The most important at a glance:

  • Foundation in 1919
  • Company name "Burkhardt & Schmidt Garnfabrik"
  • Headquarter with production site in Freiburg, Germany
  • 1920s: manufacture of cotton sewing threads
  • 1950s: manufacture of cotton embroidery threads
  • 1960s: development of a viscose machine embroidery thread
  • 1970s: growth of the core competence for machine embroidery threads
  • 1975: change of the company name to "Madeira"
  • 1980s: development to a global player
  • 1987: foundation of the company "Madeira Garne" for the trade market
  • 2003: market launch of the Aerofil sewing thread line
  • 2006: market launch of Premium Embroidery Stabilizers
  • 2010: market launch of new developed quilt and special effect threads
  • Today: Madeira is a German, family owned company in the third generation with headquarter and production site in Freiburg, Germany
  • Export in over 60 countries, worldwide locations, 400 employees
  • 2019: we are celebrating our 100th anniversary!


More Information:

Madeira is a family owned group of companies with headquarter and production site in Freiburg, Germany. Madeira was established in 1919 under the name "Burkhardt & Schmidt Garnfabrik". The headquarter and the production site are located in the green city of Freiburg near the Black Forest until today.

Originally, the company Burkhardt & Schmidt produced cotton sewing threads. Later, the company startet to produce cotton embroidery threads as well.

At the end of the 1950s the son of the company’s founder, Rudi Schmidt, had the idea to develop a machine embroidery thread made from viscose. His vision was to embody the luster and shininess of viscose in a thread for machine embroidery. In order to achieve this, a new kind of thread had to be developed, as viscose was only used in the production of exclusive fabrics at that time.

In the 60s the company continued to research and develop technologies for the production of viscose thread, as this raw material proved to be ideal for machine embroidery. Until today there is no other embroidery thread with comparable luster and softness. The company perfected its machine embroidery thread made of viscose and called it "Madeira No.40". Madeira was the first company worldwide to successfully launch high quality embroidery thread made from 100% pure viscose for the commercial embroidery industry.

In 1975 the “Burkhardt & Schmidt Garnfabrik” changed their name to “Madeira Garnfabrik”, because the machine embroidery thread "Madeira No.40" meanwhile became famous worldwide. The name derives from the Portuguese Island Madeira that is known for its famous embroideries. In former times, embroidered artworks from this island were exported to Oriental and European royal dynasties.

The company shifted into the third generation. The twin brothers Michael and Ulrich Schmidt are running the company until today. They developed Madeira to be a global player with several subsidiaries around the world.

Madeira developed "Neon" the first polyester embroidery thread, to offer neon signal colors, e.g. for safety jackets. Later on, the color range of "Neon" was extended and the thread was renamed as "Polyneon" the polyester embroidery thread for highly strained textiles and clothes that are washed frequently.

Madeira’s development brought to new products, and it became a leading manufacturer of high quality embroidery and special effect threads in the 80s, complementing the market with a unique variety of different embroidery threads as well as metallic threads such as  "Metallic 40" or "Supertwist", the Haute Couture's sparkling thread.

During that time, the Schmidt brothers consequently modernized, expanded, and developed the production site in Freiburg. Today, Madeira is one of the most modern and efficient thread manufacturing companies in the world and is running one of the most high-tech and sustainable thread dye houses in Germany.

In 1987 the Schmidt brothers founded the company “Madeira Garne”. Another production site was created next to the existing company in Freiburg. From now on, the worldwide famous threads are wound on small spools for the consumer market.

Now the colorful butterfly appeared in the company’s logo. This beautiful animal stands for Madeira’s marketing philosophy that puts customers into the focus of its attention. Just the way a butterfly transforms out of its grey pupa, embroiderers and quilters create colorful and lively masterpieces out of a simple spool of thread.

The product range has been continuously expanded to satisfy the needs of the creative markets. Since 2003, Madeira has been revolutionizing the market with “Aerofil”, a premium quality sewing thread at an affordable price. The market launch of the “Premium Embroidery Stabilizers” in 2006 was a further milestone. Madeira was the first company to offer stabilizers and backings clearly arranged in a trade display, explaining the use of each product by illustrations and finally bringing order to the confusing world of stabilizers. New developments completed the amazing range of special effect threads, such as “Frosted Matt”, a machine embroidery thread as matte as chalk, or “Lana 12”, a thread that looks like fur, and “GoldenSilver”, a thread with a pure silver coating.

Today, the Madeira Group is a family owned global player with 400 employees around the world and several subsidiaries in Europe, USA and Asia. The headquarter with its production plant is still located in Freiburg, Germany.

Embroidered portrait of Mr. Rudi Schmidt, the son of the company’s founder (†1996)

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