Henri Nestle Quotes

Henri Nestlé –Pioneering Entrepreneur | download free pdf
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Published Date:06-07-2017
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Henri Nestlé, himself an immigrant from Germany, was instrumental in turning his company towards international Henri Nestlé expansion from the very outset. We owe much more than just our name, our 1814–1890 logo and our first infant formula to our Bicentenary founder. Henri Nestlé embodied many of the key attitudes and values that are still part and parcel of our corporate culture to this very day: pragmatism, flexibility, the willingness to learn, impartiality and respect for other people and cultures. fi From Pharmacist’s Assistant to Founder of the World’s Leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company Albert Pffner Henri Nestlé11 Nutrition – it’s in Nestlé’s DNA From Nestlé’s infant formula to the world leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness The concept of “nutrition”, in the sense of a healthy, balanced and enjoyable relationship with food, together with the logically connected keywords of “health” and “wellness”, defines Nestlé’s basic strategic orientation and can be traced back to the company’s very beginnings. In 1867, Henri Nestlé worked together with doctors and scientists to develop the first complete baby food produced on a large scale, using the latest scientific findings. He created a high-quality product that responded to the nutritional needs of young children and the demands of their mothers, at the advent of industrialisation and urbanisation. However, Henri Nestlé did not rest on his laurels but continued to develop this product on a constant basis. His successors also stayed true to his legacy of always keeping up-to-date with the latest research in order to offer consumers healthy, tasty products with a high nutritional value. The company continued to apply this strategy when it started moving beyond the traditional area of milk-based products into more and more food categories, namely chocolate, where Nestlé refined Daniel Peter’s pioneering method of combining cocoa and milk; the ground- breaking discovery of instant coffee; and culinary products, where Nestlé inherited the ideas of another food pioneer from the late 19th century, Julius Maggi, and further developed them in its own research. HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 12 Nestlé and its employees internalised the objective of making a contribution to healthy nutrition right from the start of the company’s history. This aim did not become publicly visible until 1980, however, when former Chairman and CEO Helmut Maucher began focusing more intensively on the legacy of the company’s founder as a pioneer of nutritional research, and made a concerted effort to step up Nestlé’s research activities. This was confirmed in 1997, when the first task of his successor as CEO, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, was to announce the establishment of the Nutrition Strategic Business Division (NSBD). Alongside the traditional infant nutrition business, this comprised new types of food that were also produced on the basis of scientific findings resulting from Nestlé’s own research, such as probiotics and “Branded Active Benefits” (BABs), supplements with a health-promoting effect that were added to a growing number of existing products. At the start of the new millennium, Peter Brabeck took another decisive step in announcing his intention to transform Nestlé from a traditional manufacturer of food products into a research-driven Food, Nutrition and Wellness company. To realise the third part of this “triad”, he also created a Corporate Wellness Unit. After taking over as Chairman of the Board in 2005, Peter Brabeck replaced the notion of “food” with “health” thus enabling Nestlé to now define itself as a Nutrition, Health and Wellness (NHW) company. This new triad has proved decisive for the entire corporate strategy, including subsequent acquisitions and divestments. Indeed, Nestlé divested several business areas which it deemed could not provide any added value through any further development. It also made selective acquisitions that significantly strengthened the Nutrition area, such as American baby food manufacturer Gerber in 2006, the Novartis Medical Nutrition business in 2007 and Wyeth Nutrition, the infant formula division of the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, in 2012. As a result of these acquisitions, Nestlé Nutrition, which emerged from the NSBD and had been operating independently since 2006, doubled its sales. The establishment of the Nestlé Nutrition Institute a year earlier confirmed Nestlé’s ambition to play a leading role in this sector from a scientific point of view and constitutes the starting point for new developments. The appointment of Paul Bulcke as the new CEO in 2008 was a further driving force, and 1 January 2011 saw the start of an additional key phase in Nestlé’s development into a Nutrition, Health and Wellness company: the area of medical nutrition, which