Hermann Franke founded a sheet metal business in his name in Rorschach, Switzerland, in 1911. In the late 1920s the economic upturn in the industry and construction sector led to the incorporation of a sanitary installations department. Franke began with the production of oven tops, skylights and dormer windows.
In the 1930s Franke started production of the first sink units in nickeline, monel-metal and later in stainless steel. Franke built a new factory with offices and residential building, and the company's ten employees relocated to Aarburg, Switzerland. Franke initiated the first production series and the first fully welded, smooth sink unit.
Hermann Franke died on January 25, 1939, and his son Walter took over the business. The Second World War led to great difficulties in obtaining materials. During the years after the war the company's factory facilities expanded and the production of complete kitchens began. Franke started to export products to European countries.