THE HISTORY OF A MINERAL PAINTS

There are three main characters in the story of the discovery and creation of mineral paints : Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and last-but-not-least, A.W. Keim, the inventor of this paint. 

The basis of his 1878 patented mineral paint was a mixture of liquid potassium silicate (water glass) and inorganic colour pigments.

The result was a high-quality silicate paint system that combined performance, durability, protection and colour-fastness that, even today, remains unsurpassed. Buildings decorated with KEIM paints in the 19th century are still in excellent condition today. Amongst such examples are the "White Eagle" inn in Stein am Rhein and the City Hall in Schwyz (1891), both of which are in Switzerland, and facades in Oslo (1895) and Traunstein, Germany (1891).

Potassium silicate has been around since the Middle Ages, when it was called Liquor Silicium, however it did not have a specific use until much later.  In 1768, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had high hopes after his initial experiments with water glass. In the 8th book of "Facts and Fiction" he wrote: "What most occupied my spirit for a long while was the so-called Liquor Silicium which is obtained if pure quartz sand is melted with an adequate proportion of alkali, giving rise to a transparent glass which melts in air yielding a beautiful clear liquid...".

However, Goethe was unable to translate his theories and findings into any practical uses. The catalyst for Adolf Keim's development work was King Ludwig I of Bavaria. This monarch had a great passion for the arts. He longed to replicate fine Italian lime fresco work in his own kingdom in Bavaria. But the harsh climate north of the Alps destroyed such frescos within a short time. He, therefore, called upon Bavarian scientists to develop a paint that was of similar appearance to lime frescos but also had much greater durability.

The unique solution to these requirements was Keim's silicate paints. What was truly groundbreaking about A.W. Keim's invention was the bond between paint and substrate which actually chemically bonded to provide its outstanding durability and performance. From the classic mineral paint invented by A.W. Keim, KEIM as a company has been able to expand it’s position as the world's leading mineral paint specialist and be at the forefront of development to both improve the properties of the paint itself as well as increase its spectrum of substrates and colours.

In our current era of pressing environmental problems, our aim to see environmentally-friendly, permanent and excellent high-quality paints has become even stronger. This is achieved by development of a far larger mineral product range, all derived from A.W. Keim’s initial groundbreaking invention. 

MILESTONES IN SILICATE TECHNOLOGY

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