Nestlé had entered in the 1990s through its joint venture with Baxter and expanded through the integration of Novartis Medical Nutrition, became an autonomous business unit. Named Nestlé Health Science S.A. (NHSc), it specialises in preventative and personalised nutrition for people with particular health needs. On the same day, Nestlé NUTRITION – IT’S IN NESTLÉ’S DNA 13 also opened the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) on the campus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). This took the cooperation between Nestlé and the EPFL, which had started a few years previously with the Brain Food project, to a new level. Bringing together more than 100 researchers from all over the world, the institute is researching the diverse forms of interaction between nutrition, health and genomics, and thereby trying to find the causes of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer and gastrointestinal diseases through their early detection and treatment. The NIHS also carries out research into new ways of combating obesity and its antonym, malnutrition, and looks into the special nutritional needs of an ageing population in industrialised countries. The NIHS, as a research-based institution and the NHSc, a commercial entity, work closely together on these projects. In 2012, NHSc acquired a minority stake in Accera, a company specialising in Alzheimer’s disease, and entered into a joint venture with the Chinese company Chi- Med, which specialises in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases by plants, thus providing Nestlé with access to traditional Chinese medicine. By closing the gap between nutrition and medicine, NIHS and NHSc aim to improve quality of life through innovative nutrition, based on scientific research. It encompasses their goals and those of Nestlé, the Nutrition, Health and Wellness company. However, Nestlé continues to view itself predominantly as a nutrition company, rather than a pharmaceutical company, as its many years of experience have shown that, whilst consumers may want to be healthy, they are not prepared to sacrifice their enjoyment of food. Nestlé is, however, also aware that achieving and safeguarding a good quality of life requires more than just calories: today’s consumers also expect their food to provide added value based on scientific criteria. To readjust their needs regarding health, in 2014 Nestlé announced that it was reinforcing its activities in the specialized domaine of medical skin care by acquiring the remaining shares of Galderma, a joint-venture founded in 1981 with L’Oréal, the French Cosmetic company. Galderma will be incorporated into a new global business unit, named Nestlé Skin Health S.A. with its headquarters located in Lausanne, Switzerland. As an affiliate owned 100% by Nestlé, it aims to respond to the growing global need in the domaine of skin health by developing a large range of innovative and scientifically tested products. As NIHS and NHSc, this new company logically fits Nestlé’s strategy for Nutrition, Health and Wellness. At Nestlé, nutrition is not limited to research and the business areas that carry this name; it permeates the company’s entire product portfolio. Before a new product is launched, regardless of its category, it is subjected to the strict “60/40+ test”, in which 60% of test consumers must express HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 14 a preference for this new product over a comparable competitor product. The “+” designates that this product must also meet precisely-defined nutritional criteria. Since it was introduced at the start of the millennium, the vast majority of the many thousands of existing Nestlé products have been subjected to the test. Of these, 40 000 products have been adapted and those that did not meet the requirements have been eliminated from the range. This test has also enabled the sugar, fat and salt content of numerous Nestlé products to be reduced, and so has further contributed to healthy nutrition. This is also the idea behind adding micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals to food products, particularly in developing countries, for example to Maggi cubes in numerous African countries. In 2012, over 150 billion servings of food that had been enriched in this way were sold. Nestlé’s ambition is to increase this figure to around 200 billion per year by 2016. In a further move aimed at improving nutrition, Nestlé began labelling its products with precise, easy-to-understand information about their composition over 10 years ago. Virtually all Nestlé products now include this “Nutritional Compass” as a useful guide for consumers. Half of all Nestlé products also come with information on Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs), therefore contributing to the fight against obesity. In addition to research and the production of high-quality food products, Nestlé’s commitment to the field of nutrition has also seen it move increasingly towards becoming a service company – for example, it provides a service offering personalised nutrition and care in France. Over the