAGE CLAMP®, the sales team became “emissaries of spring connection technology”. The product portfolio was also continuously expanded, and licensees, for fuses, relays, or sensors, used the WAGO CAGE CLAMP® for device connections. In addition, the CAGE CLAMP® connection satisfied those working in the “supreme discipline”, explosion protection: with EEx e II certification, CAGE CLAMP® connection technology could be used in all areas.

  • 1980: WAGO Rail-Mount Terminal Blocks with front-entry wiring introduced
  • 1980: First PCB Terminal Block with CAGE CLAMP® Connection
  • 1985: WAGO Lighting Connector for secure lighting connection
  • 1985: WAGO Rail-Mount Terminal Blocks with CAGE CLAMP® Connection receive EEx e II certification
  • 1985: Pluggable electronic modules introduced on rail-mount terminal blocks
  • 1985: WAGO MULTI CONNECTION SYSTEM (MCS) pluggable PCB Connector introduced

The fall of the Berlin Wall changed the world. WAGO recognized opportunities for the company in these changes and actively pursued them, resulting in the most extensive expansion in the company’s history. A new facility was founded in the former East Germany. International locations were added in the UK, India, China, and Italy. Following the expiration of the patent, the CAGE CLAMP® hit the ground running with its motto, “If you are already using spring pressure connection technology, then stick to the original.” In addition, the introduction of the modular, fieldbus-independent I/O system in 1995 provided WAGO with an entry into the market for automation technology components. The development of the POWER CAGE CLAMP in 1998 facilitated the spring pressure connection of conductors with cross-sections up to 95 mm².

  • 1990: WAGO Japan and WAGO UK established
  • 1991: Sondershausen plant established
  • 1992: WAGO Czech Republic established
  • 1995: WAGO India established
  • 1995: WAGO X-COM-SYSTEM® introduced for integrated pluggable control cabinet wiring
  • 1995: WAGO I/O System introduced, the world’s first fieldbus-independent, modular I/O system
  • 1996: WAGO Italy and WAGO Singapore established
  • 1997: WAGO China and WAGO Poland established
  • 1998: WAGO High-Current Terminals Blocks with POWER CAGE CLAMP Connection introduced
  • 1998: WAGO Netherlands established
  • 1999: WAGO Belgium established

50 years of WAGO – exciting times for WAGO and the economy! In 2001, WAGO celebrated its golden anniversary with more than 2000 employees and guests and a wonderful atmosphere. The next reason for celebration arrived in March of 2003, the successful buy-back from Spirent PLC. WAGO was once again a one-hundred-percent family-owned business – a great moment. The second revolution in spring pressure connection technology came with the development of new rail-mount terminal blocks with Push-In CAGE CLAMP® technology. With the TOPJOB® S Rail-Mount Terminal Blocks with Push-in CAGE CLAMP®, WAGO improved the existing spring pressure connection technology, in particular as related to actuation, and introduced another technology that would swiftly become the market standard. The accreditation of its own test laboratory also provided evidence of WAGO’s comprehensive testing ability.

  • 2001: WAGO Denmark established
  • 2001: WAGO WINSTA® Pluggable Connection System
  • 2003: WAGO Rai-Mount Terminal Blocks TOPJOB®S
  • 2004 WAGO Finland and WAGO Mexico established
  • 2004: WAGO 222 Series – a splicing connector for all conductor types
  • 2005: WAGO Brazil, WAGO Norway and WAGO Sweden established
  • 2005: WAGO SPEEDWAY – I/O-System (for IP67 applications)
  • 2006: WAGO Hungary established
  • 2006: WAGO Signal Conditioners and Pluggable Relay Modules
  • 2007: WAGO Russia and WAGO Turkey established
  • 2009: WAGO Taiwan and WAGO UAE established

The world was caught up in the challenges and opportunities represented by digitalization, and WAGO could be found at the epicenter. Regardless of whether the topic was cyber security, cloud connectivity, or software applications, WAGO continued to develop automation solutions that focused on openness and flexibility. In addition, WAGO presented DIMA (Decentralized Intelligence for Modular Applications) in 2014, a method that opened pioneering paths in process automation. Products in electrical interconnection technology also continued to develop: the Series 221 Splicing connectors, introduced in 2014, enthralled customers, and the WAGO TOPJOB® S Rail-Mount Terminal Blocks with levers provide even easier handling into the future.

  • 2010: WAGO COMPACT Junction Box Connector
  • 2012: flexROOM® – the solution for integrated room automation
  • 2013: PFC Controller – CODESYS V3, with MQTT interface
  • 2014: WAGO 221 Series – COMPACT splicing connector
  • 2014: Introduction of the DIMA concept at the NAMUR Annual General Meeting
  • 2015: WAGO EPSITRON® Power Supply
  • 2017: WAGO Cloud
  • 2018: WAGO Rail-Mount Terminal Blocks with levers
  • 2019: WAGO Pro 2 Power Supply; WAGO I/O System Advanced; WAGO I/O System Field