The beginnings of GHH date back to the eponymous ironworks „Gute Hoffnung Hütte“ which started its operations in 1782 in Oberhausen. Together with the St. Antony works of 1758 and the „Neu-Essen“ works this was the hour of birth of the Ruhr area as an iron manufacturing center. In 1808 all three ironworks were merged under the iron works trade union and merchant business Jacoby, Haniel & Huyssen (JHH).
As of 1820 JHH concentrated more and more on the construction of machines and manufactured steam engines, steamships, locomotives, railway tracks and bridges. As from 1854 various ore and coal mines were added and incorporated into the group of companies.
In 1873 the former commercial partnership was transformed into the „Actienverein für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb“ (share association for mining and steelworks operations), „Gutehoffnungshütte“ (GHH) and also got into the steel production from 1870.
In 1920 GHH took over the Augsburg-Nürnberg (M.A.N.) machine works thus doubling the workforce. After several group demergers and outsourcings of business segments which had taken place after the end of the Second World War a new group of companies emerged under the name of GHH Sterkrade AG.
In the end of the 1980s, after turbulent years and crises and new owners, GHH was finally reorganized under the name of the previous subsidiary company MAN and the head office was relocated from Oberhausen to Munich.
The company divisions which had remained in Oberhausen were doing business under the name of MAN Gutehoffnungshütte. Divisions such as the vehicle construction, the wheel set production line, the screw-type compressor fabrication were sold, have, however, partly still the acronym GHH in their name. In 1995 the „mining and tunnelling vehicles“ division finally became GHH Fahrzeuge GmbH which was taken over by the family-run Schmidt, Kranz Holding in 1999.
Since 2005 the head office has been in Gelsenkirchen.