The company was founded in 1948 by Ludwig Bölkow, who since 1955 with Emil Weiland had developed helicopters for Bölkow Entwicklungen KG.
In June 1968, Bölkow merged with the Messerschmitt AG to form Messerschmitt-Bölkow, a combination that created West Germany's largest aircraft company, with sales approaching $150 million (1968 dollars). The move was encouraged by the West German government. In May 1969, the new company merged with Blohm + Voss, becoming Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB). MBB was bought by Daimler-Benz in the early 1990s, becoming part of DASA, which became part of EADS in 2000.