Reproduction of "Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Dyeworks at Hoechst-on-the-Main", The Chemical Trade Journal, July 14, 1888, pp. 15-16:
Twenty-five years have passed by since the dyeworks at Hoechst-on-the-Main were first established. The course of development of this world-renowned is so closely united with the rise of the
German Wholesale Chemical Industry, that it will be by no means out of place were we to present our readers with a few remarks upon the most important phases in the origin and growth
The business was founded in 1862 by Wilhelm Meister, Dr. Eugen Lucius, and L. August Muller, admitting at the same time Dr. Adolph Bruning (as an equally participating director) under the
style of Meister, Lucius, and Co. At the commencement, the fuchsine factory was erected on the banks of the Main, in close proximity to Hochst, and brought into working order in March, 1863,
with a small steam boiler and an engine of 3 h.p. Five workmen, one clerk, and one chemist formed the staff of the establishment. At the outset matters were by no means favorable, inasmuch
as while at the commencement of the erection of the works the price for one lb. of fuchsine stood at 60 marks, when the first invoice was made out on the 27th of March, 1863, the price had
fallen to 24 marks per lb. of fuchsine. In the year 1863, A. de Ridder, now the commercial manager (director), while at the end of 1864, Aug. Muller retired, Dr. A. Bruning on the other hand being
admitted as a partner. At the Paris World’s Exhibition the young firm was awarded the gold medal. The rapid rise of the undertaking, however, only dates from the close of the year 1867, when
the style of the firm was changed to Meister, Lucius, and Bruning. As the size of the works proved totally inadequate to meet rapidly increasing requirements, while they were at the same time
incapable of being extended, a move was made down the stream, about 1 kilo. distant from the fuchsine works, where a plot of land was acquired, upon which in 1869 the Aniline Oil Works
were erected. In the same year Dr. Karl Konig entered the business, which gentleman, subsequently as Director of the Colour Works, rendered such well-known and invaluable services to the
organization and future development of the same. The next and larger stride which the Directors of the undertaking resolved upon was the erection of the Alizarine Works. These were erected
in 1870 close to the new Aniline Oil Works. After it was found, that gradually the onus of the entire undertaking was being thrown on to the shoulders of the new works, where other
departments of manufacture had arisen (for fuchsine, rosaniline blue, methyl green, methyl violet) the entire removal of the business to the new works was resolved upon.
During the first period of its existence, fuchsine was manufactured by the firm according to the arsenic acid process. Indeed, in 1863 10 to 14 lb. of arsenic were daily produced. In 1867 ten
boilers were in operation, while the production amounted to 350 kilos of fuchsine daily. Since 1871 the works have developed the nitrobenzol process, with which they now exclusively work, by
this means obviating entirely the use of the poisonous arsenic acid.
The aldehyde green, which the firm have ceased to produce since 1863, contributed sensibly towards it success. The circumstance that the dye could only be furnished in the form of a
solution proved somewhat of an impediment to its wide distribution. Dr. Bruning, however, while one day dyeing a glove with a solution of aldehyde green, noticed the formation of a dark green
deposit cause by some tannin matter in the leather. By this means the depositing of the dye by means of tannin was discovered, while simultaneously Dr. Lucius determined its solubility in
diluted alcohol. Forthwith the manufacture of the aldehyde green tannate was entered upon with the greatest energy, by which the fame of the establishment became founded. Prize awards
resulted at two exhibitions, while pecuniary results were very favorable.
After the discovery and production of artificial alizarine by Graebe and Libermann, Dr. Reise, chemist at the dyeworks, at the end of April 1869 found that anthraquinon with fuming sulphur acid
furnishes a sulphoacid, which in the alkali melt produces alizarine. This process, even at the present day forms the basis of manufacture of alizarine, and in 1869 the production was carried on
in the same way, minor improvements being afterwards added. The continually increasing demands upon the production of alizarine necessitated a constant enlargement of the works. To this
must be added that fresh industries came into requisition, more especially the manufacture of eosine and malachite green, while more especially (in 1870) the manufacture of naphthol colours
(orange, ponceau, amaranth, Bordeaux, etc.) which very shortly afterwards assumed enormous proportions.
The immense consumption of auxiliary materials, especially sulphur, hydrochloric and nitric acids, rendered their production on the spot an imperative necessity, thus on this account the acid
works were erected by Dr. Pauli in 1880, which in itself, is a pattern building. At this period the entire undertaking had attained such an enormous development that it appeared desirable to turn
the whole concern into a joint-stock company. Such a company was formed in 1880 under the style of the present firm.
