Remscheid was founded in the 12th century, but remained a small village until the 19th century. Early spellings for the city included Remissgeid (1217), Rymscheyd (1351), Reymscheyd (1487) and Rembscheid (1639). The economic growth of the entire Rhine-Ruhr region led to an increase of the population of Remscheid. Mechanical engineering and toolmaking were the main industries practised within the town. This is carried on today with the Hazet tool company which has two factories in Remscheid. Remscheid was part of the PrussianRhine Province from 1822–1945.
The Müngstener Brücke is a railway bridge crossing a valley and connecting Remscheid with the neighbouring town of Solingen. It is 107 m above the ground, making it the highest railway bridge in Germany. It was constructed in 1897 and originally named the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Brücke after Wilhelm I (whose 100th birthday would have been in 1897).
The Eschbachtalsperre, the first dam built in Germany for the supply of drinking water is located here. It was built in 1891.
The old city of the borough Lennep consists of 116 houses from 1756.
Wilhelm Röntgen, the discoverer of x-rays, was born 1845 in Lennep, which is today a borough of Remscheid. There is a museum in Remscheid (Deutsches Röntgen-Museum) commemorating Röntgen's life and discoveries.
Gottfried Duden, German writer, Traveled the United States mostly in Missouri and wrote Bericht über eine Reise nach den westlichen Staaten Nordamerikas ("Report of a journey to the western states of North America")