History of Centaure

Centaure is the name Léon GUBRI gave to the first line of aluminum ladders crafted by his metal workshops in 1955. A choice full of symbolism, revealing the personality behind the man and the ambitions he had for his company.


1936 Léon GUBRI, boundless inventor

histoire de la marque Centaure années 40


Léon GUBRI is a remarkably shrewd and dynamic man. His creativity knows no bound and he keeps cleverly promoting his inventions to bolster the growth of his business.

Right after their installation in Courbevoie (department 92) in 1936, the metal workshops have been designing aluminum tanks for the aviation and the resulting innovation is patented. Fame soon follows the GUBRI solution and profitable contracts with the army give the inventor the means to expand his business. He realizes his growth plans by opening a second factory in Romilly sur Andelle (department 27). Renown companies seek the know-how of GUBRI and co. Léon's companions work on famous sites part of the collective memory, such as: Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, Paquebot France, Marine Nationale, PTT (French Postal Services and Telecommunications), SNCF (French National Railway Company), building line 1 of the Paris subway.

1950 The brand reaches fame

histoire de la marque Centaure années 50


In 1950, we start building aluminum ladders and everything is done by hand. Léon GUBRI quickly realizes that the process must be automated and starts working on a project that would mechanize the assembly.

In 1955, he invents the "Tulipage/dudgeonnage" (socketing/tube expanding) which allows to automatically attach the rung to the ladder's upright. A line of aluminum ladders assembled using this technique is produced. Its creator, who foresees a bright future for it, names it CENTAURE.

1962-1970 Success and reorganization

Histoire de la marque Centaure années 60-70


Success quickly follows and it is not long before the factories cannot meet the expanding demand. Léon GUBRI then decides in the early sixties to reorganize his company. He splits it in three different companies and transfers his workshops in Romilly-sur-Andelle.

GUBRI and Co split as follows: Anoxa, specialized in sheet-metal / boiler making, Portavia, specialized in crafting fire doors and Centaure, specialized in ladders. In the seventies, Centaure realizes its international ambitions and starts exporting to Central Europe and the Middle East, but keeps diversifying its height access hardware.

1980-1990 The decade of change and opening

Histoire de la marque Centaure années 80-90


1984 is a turn-point in the history of Centaure. : Léon GUBRI transfers management to his son Michel who runs the company for 5 years. It is a time of great growth thanks to a thriving market.

And as the company grows, its management still faithful to the mark left by its founder, continues to innovate to improve the quality of its products and conquer new markets. In 1993, they open an office in Moscow and penetrate Russia and Eastern Europe. Work with the Middle-East also keeps on thriving.

2000 Growth of new strategies

Histoire de la marque Centaure années 2000


In 2000, Christophe Vinsonneau and Patrick Wuillai buy the company back and devise new growth strategies, based on quality and innovation and a greater geographic exposure.

Large-scale projects follow one another... A thorough quality approach starts in 2003 to get ISO 9002 and 9001 certifications to show gratitude to all the departments satisfying the clients. In 2006, Centaure joins the industrial hub of French scaffolding manufacturer Duarib, soon followed by Haemmerlin, the wheelbarrow world leader. The three companies actively work together and launch new common products. In 2007, they buy Axial, a Hungary-based company specializing in ladders and stepladders manufacture and open a new 3500 m² production unit in Fleury-sur-Andelle (department 27).

2011 The birth of a Group

Histoire de la marque Centaure années 2010


Co-operation between Centaure, Duarib and Haemmerlin reaches new height in 2011 with the creation of a new group. The three French manufacturers who share a strong industrial background and values, merge together to become CDH GROUP. A name whose objective is joining forces all the while keeping the area of expertise and identity of each brand.


2016 CDH Group builds its future

Centaure depuis 2011: Centaure fait parti de CDH Group et poursuit ses collaborations avec les marques Duarib et Haemmerlin


In March 2016, CDH Group became part of Werner Co., a global player in height access and yard equipment, thus establishing the Group's foothold in Continental Europe, whilst retaining its DNA, namely: its history, brands, values, workforce, expertise and its characteristics that have made its success to date.