The Company have a branch in Moscow, while they are in close relationship with the French company, the Compagnie Parisienne de Couleurs d’ Anilin, at Creil, near Paris. The ground space of
the works at Hoechst consists of an area of 60 hectares, of which 95,000 square metres are under cover. The number of steam boilers amounts to 52, that of the steam motors and gas
engines (among which there is one of 30 h.p.) to 92. The collective power of the motors amounts to almost 1,840 h.p. In the employ of the works, there are 1,860 workmen, 50 foremen, 9
engineers and technical officials, 86 salesmen, and 57 chemists.
The production of the works in dye materials has attained simply enormous dimensions. The number of “types” amounts to between 1,700 and 1,800. Again, during last year there were
produced and used, 23,108 tons of sulphuric acid of various strengths. There are further manufactured various preparations used in medicine, among which Knorr’s pyridine may be
mentioned. The dispatch of the products in 1887 necessitated 23,310 casks, 1,962,000 tins, 803,200 bottles, and 25,310 cases. Among the principal raw materials there were used 64,230 tons
of the products of tar distillation, 2,112 tons of causitic soda, 350 tons of various salts of potash, 1,610 tons of soda, 1,905 tons of iron filings, 80,000 gallons of methylated alcohol and spirit,
1,635 tons of various chemicals, 10,518 tons of rock salt, 4,312 tons of lime.
The works are connected by two lines of rails with the Hoechst railway station, while they expose a large amount of quay frontage to the river. Throughout the entire works a narrow gauge line
of rails run, having a collective length of 10 kilos., with 4 locomotives, connecting all the working portions with each other. An engineering works, erected in 1871, supplies, as far as
practicable, all the necessary apparatus and machinery. The waterworks situate on the banks of the Main, supply about 800 cubic metres of water per hour, which amount scarcely meets the
requirements. The gasworks, built in 1884, are constructed to furnish a daily supply of 12,000 cubic metres of gas. The greater part of the gas is consumed for heating purposes, the smaller,
for illuminating. The offices, dining rooms, and the rooms in which inflammable materials are treated, are lighted by electricity. The establishment also possesses an excellently organized fire
brigade, as well as every modern appliance for extinguishing fire.
Of the institutions for the welfare of the dyeworks, we must first and foremost refer to the restaurant. The kitchen is under the direction of a committee selected by the workmen themselves.
While the firm adds 10 pfennigs per portion and bears other expenses, every workman is enabled, for 20 pfennigs, to obtain an ample dinner, which contains one-third of a pound of best beef.
In order to place articles of food at the disposal of the workpeople at the cheapest possible price, a kind of co-operative society has been arranged among the workmen, the profits of which, at
the close of the year, are divided pro-rata among them in proportion to their purchases. For foremen and workmen 94 dwellings have, up to the present time, been erected which are built in
blocks of two and four. Further dwellings and a dormitory for younger workmen are in course of erection. The works have well appointed baths and sick rooms. The Emperor William and
Augusta Instituion, founded by Mr. Meister, Dr. Lucius, and Dr. von Bruning, with an endowment fund of 150,000 marks (₤ 7,500), now possesses a funded capital of 249,200 marks, the interest
upon which is devoted to the support of workmen, their widows, and orphans.
The actual working hours amount to 9.5 daily. Overtime is paid for at the rate of 10 per cent, of the day’s pay per hour. The average day’s pay, with overtime, amounts to 3.1 marks.
Most of the officials have residences in the immediate vicinity of the works. The upper rooms of the counting-house building are arranged as a restaurant for the officials. The Pension Fund for
officials disposes of a capital exceeding 215,000 marks (₤ 10,750).
Finally we must not omit to mention that the Colour Works, to celebrate their anniversary, have published a festival ode as well as a large plate, printed in colours, with an artificially decorated
cover, representing the whole works. An appended showcard, containing the specimen colours arranged in the order of the spectrum, illustrates the wealth of colour of the coal-tar products.
We conclude with the sincere wish, that twenty-five years hence this great undertaking may again look back with the same sense of satisfaction as they do at the present time upon the results
obtained from untiring and remunerative activity.—Chemiker Zeitung
|Left: Hoechst Dyeworks in 1865. Right: The Old Alizarine Laboratory of Hoechst.
Images: Ernst Baumier, A Century of Chemistry, 1968. Click to Enlarge.
Hoechst Site in 1966
|These 18 photos of the Hoechst site shown above date to 1954-1955. Photo credit: Don Scudder 1954-1955.
ColorantsHistory.Org thanks Don Scudder for contributing these valuable photos. Click to Enlarge.
The administrative building of Hoechst AG, located on the right side of this photo at Bruningstrasse 64, was designed by Peter Behrens and built 1920-24. It is an outstanding example of
expressive architecture in Germany. Next to the main entrance is the clock tower and connecting bridge which are iconic symbols of Hoechst. Photo credit: Don Scudder 1954-1955.