Friday, January 27, 2017

Charles F. Erhart

German immigrant cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart (1821-1891) founded Pfizer in 1849.

Erhart at that time age twenty-eight together with his cousin Charles Pfizer emigrated from Ludwigsburg, Germany to the United States in 1848.

Unlike many German immigrants at the time who immediately joined the Gold Rush, Erhart and his cousin decided to stay in New York City and make living by taking advantage of the crafts that they learned in Germany. They came from well-to-do families saw America as a land of opportunity.

Charles had learned chemistry as an apothecary’s apprentice and Erhart was confectioner, a trade he learned from his uncle.

With $2,500 borrowed from Pfizer’s father and a $1,000, Erhart and his cousin bought a small brick factory in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, large a German neighborhood. In 1849, their first year in America, they founded a chemical firm Charles Pfizer & Company, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.

Their plant turned out additives for food, soft drinks and medicine. The company became the focal point for the mass production of penicillin, the drug that saved the lives and limbs of countless American soldiers of World War II.

Charles Erhart died in 1891 and left his interest in the partnership, worth nearly $250,000 to his son William.
Charles F. Erhart
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