past few years, various Nestlé initiatives have also focused increasingly on the area in which the company has its origins: food for babies and infants. The company launched the “Breast is Best” campaign worldwide to promote breastfeeding; the “Start Healthy – Stay Healthy” campaign, which focuses in particular on the nutritional needs of a child in its first 1 000 days of life; and the “Nestlé Healthy Kids” education programme, in which more than 6 million children aged between 3 and 12 years have taken part all over the world. All the measures mentioned in the area of nutrition, from research to the finished product and its marketing, are monitored and driven forward by an NHW board called “Nestlé in Society”, which is led by Nestlé CEO, Paul Bulcke and that meets four times a year. As we have seen, nutrition has always formed an integral part of Nestlé’s history and product portfolio – which is why our CEO rightly said that it is in the company’s DNA.19 The Frankfurt Period 1814–1834/39 Childhood and youth in Frankfurt am Main The Nestle family originally came from Sulz on the Neckar in Württem- berg, Germany. Most of Heinrich Nestle’s forebears were glaziers. In the local parish registers the name is written in a variety of ways – Nästlin, Nästlen, Nestlin and Nestlen. It was not until Heinrich’s grandfather Johann Ulrich (1728–1816) moved to Frankfurt am Main in 1755 that “Nestle” (“little nest”) became the accepted family spelling. After settling in Switzerland, Heinrich gave the name a French accent, writing it as Nestlé, the form henceforth used in Switzerland, and changed Heinrich into Henri. Grandfather Johann Ulrich’s marriage to the wealthy widow of a Frankfurt master glazier opened the road to the status of a Frankfurt “burgher”, which raised him to a higher rank in society. After the usual formalities, his application was granted. Now nothing stood in the way of the Nestles’ rise in Frankfurt merchant and social circles. After the early death of his first wife, grandfather Nestle married her sister Catharina Elisabeth Arnold. This second marriage produced two sons, who made a place for themselves in the Frankfurt upper middle classes, or bourgeoisie, through skilful marriages and business know-how. As the firstborn, Heinrich’s father Johann Ulrich Matthias (1776– 1838) followed tradition by becoming a glazier and took over the family business in Töngesgasse. It was the custom to marry within HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 20 your defined social circle and even in the same line of business. And his bride, Anna Maria Catharina Ehemann (1779–1839), did in fact also come from a Frankfurt master glazier’s family. The similarity of the couple’s social backgrounds is important because at the time class still largely determined lifestyle. Class dictated the choice of spouse, children’s education and religion. In 1804, the younger brother Johann Tobias (1777–1834) bought a large haberdashery and yarn business from J.P. Steg in the house called “Zur Goldenen Zange”. The wholesale trade in buttons and ribbons, lace and thread brought him and his children a substantial fortune, which was to benefit their nephew and cousin Heinrich in the form of generous loans Frankfurt am Main. Nestle’s for his business projects. Johann Tobias was married to Anna Dorothea birthplace at the corner of Andreae (1778–1845), the daughter of a prominent, wealthy dye merchant Hasengasse and Töngesgasse (c. 1900). and a relative of Germany’s national poet and playwright Gœthe (1749– 1832). Heinrich Nestle was born in his parents’ home at 33 Töngesgasse at 3.30 p.m. on 10 August 1814. He was the eleventh of fourteen children. Soon after his birth his father gave up the traditional family trade of glazier to deal in window glass, bottles and English pottery products. He supplemented his income by working as an agent for the Paris General Insurance Company. As dynamic merchants spearheaded the city’s economy, this new departure signalled a shift in his father’s life towards the new entrepreneurial spirit with its greater willingness to take risks. However, Heinrich seems to have inherited not just his father’s commercial prowess but also a feeling for the combination of artisan-type production and small business in which he had started out. When Heinrich, as a pharmacist’s assistant in Switzerland, wanted to get ahead but was virtually debarred from opening a pharmacy of his own, he reverted to the go-getting approach he knew from his father, developing business and production skills and expanding his knowledge of both fields as he went along. Death of Heinrich’s brothers and sisters, religion, technical innovations Of the fourteen children – seven girls and seven boys – born to Heinrich’s mother over a period of 21 years, half died before adulthood. Only three of the survivors later married: two girls, who both had children of their own, and Heinrich. As they were childless, he and his wife had that much more affection to lavish on other people’s children.THE FRANKFURT PERIOD 1814–1834/39 21 By the time Heinrich was born, five of his brothers and sisters