Lars Wenaas (1869-1960) emigrates to the United States. Here, he apprentices as a tailor before being conscripted into the army. He returns to Norway in 1912, and in 1931 starts a small textile factory in the basement of his home in Måndalen.
A new factory is built in Måndalen. The next generation - as represented by Sigmund (1919-2004) and Leif Wenaas (1916-1973) - takes over, and founds the company Brødrene Wenaas AS. They go their separate ways four years later. New and innovative products - especially for the building and construction sector - are launched. Many of the new items are developed further, and are still to be found on the market today.
The third generation in the person of Lars Wenaas (1951- ) takes over the business, and the volume increases. A new factory is built and revenues rise. Wenaas is established as a brand name with an associated logo, and the company enters into contracts with major Norwegian industrial firms. The oil and gas boom begins, and Wenaas develops solutions and products for the new industry.
The working environment in the North Sea is more demanding than onshore industry, so innovative solutions are progressively developed in close consultation with the users. Wenaas works closely with Daletec to develop the first flame-retardant coveralls in 1976. The coveralls are then developed further, and by the end of the 1970s flame-retardant coveralls are also implemented in the offshore industry.
Wenaas establishes a base in Stavanger, Norway, to cater to the demands of the oil and gas industry. The need for both increased production capacity and reduced production costs leads Wenaas to build a factory in Ireland. At the same time, the company acquires a number of Norwegian clothing manufacturers. Wenaas enters into contracts with several Norwegian transport and industry firms, both onshore and offshore.
A popular material in this decade is "beaver nylon" - which is also used to make unlined coveralls, work trousers and uniforms for customers including the police, security companies and rescue organisations. One of the measures launched to reduce work accidents is the application of reflectors to work clothes. Wenaas therefore introduces a range of stock products with pre-fitted reflectors.
Wenaas becomes the first workwear manufacturer to set up production in Poland. Wenaas and Hejco merge under the name of Kansas Wenaas AS. Acquisition of Business Design, which specialises in the production of uniforms and work clothes. Acquisition of Ary Konfeksjon AS - a sector specialist in clothing for fire and rescue personnel, ambulance crews and first responders - adds competence in the development of flame-retardant and protective clothing. Wenaas works with the electricity utility sector to produce customised collections.
The Odin brand of gloves is established, marking the first step towards becoming a head-to-toe supplier. The first EN standards - regulations stipulating requirements on work clothes - enter into law. Wenaas becomes the first player in Norway to launch its own collections of hi-visibility clothes.
Acquisition of Forma safety shoes - a leading manufacturer of safety footwear, with emphasis on the Norwegian market. This is the next step on the path to becoming a head-to-toe supplier. With regard to flame-retardant products, major developments are taking place in the field of new textiles. Several new collections with multinorm protection are launched - for the electricity utility industry, for instance - with a view to meeting requirements for visibility, flame-retardant material and protection against arc flash.
Wenaas International opens offices in Houston and Aberdeen. Wenaas establishes new logistics solutions with a webshop solution, container setups, E-Floor Stock, EDI and e-invoices - all intended to improve cost-efficiency for customers. Close working relationship with the SINTEF research organisation - to help develop concepts for the gas and oil industry and extremely cold working environments - leads to the launch of workwear designed for work in the Barents area.