The name "Anker" is derived from the world-famous Anker building blocks. The inventors of these bricks, the Lilienthal brothers, sold their idea around 1875 to a certain Friedrich Adolf Richter (1846-1910) from Nuremberg, who registered his own patent.
In July 1876, Richter was entered in the commercial register of Rudolstadt in Thuringia. The anchor factory was opened in Rudolstadt in 1878. It mainly produced pharmaceutical preparations. In addition to puzzles, chocolates, soaps and cosmetics, Richter also produced gramophones and Imperator music machines and, from 1905 at the latest, Anker-Record records.
After Richter's death in 1910, his four sons and his brother Friedrich Wilhelm Richter took over the company. Due to inheritance disputes, the company was divided into the limited companies "F.Ad. Richter & Cie. Chemische Werke" (including Anker Schallplatten GmbH & Phonogramm GmbH) and "F.Ad. Richter Cie AG Baukastenfabrik".
Following the takeover of Anker Schallplatten GmbH and Anker Phonogramm GmbH by Kalliope in 1914 and the outbreak of the First World War, the Anker factory in Rudolstadt was used to manufacture grenades for the front line.