were already in their graves. It is often thought that, as a result, Nestle made it his life’s work to fight the high infant mortality of the times, leading to his invention of infant cereal. This is unlikely to have been the case, however. There is no such direct link between the death of half of Heinrich’s family and his invention of infant cereal. Nestle’s interest in baby food was decades away. What’s more, the children did not actually die in infancy. They were victims less of malnutrition or gastrointestinal infections than of contagious diseases such as diphtheria, scarlet fever, measles and whooping cough. Moreover, when he made his invention Nestle was not looking for a cure but trying to improve the state of infant nutrition. It is not known what other contacts Nestle had with infant and child mortality during his childhood and youth. Though his parents did not belong to the educated bourgeoisie in which close, concerned parent-child relations first made their mark, the Nestle children did benefit from the rising tide of education, and some of the prevailing attitudes in educated circles rubbed off on them. Obviously this does not automatically mean that Heinrich was aware of the high level of infant mortality, but he would have been aware of the issues that were being debated in these circles and which, from the 1860s and 1870s onwards, increasingly included high infant mortality. Like the vast majority of the Frankfurt bourgeoisie, the Nestles were Lutherans. Heinrich was baptized in his parents’ faith eleven days after his birth. As was the custom at the time, he received both a Lutheran upbringing and a Lutheran education. His strictly down-to-earth rational approach to life, in which fulfilment lay in hard work to the limits of physical “There is no place for belief in modern science. What we do not know is a blank sheet which we must try to fill in.” Henri Nestlé 1875HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 22 endurance, surely reflects the Protestant ethic which was instilled in him at home and at school. However, his later years are not marked by any particular reverence for traditional values or a strict religious code. He kept his distance from churchly institutions, poking fun at “churchyards” and “parsons”. He ignored the unwritten rule which required a man to take his wife from the same denomination as himself by marrying a Catholic. Nestle’s move to Switzerland may well have reinforced these traits. The young Nestle was also deeply influenced by two technical innovations in Frankfurt, which to his contemporaries symbolised the dawn of “modern times”: the construction of a municipal water The “Brücken-Apotheke” system (1828–1834) and the introduction of gas lighting. Fountains had in Frankfurt am Main, the always been a focus of neighbourhood life, and there was one in the pharmacy where Nestle completed his apprenticeship. street outside Heinrich’s home where he used to play. Now, with water being piped right to the tops of houses, the fabric of society was being threatened by such changes. The second event – the advent of gas lighting – was closely linked to the rise of the chemical industry. In 1828 an oil gas plant was built at the gates of Frankfurt. Soon several houses and streets were lit by gas, another development that made a strong impression on Nestle’s contemporaries. These events were to remain more than just “childhood memories”. In Switzerland, they spurred Heinrich’s active involvement in public lighting and water: the first thing Nestle did after buying a house in Vevey was to lay on a water supply, which he was careful to use economically; he also developed a form of liquid gas to improve street lighting and persuaded the town of Vevey to adopt it. For lack of records we know next to nothing about Heinrich Nestle’s schooling. As a rule, his Frankfurt bourgeois contemporaries would receive private tuition before going on to a private school. They would then either attend the Gymnasium (secondary school, “grammar school”) between the ages of nine and eleven or take up an apprenticeship at about fifteen. If Heinrich, like his brother Gustav Edmund, actually went to the Gymnasium in the former Barfüsserkloster, he certainly did not stay to the end. Because even before his twentieth birthday in 1834 he had completed a four-year apprenticeship with J. E. Stein, owner until that year of a pharmacy (called “An der Brücke” and later renamed “Brücken-Apotheke”) at the corner of Fahrgasse and Brückenhof in Frankfurt. Heinrich presumably began his apprenticeship at fifteen or sixteen, the same age the sons of rich merchants started work. Besides Latin, Nestle later showed a sound knowledge of botany and chemistry. He could only have learnt these subjects – especially chemistry, a cornerstone of his later career – in a pharmacy, not at school.THE FRANKFURT PERIOD 1814–1834/39 23 Move to Switzerland: historical background and personal motives Long before chemistry became established as a separate scientific discipline in the universities, it was an essential part of every pharmacist’s knowledge. Wherever possible, diligent