History of Switzerland
Switzerland was one of the first industrialized countries. The industralization of Switzerland began, as in Great Britain, with the production of textiles and expanded soon to the construction of machines, to food products and to chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
The Textile Industry
Eastern Switzerland was an important center of textile production already towards the end of the middle ages. In St. Gallen the division of the work with work to residence (peasants) and finissage and marketing (profit) in city had been introduced already in the 15th century.
In Great Britain, the first machines were constructed in 1764. The production of machines in Switzerland began in 1801 in St. Gallen with the third generation of the machines, imported from Great Britain. In Switzerland, hydraulic power was used instead of steam-engines because in the mountains and hills there is relatively easy access to water-power while Switzerland has no significant deposits of coal. As early as 1814 the machines had replaced textile production by hand completely.
The Continental Blockade during the wars of Napoleon made importation and servicing of textile machines from Great Britain impossible. Therefore various textile factories in eastern Switzerland began constructing machines themselves: 1805 Escher, Wyss & Co. (Zurich), 1810 Johann Jacob Rieter & Co. (Winterthur). The factory of Diesel engines (for ships) Sulzer and the factory of locomotives in Winterthur (SLM) were spin-offs of a foundry (1834).
The watchmaking industry
Watchmaking in Switzerland was introduced in the middle of the 16th century by the Huguenots (french refugees persecuted because of their protestant faith). Watchmaking was concentrated at Geneva and expanded from there to the Jura hills near Neuchâtel (outwork). Around 1785 some 20,000 persons worked in the watchmaking industry of Geneva and produced 85,000 watches per year, another 50,000 watches were produced in the region of Neuchâtel. Musical boxes and mechanical toys driven by clock-works were produced as well.
The industry of food products
Chocolate was produced in Switzerland (Ticino and Lake Geneva regions)
as early as 1803 by hand-crafted methods. In 1819
François-Louis Cailler founded his chocolate factory at
Vevey (Vaud, Lake Geneva). Advertising by Philippe Suchard
(factory at Serrières, Neuchâtel 1826) made Swiss Chocolate
known to the world. Daniel Peter (from Vevey) invented
milk chocolate in 1875 and Rodolphe Lindt a new method to make
chocolate melt on the tongue (instead of it's former
"sandy taste") in 1879.
Early Fast Food (Soups)"Fast food" is not an invention of the end of the 20th century: industrialization created a market for products that could be prepared and eaten quickly, sometimes even during work at the factories. Soup in cubes or in bags brought success to Maggi (Kemptthal, close to Winterthur) and Knorr (Thayingen SH). Henri Nestlé invented a nutrition for babies based on milk, sweeteners and flour in 1866. His factory at Vevey became by the merger with l'Anglo Swiss Condensed Milk Co. (Cham ZG) in 1905 a big multinational company.
The chemical industry
The first chemical factory in Switzerland was founded by Daniel Frey at Aarau in 1804. The big time of the chemical industry - always one of the important sectors of the swiss economy - began only 50 years later, however. In 1859 Alexandre Clavel, Louis Durand and Etienne Marnas came from France to Basel to produce synthetic colors. As early as 1884 their company was known as "Chemische Industrie in Basel (CIBA)". Johann Rudolf Geigy-Merian extracted in 1858 of auxiliary substances to produce colours. Johann Gerber-Keller and Armand Gerber from Mulhouse (Alsace) came to Basel in 1864 to produce dye Azalein, because they had not succeeded in securing patent rights in France. In 1886 two employees of CIBA, chemist Alfred Kern and manager Edouard Sandoz founded the Kern and Sandoz company. These are the roots of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz that merged in the 1990's to Novartis. As early as 1885 also synthetic medicines (pharmaceuticals) were produced. Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche founded his company in 1896 and specialized from the beginning in pharmaceutics.
Legislation of Work
Soon it became clear that capitalism without regulation will inevitably produced huge problems for the society. So it was necessary to enact laws of work:
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