In 1792 house painter Wiert Willem Sikkens started the production of Sikkens lacquers in the town of Groningen. He used a small gateway in the Groningen town wall as a boiler house and for sales he bought a property on Herestraat, the best shopping street in the town. In the peacefully situated lacquer boiler house he had no trouble from busybodies and he troubled no one. In the busy Herestraat he sold glass, wood and tools as well as paint and lacquer to fellow painters and others. The son of the founder, Geert Willem, took the company over and in 1837 he also involved his brother-in-law Willem Penaat in production. They chose G.W. Sikkens & Co. as a name, and this became a synonym for quality and craftsmanship.
Known at home and abroad, the businesses expanded. Following the death of Geert Willem Sikkens, Willem Penaat had a new factory built outside the town in 1869. Sikkens lacquers had become well known now and were in great demand, even as far away as Germany. A branch was set up in Emden. Growth continued. In 1903 the two Penaat sons, Willem and Johannus, took possession of a larger factory on the new Helpman industrial estate. This was followed by several expansions with machines, buildings, stores and even a laboratory where quality was monitored and new products were developed, such as Japanese lacquers (around 1900), and fast drying car lacquers (in 1924), which made it possible to refinish a car perfectly within six days.
A great revolution brought the introduction of cellulose lacquer in 1928. A special factory arose and industry above all profited from this modern lacquer. Sikkens technicians taught the customers to work with the paint spray and wholesalers were appointed throughout the Netherlands to guarantee rapid delivery. The most diverse products were finished using the new Sikkens lacquers: cars, aircraft, trains, typewriters, furniture, shoes, walking sticks, water heaters, dolls, portrait frames and much more. Then a new era began for house painters (in 1934), when the synthetic lacquer Rubbol A-Z became available. All these modern products and new processing methods were accompanied by clear information in the form of technical instructions, color cards and regularly published periodicals such as 'Sikkens Omroep' and 'Rubbol Varia'.