pharmacists put the latest findings of chemistry to practical use in making up physicians’ prescriptions and above all in concocting specialities of their own. At the beginning of the 19th century, chemistry was not yet a recognised branch of science at German universities. A pharmacist’s education was often not an academic course of training, which only became compulsory from the 1850s on. Even at The “Pharmacie Centrale” (c. 1900) in Vevey, where the time Nestle did his apprenticeship, pharmaceutical and chemical Nestlé worked as an assistant from 1839 to 1843. knowledge was often dispensed by practising pharmacists. Training followed the method customary in any other trade, in which a young man was indentured to a master as an apprentice and then became a “journeyman”: after completing his apprenticeship he would take to the road at home and abroad, often for several years, to round out his knowledge of his craft. It was only during the journeyman period, if at all, that trainees would attend pharmaceutical courses at a university. Heinrich Nestle probably finished his pharmacist’s apprenticeship in Frankfurt in 1833, and certainly not later than 1834. Little is known of Nestle’s actions until he qualified as a pharmacist’s assistant in Lausanne in November 1839. Before this he had worked with the pharmacist Marc Nicollier in Vevey. To this day we have no clear idea where and how he spent his early twenties or exactly when he left Germany. He does not seem to have come straight to Vevey. When in 1860 he requested permission to keep his rights as a Frankfurt burgher his lawyer, a close acquaintance from his Frankfurt days, wrote to the Frankfurt Senate: “After ... learning the pharmacist’s art, he went abroad many years ago and later found a permanent home in Vevey on the Lake of Geneva.” Heinrich’s application to take the necessary exams in Lausanne was supported by five certificates of employment. These show that he had had at least four different jobs in the pharmaceutical field during the five to six years following his apprenticeship. But why did he leave Frankfurt and Germany? Why settle in Switzerland, and in Switzerland why in the French speaking town of Vevey? Even if we cannot give any definite answers to these questions on the basis of the few known records, some intriguing conclusions can be drawn from Nestle’s personal circumstances and the political and economic situation in Frankfurt.HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 24 Three possibilities First, was Heinrich Nestle a political refugee? Or was he what we would now call an economic refugee? Or – the third possibility – did he emigrate mainly for personal reasons? Taking the political hypothesis first, the Bundestag, an assembly of the German Diet which met at the time in Frankfurt under the chairmanship of the Austrian chancellor Metternich, was doing its best to turn the clock back against liberal and nationalistic pressure. After the students’ associations and universities, the circle of those suspected of revolutionary activities or links with the “Demagogues” movement only widened. Everywhere, social unrest or demands for civic liberties led to the use of police state methods against real or imagined opponents. Preventive Certificate of studies (March 1828) by the chemist Justus von Liebig attributed to Marc Nicollier, Nestlé’s employer in Vevey.THE FRANKFURT PERIOD 1814–1834/39 25 censorship was introduced instead of the widely hoped for press freedom. The nationalistic and freedom loving movements received a boost with the Paris revolution of July 1830. Popular discontent and growing opposition to the authorities were widely reflected in the mood at public festivals and the rise of political associations and assemblies. In 1833 radicals attempted to trigger a nationwide revolution with a coup against the Bundestag by storming the Frankfurt police barracks. The revolt failed. The crackdown was severe. Many activists and sympathisers were arrested. Others escaped capture by fleeing to the liberal cantons of Switzerland. Political associations, gatherings and festive events were banned, and travellers and anyone who made themselves conspicuous were kept under police surveillance. This now included craft journeymen for whom, from 1835 to 1848, Switzerland was for the first time placed off limits. Throughout Switzerland, clubs and associations sprang up in which émigrés from craftsmen to intellectuals could enjoy the freedom of expression denied them in Germany. The German Confederation saw this as a threat. Some governments even ordered all their journeymen in Switzerland to return home, but with little success – most preferred the liberal spirit that prevailed in certain Swiss cantons to police state surveillance back home. Nestle can hardly have been unaffected by the political situation in Germany when he came to Switzerland as a journeyman for good sometime between 1833/34 and 1839. The only question is whether there were any other motives strong enough to prompt his move despite the ban on freedom of movement or whether it was his political views that swayed