From an article of that time: “… The picture you see is of W. A. Van Berkel, the creator of the slicing machine, next to the first model he built. He opened his first factory in Rotterdam on 12 October 1898.
The young Van Berkel was very enterprising and keen. Even though he started out in business at a young age, his passion always remained the same: mechanics.
One day he had an idea to build a machine that would help butchers needing to cut cold meat into thin slices. It took months of experimenting, very often his attempts seemed on the point of failure, but eventually his patience was rewarded – and the first slicer saw the light of day.
Van Berkel, however, did not have the means necessary to put his idea into production. He discovered a printery that was going bankrupt. Boldly, he introduced himself to the owner and proposed to transform the printery into a workshop for the manufacture of his machines.
His idea was accepted and so, in October 1898, the company “Van Berkel” was born. In the first year they built 76 of the more current Model A machines, three of the Model B and five of the Model C.
From then on, they never looked back. As always, imitators sprang up everywhere, but nobody – neither then nor now – managed to match the original products. For such distinguished clients, the owners of the best shops in the world only ask for ‘Berkel’ – because they know that Berkel products aren’t copies and therefore are unequalled, and that the name ‘Berkel’ is the oldest, the safest, and the most reliable.”