Tag: Germany

Immigrants Made Good – Paul Julius, Baron von Reuter

Paul Julius, Baron von Reuter was born Israel Beer Josaphat on July 21, 1816 in Kassel, Germany. He was an entrepreneur, journalist and media owner. More importantly, Reuter went on to become a trailblazer in the world of news reporting and telegraphy, eventually founding the Reuters news agency.

Beschriftung der Plakette: Baron Paul Julius R...
Baron Paul Julius Reuter -: 1816 – 1899(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reuter was born to Betty Sanders and Samuel Levi Josaphat, a local rabbi. He spent his younger years working as a clerk in his uncle’s bank in Göttingen. During his time in Göttingen he managed to make the acquaintance of Carl Friedrich Gauss, a prominent mathematician and physicist who was at that time experimenting with the electric telegraph.

In October of 1845, he moved to London where he began using the name Joseph Josaphat. Later that same year, he converted to Christianity, and in a ceremony at St. George’s German Lutheran Chapel, he took the Christian name Paul Julius Reuter.

Just one week later, Paul returned to Berlin where he married Ida Maria Elizabeth Clemetine Magnus. He joined a Berlin-based book publishing firm, and in 1847, he became a partner with Reuter and Stargardt. As Germany tumbled into the Revolution of 1848, however, the firm became involved in publishing and distributing radical pamphlets which brought Reuter under official scrutiny.

After arousing the hostility of German authorities, Reuter took refuge in Paris, where he began working with the news agency of Charles-Louis Havas (which would eventually become Agence France Presse).  He soon founded the Reuters News Agency in Aachen, and began sending news excerpts between France and Germany using a system of carrier pigeons.

Since telegraphy was still being developed, Reuter had one of the fastest sources of news available. The carrier pigeons were considerably faster than the post train, so Reuter was able to capitalize on stock news from the Paris stock exchange before most others got the latest news. He also began translating bits and pieces of news from France and sending the articles on to newspapers in Germany via his pigeons.

UK - London - The City: Paul Julius Reuter statue
UK – London – The City: Paul Julius Reuter statue (Photo credit: wallyg)

In 1851, Reuter returned to England and opened a telegraph office not far from the London Stock Exchange. Initially, he dealt primarily with commercial exchanges; however, as the popularity of daily newspapers grew, Reuter was able to sign on a number of publishers as well. His first major breakthrough in the industry came in 1859 when he was able to transmit a speech by Napoleon III preceding the Austro-French Piedmontese war in Italy.

Competition grew as other news agencies fought to keep up with Reuter’s telegraph techniques. Undersea cables allowed Reuter to further his network to other continents, and eventually, Reuter was obligated to agree on a division of territory with his two main rivals, Havas in France and Wolff in Germany. These three agencies maintained an effective monopoly over the world press for many years.

Reuter became a naturalized British subject in 1857, and was eventually granted baronies by both the German Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Queen Victoria of England. Reuter passed away in February of 1899; however, his news agency is still going strong today. In fact, on February 25, 1999, the Reuters News Agency honored its founder by establishing the Paul Julius Reuter Innovation Award.

Immigrants Made Good – Ludwig Mond

Ludwig Mond was inarguably one of the most successful and influential industrial chemists of his day. He not only made great strides in scientific research, but he became very successful in business as well, thanks to his unique business sense and enormous energy. He was well known as one of the founders of the alkali firm of Messrs. Brunner, Mond & Company and was an avid inventor, widely known for his philanthropic activities with many scientific institutions.

Mond was born on March 7, 1839 into a Jewish family in Cassel, Germany. His father was a fairly successful merchant, and was determined to provide young Ludwig with the best possible education. After completing his early studies in his home town, Ludwig was enrolled in the Polytechnic Institute of Cassel and went on to attend classes at the Universities of Marburg and Heidelberg.

Ludwig Mond, by Solomon Joseph Solomon (died 1...
Ludwig Mond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His professors held him in high esteem, and though he never earned a degree, they provided him with glowing recommendations. Thanks to recommendations from such distinguished educators as Hermann Kolbe and Robert Bunsen, Ludwig was able to find employment at two German chemical companies.

When he decided to move to England in 1862, he put his education to good use once more, and was soon employed by John Hutchinson and Co. in Widnes. He returned to Germany for a short time, where he married his cousin Frida Lowenthal, but in 1866 he returned to Widnes and took up work with John Hutchinson once more.

Hutchinson’s company manufactured soda using the Leblanc process, but this process left a lot of black ash. Ludwig came up with a method for redeeming that black ash – which contained considerable amounts of sulfur – and he formed a partnership with John Hutchinson to recover and repurpose the sulfur through his patented process.

In 1872, Mond heard of work done by Ernest Solvay, a Belgian industrialist who was developing a more efficient soda manufacturing process. He formed a partnership with John Brunner and they began working on bringing Solvay’s ammonia-soda process to commercial viability. Together they set up as Brunner Mond and Company in a factory at Winnington, Northwich. Building on Solvay’s work, Mond quickly worked out the kinks that had hindered mass production, and within 20 years, Brunner Mond & Company had become the largest soda manufacturer in the world.