the issue. Significantly, neither Heinrich nor his two brothers in Lyons returned home after their journeyman periods abroad. As a pharmacist’s apprentice, Heinrich Nestle was not yet subject to full police surveillance in the early 1830s as students were. He would only have attracted attention or risked punishment if he had been seriously involved with the liberal conclaves that took place just a few yards away from his place of apprenticeship. Though participation in these meetings cannot be entirely ruled out, at least he does not appear in police files of activists who were fined. But he certainly was closely associated, sometimes on a very personal level, with many committed Frankfurt liberals and their families. He kept up some of these contacts in Switzerland all his life. Both Heinrich’s wife and the husband of his sister Wilhelmine Elise came from this background. Heinrich’s subsequent father-in-law was questioned by the police in connection with the storming of the barracks, and some members of his family signed a protest against the curbs on freedom of the press in April 1832. As a result, the Nestle name figures on the same list cheek by jowl with those of radical liberals.HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 26 Someone like Heinrich Nestle, with liberal sympathies (which he did not try to hide later in his Swiss exile), was unlikely to wait for a summons from the authorities before heading for Switzerland or France to escape the clutches of the police in Germany. He did, after all, frequent liberal circles and saw friends and family jailed for signing a demand for freedom of the press. As a journeyman, he came under increasing suspicion and was deprived of his freedom of movement. As regards the second possibility, the severe economic difficulties prevailing in Frankfurt from 1828 to 1836 are often cited as a motive for Nestle’s emigration. However, there is unlikely to have been a lack of apprenticeships in pharmacy as the trade expanded from the 1820s onwards and restrictions on the number of journeymen were dropped. Furthermore earning a living was not a prime objective for Nestle. He did not have a family to support; his first priority was to complete his training. We can therefore safely forget about economics as a key reason for Nestle’s emigration. It is much more likely to account for his failure to return. But at the time in question (1842/43) trade and industry had already revived with the city’s entry into the German Customs Union. If anything, economic conditions in the Swiss canton of Vaud would have argued in favour of Nestle’s returning to Frankfurt. Apart from the fact that German journeymen found it difficult to integrate in Vaud, widespread poverty and the depressed state of the economy had little to offer new traders or craftsmen. The numerous unsuccessful attempts between 1832 and 1846 to open a new pharmacy in Lausanne show how difficult the situation could be, precisely for pharmacists. Against this, the liberal atmosphere in the canton of Vaud not only fashioned the political climate but gradually impinged on the economic field as well. In this respect, the situation in Vaud differed sharply from that of Frankfurt. It is not so much economics as the different politico-ideological climate that probably impelled Nestle to stay on in Vevey. There remains the question of Nestle’s personal situation. After completing his apprenticeship his main aim would have been to further his education, and this usually meant going abroad. Switzerland traditionally held a great attraction for German journeymen, including pharmacists’ assistants. In their turn, many Swiss pharmacists had – like Marc Nicollier, Nestle’s future mentor in Vevey – studied or worked as assistants in Germany. There were close professional and personal ties between pharmacists in Germany and Switzerland for both training and work, though it is impossible to say whether Nestle himself ended up with Nicollier through personal acquaintance or recommendation.THE FRANKFURT PERIOD 1814–1834/39 27 The balance of evidence Thus the definitive nature of Nestle’s emigration and the difference in the political climates in Germany and the canton of Vaud point to political reasons for his actions, combined with the need to complete his education. Though Nestle was in Switzerland as an “ordinary” journeyman pharmacist’s assistant and not as an actual political refugee, we can assume that like many of his like-minded compatriots he took the opportunity as an anti-monarchist liberal sympathiser to escape the repression in his home town.29 Henri Nestlé – Pioneering Entrepreneur 1839–1861 Pharmacist’s assistant in Vevey (1839–1843) It was probably in November 1839, soon after his mother’s death – his father had died the year before – that the 25 year-old Heinrich took the decision to stay on in Vevey. He may well have spent time there or in the region before. There are no records of him as a refugee or alien; he was just one of the many Germans who were in the canton of Vaud as journeymen, members of recognised “itinerant” professions or for some other reason. As