Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Philippe Suchard (1797-1884)

Philippe Suchard is credited with being the creator of the image of Swiss chocolate.

Suchard was born at Boudry, Switzerland.  He had first encountered chocolate when his ailing mother sent him to an apothecary in Neuchatel Switzerland to secure a pound of that product to incorporate into a tonic she was taking to improve her health.

He began his career as an apprentice confectioner in his brother’s confiserie in Bern.

He opened his first confectionary shop in Neuchatel in Switzerland in 1825.  He produced between 25 to 30 kg of chocolate bars each day with help of a single assistant.

A year later Suchard moved into an empty mill in nearby Serrieres and there built his own chocolate factory. Suchard pioneered the building of houses for his workers. He also designed his own chocolate-making equipment and harnessed water power to drive the machines.

When the railway reached Serrieres in 1860, his business was given a substantial boost.

In 1878 Philippe Suchard applied for his first British trademark for Chocolat Suisse. Growing demand from other countries led to the first Suchard chocolate factory outside Switzerland being built in 1880 in Lorrach, on the German side of the Swiss border.

Milk chocolate was introduced by Suchard in the 1890s and in 1901 the trademark Milka was registered in Britain.

After the First World War, when exports were hindered by the reimposition of high tariffs and currency restrictions, the company opened chocolate factories in the US, the UK, Argentina, Sweden and South Africa.
Philippe Suchard (1797-1884)

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