1938 – 1945
The company was established as a subsidiary of the oldest Central European rubber company Optimist in the town of Odry, Czechoslovakia, during the unsettled times shortly before WWII. Its original production included protective (gas) masks under Leyland (UK) licence and it is still referred to as an arms factory nowadays. When the town of Zubří was occupied by German troops, the company was renamed Gasma and became German property. The factory was reconstructed and focused on manufacturing German military gas masks.
1945 – 1955
As being German property the company was confiscated after WWII. It maintained minimum operations due to lack of material and stopped its production for some time. But it did not take long and the political situation after the communist coup influenced its further development. The company received a strategic order for protective masks requiring new machines and expansion of production and the number of employees reached 600 in 1953.
1965 – 1975
Period of Technological Progress
The whole period was characterized by great technological progress. The company implemented injection technology in its production in 1966, which increased productivity, reduced material consumption and physical strain and brought a wide range of new products. The major products of that period included milking equipment components, pram tyres, battery caps and protective masks. The demand for protective masks increased especially after the arrival of the normalisation era with generally increased political tensions. The expanded range of products included M-10 military protective mask with a speech insert and its later modification CM-4 civilian protective mask. The company supplied protective masks to the armies of the Warsaw Pact.
1975 – 1985
The range of products remained virtually unchanged during the period of “consolidation of socialism“. The production focused mainly on battery cases, milking machine accessories and protective masks and newly included washing machine cuff seals.
Thanks to its business with Škoda Auto, the company expanded the range of products for automotive industry and started receiving orders also from foreign countries, particularly from Germany and Sweden. It modernised its products, including the protective masks, which made it possible to attach a fluid intake system now, and bought the first computers and new machinery.
2005 – 2010
Globalisation and Modern Development
This period was characterised by deepening globalisation and the company got into a difficult position. It exceeded the size of local businesses but was too small compared to global companies at the same time. The company was hit by the 2008 financial crisis. There was a strong decline in production which resulted in reduction of production capacities and massive layoffs. The number of employees decreased almost by half. But it did not take long. The company overcame the crisis as early as 2009 and in the middle of 2010 it had 700 employees.
The production focused on technical rubber, plastic and TEP products for automotive and non-automotive industry. Its portfolio of customers expanded with brands such as Continental, BMW, PSA, Audi, GM, Opel, Ford and Toyota, and both foreign and domestic customers became aware of its products.
The company also kept developing and manufacturing its protective masks. It focused on modernisation of OM-90 military protective mask and OPCH-05 special clothing system, and subsequently signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. Its participation in trade fairs and targeted presentations brought new important protective clothing and protective mask customers from all over the world.
2010 – Present
The company now focuses on civilian production and specialises in precision technical mouldings of plastics, elastomers and technical rubber for automotive industry. Its major activities include development and production of car accessories, particularly car floor mats. In spite of the decrease in military production in comparison with previous years, the company keeps developing and producing NBC protective equipment and is still referred to as an arms factory. Its protective equipment ranks among the absolute top, as evidenced by exporting the company’s products worldwide.