such, he had to register with the authorities and was given a receipt and residence permit in exchange for his passport or journeyman’s papers. This allowed him to take up local residence for as long as there were no complaints and provided he did not start up in business on his own. This simplified residence procedure for craftsmen and members of travellers’ families in subordinate occupations may partly explain why Nestlé did not take the master pharmacist’s exam even though he had the necessary qualifications. Instead, he got a job as a pharmacist’s assistant in Vevey and applied to sit for the cantonal health authority’s examination. Unlike many other German-speaking pharmacists’ assistants, Nestlé actually took the exam. He was apparently very keen to get himself accredited in the canton. He sat the exam in Lausanne on 29 November 1839 with twelve other candidates. Besides the requisite three-year pharmacist’s apprenticeship, Nestlé also submitted five testimonials for at least four practicals. His exam HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 30 results were varied. He received the highest mark, a 3 – “very good”, for the Latin translation of an article in the pharmacopoeia, only a 1 “quite good” in Botany, pointing to some gaps in his knowledge of plants, but a 2 “good” in Chemistry for his preparation of a sulphur compound and the write-up that went with it. All in all, the results added up to a good pass. Those who failed could only be taken on as “student pharmacists”, while Henri Nestlé was now officially authorised to do chemical experiments, make up prescriptions and sell medicines himself. “Henry Nestle”, as he is called in the files, was at pains to adapt in social and cultural terms as well as at work. His residence permit depended directly on his being accepted by the local community; any justifiable complaints about his behaviour, and he would lose it. There was therefore considerable pressure on him to conform. Changing the form of his name from “Heinrich Nestle” to “Henri Nestlé” was just one sign of an inner willingness to adapt. A key figure in Nestlé’s acclimatisation process was without a doubt his employer, the pharmacist Marc Nicollier. He played a pivotal role in Nestlé’s advancement in two ways: firstly by showing him the ropes on the local pharmaceutical scene, and secondly by introducing him to the teachings and work methods of the distinguished German chemist Justus von Liebig. Besides keeping up with Liebig’s lecture material, Nestlé learnt about modern experimental research methods. It was predominantly thanks to this that he was able to reproduce some of Liebig’s published research findings (on infant nutrition among other things) and expand on them for his own purposes. Secondly, Nestlé’s relationship with Nicollier was all important in getting him settled down in Vevey. The pharmacist brokered the purchase by his assistant of a property with various items of machinery from his brother. But even more important was acceptance by association. As the close colleague of a respected local figure, he avoided arousing resentment as a “foreign body” on the local business scene and some of his employer’s reputation rubbed off on him. Purchase of a commercial property “En Rouvenaz”, the property acquired by Nestlé on 6 February 1843 (later to become No. 17 Rue des Bosquets in Vevey) comprised a residential building with an attached oil mill, press and small sawmill, a distillery and warehouse, stables, sheds, a garden and meadows. Equipment included an oil press, a bone press, a veneering and moulding saw and a still. The purchase price was 19 000 francs, 7 000 of which was payable immediately. For the remaining 12 000 francs Nestlé was able to take over HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 32 the first mortgage obtained by the previous owner. Interest and capital repayments alone would cost him 2 480 francs in the first year. The real value of these amounts can be appreciated by comparing them with the annual salary of a Vevey secondary school teacher (1 400–1 700 francs) or the secretary of the local council (2 000 francs) at the time. Before Henri Nestlé could think about how he was going to find the money for the annual interest and capital repayments, he had to raise the 7 000 francs to be paid in cash. He turned to his aunt Anna Dorothea Nestle-Andreae, widowed and living in Frankfurt. Born into a wealthy merchant family, Anna Dorothea possessed additional financial assets from Anna Dorothea Nestle- her late husband’s haberdashery business. After obtaining the necessary Andreae, Henri Nestlé’s Aunt official authorisation she lent Henri the sum of 8 727.27 francs. The loan and his first financier. was secured by a second mortgage on the newly acquired property. Anna Dorothea granted Nicollier power of attorney to represent her before the notary in issuing a land charge note on her nephew in Vevey. Thanks to his family connections with these wealthy Frankfurt merchants, Nestlé managed to obtain the necessary capital not just to buy the property but also to finance his operating expenses and his first