English: Entrance to Mond House, offices of Br...
English: Entrance to Mond House, offices of Brunner Mond The entrance to Mond House is now flanked by statues of Sir John Brunner, 1842-1919 (left), and Ludwig Mond, 1839-1909 (right), the founders of Brunner-Mond. The terracotta detailing around the entrance and clock is by Jabez Thompson and dates the building to 1899. Brunner Mond became part of ICI and is now owned by the Tata Group. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Commercial success hardly slowed Mond, however. An incurable tinkerer, he continued researching new chemical processes, looking for more efficient ways to produce valuable commodities. One of his greatest accomplishments was the discovery of nickel carbonyl, a compound that was previously unknown. Through the Mond process, he was able to easily decompose this compound to produce pure nickel. Ludwig founded the Mond Nickel Company near Swansea in Wales and began importing huge amounts of ores from mines in Canada.

He had an enormous passion for the sciences, and was a generous benefactor of many scientific societies, including the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Royal Society, and the Italian Accademia de Lincei. He worked with Henry Roscoe to expand the Lancashire Chemical Society into a national Society of Chemical Industry. He became a member of the Royal Society in 1891, and was granted membership in the German Chemical Society, the Prussian Akademie der Wissenschaften, and the Societa Reale  of Naples. Though he never earned a degree, he was granted honorary doctorates from the universities of Oxford, Manchester, Padua, and Heidelberg.

Ludwig Mond passed away on December 11, 1909, at ‘The Poplars’ – his London home near Regent’s Park.

German Pork Butchers in Britain


Before burgers, fish and chips and kebabs came the original takeaway: German pork pies, sausages, rissoles and other ready-made foodstuffs. During the 19th century, while most European emigrants were making their way to North America, a significant number of Germans were quietly making England their new home

Pork packing in Cincinnati. Print showing four...
Pork packing in Cincinnati. Print showing four scenes in a packing house: “Killing, Cutting, Rendering, [and] Salting.” Chromo-lithograph of the cartoons exhibited by the Cincinnati Pork Packers’ Association, at the International Exposition, at Vienna.. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the Hohenloheregion in the north-east of Germany, population growth, agricultural depression and a series of crop failures provided a significant push-factor. Germans from the region began looking outward for new opportunity, with a number of skilled professional butchers making their way to England in 1817.

The butchers quickly established themselves and found a ready market in the rapidly-expanding cities of Northern England. Industrialization was leading to a burgeoning population who demanded cheap, ready-made basic foods. The butchers had arrived at an opportune moment to serve a market of factory workers who wanted a convenient, hot meal after finishing work.

The demand quickly outstripped the supply, leading more butchers to open shops across England. In Sheffield, for example, one lone butcher shop in 1817 grew to 14 shops by 1883, and 18 shops by 1914. Soon, the number of qualified Hohenlohe butchers could no longer meet the demand, so they called out to young men back home.

Young farmers’ sons were ready and able to take up the challenge. Once the winter set in, they jumped into butchery courses where they learned the art of slaughtering and butchering. Back home, their mothers taught them to produce the savory German sausages and salted, smoked and pickled meats that were in such high demand in England. With well-honed skills, the young butchers entered the British market near the middle of the 19th century.

As butchers grew wealthy, some sent letters home recruiting young women for household help. Others wrote home looking for wives. German women answered the call, bringing with them a whole set of skills and delightful family recipes to add to the butchers’ offerings.

Butchers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The German butchers and their families quickly spread to all parts of Northern England, eventually establishing themselves as far afield as Scotland and Ireland. Butcher shops were soon opened in London as well as the German community continued to spread and grow.

The demand for cheap, ready-made foods continued to grow, and in the 1870s, the immigrant butchers called for a third wave of emigrants. A whole new flock of young apprentice butchers and young girls finished school and set off for work in Britain. The boys immediately jumped into their new employment, and girls served in German households.

A 1897 newspaper ran a story documenting the phenomenon, noting “The Germans created this business amongst us … In every town there are many of them, and there is now hardly a village (…) throughout the North of England that has not one or more. Englishmen have all along been to blame for neglecting the pig as a subject of human food (….). But the German is the pork man par excellence”

At first, the Germans stayed in close, tightly-knit communities. They spoke little English, and maintained their traditions, customs and stories. Eventually, however, they realized that their enterprise would be better served by integration into British society. This allowed them to thrive even further, with some taking leading positions in pork butchers’ associations.

Unfortunately, the two World Wars brought widespread intolerance toward the German butchers. The once-thriving business went into decline, and the rich history of the Hohenlohe butchers was greatly diminished. A few establishments did make it through, like the Herterichs in Ireland and the Haffners in Burnley; however, little remains today of the once-famous German takeaway specialties.


1. New light on the German Pork Butchers in Britain (1850 – 1950)” by Karl-Heinz Wuestner, Ilshofen, Germany http://www.surrey.ac.uk/cronem/files/conf2009papers/Wuestner.pdf


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