investments. His adventure as an independent entrepreneur and merchant in Vevey was about to begin. Merchant, chemist and inventor (1843–1861) The business Nestlé bought in 1843 was one of the most progressive and versatile in the region at the time. It lay on the Monneresse Canal where the wild waters of the Veveyse had been harnessed since the Middle Ages to drive a variety of mills. Previous owners used the water power to operate an oil mill, a bone press for making bone meal fertiliser and a sawmill. Fruit brandies and vinegar were also produced. Nestlé relied entirely on water power and the existing production facilities. After all, in a year’s time he had to find 829 francs interest and 2 000 francs for repayment of capital. At first Nestlé stuck to the existing product range because the food “industry” was then one of the most thriving branches of the cantonal economy. He probably used the oil mill to make the rapeseed and nut oils customarily used at the time to fuel oil lamps. In the distillery he made liqueurs, rum and absinth. Spirits were used in the manufacture of vinegar, which Nestlé also sold. Furthermore his property backed onto some large vineyards, opening up the possibility of producing vinegar from poor quality wine. The existing press was used to turn bones into fertiliser. But Nestlé did not confine himself to his predecessor’s product range. HENRI NESTLÉ – PIONEERING ENTREPRENEUR 1839–1861 33 He seems only to have kept existing production going in order to stay afloat financially; for the future he had other goals. He had bought En Rouvenaz with a specific project in mind, which he now meant to turn into reality. The sale was barely signed and sealed before he had piped water laid on to his property to make mineral water and lemonade: a building permit was signed by the Vevey municipal authorities on 12 May 1843. He was charged 20 batzen a month, or 24 (old) francs a year, for water. Expanded product range: mineral water, lemonade, white lead Nestlé began manufacturing and selling still and carbonated mineral waters as well as carbonated lemonade. While production of “artificial” mineral water was already quite common in the 1840s, no record has yet been found of lemonade production before this time in Switzerland. Nestlé thus seems to have pioneered the manufacture of flavoured soft drinks in Switzerland on a craft basis. “Fizzy” lemonade was first made industrially in Germany shortly before. Nestlé supplied flavoured and plain soft drinks as well as a variety of fruit brandies to the region’s inns. Purchasers paid a deposit on the bottles, which Nestlé took back for refilling. Nestlé turned his attentions to other products besides oil, vinegar and bone fertiliser. A printed invoice from 1845 promotes his “white lead” mineral paint. No details of the production method have come down to us. Necessary raw materials included various minerals, oxidised lead and possibly small quantities of oil, all of which Nestlé already used for other products. In the 1840s, Nestlé expanded his mineral water and lemonade production. One of his posters stars his “Mineral Water and Carbonated Lemonade Factory”. He added mustard powder and mustard paste to his existing product range of oil and vinegar. Steam heating was installed in the oil mill, and he began calling the bone press a “pulverisation mill”. The old sawmill was reactivated. Nestlé had fingers in many pies besides manufacturing and sales. As early as February 1845, he was giving his occupation as merchant and chemist. This probably resulted from his activities in mineral water manufacture, drinking water analysis and the enrichment of water with a variety of minerals and gases. His model was Liebig, who had been closely involved with mineral water on several occasions during the years 1836– 1843 and had published various articles on the subject. Liebig’s research on growth conditions in plants finally spurred Nestlé to experiment with HENRI NESTLÉ 1814–1890 38 fertiliser mixes. In 1849 he built a small separate research unit, fitted out with a chemistry lab, equipment shed and warehouse. Clearly, earnings were already high enough for him to start ploughing back some money into the business as well as paying off his interest and capital. Nestlé would certainly have needed extra labour to handle the production and delivery of his expanded product range, though we have no information about the size of the workforce. What we do know is that Nestlé’s brother Wilhelm (Guillaume), his senior by two years, lived with him from 1844 to 1857 and helped him set up and run the business in Vevey. It would be interesting to know how the brothers divided up their responsibilities, but here again we are faced with a blank. Henri’s brother, skilled in figures and who also described himself as a merchant, probably managed the financial and accounting side of the business. Nestlé gave up mineral water production completely towards the end of the 1840s. We have no personal background information on this decision. Presumably sales had dropped off to such an extent that production was no longer worth his while. The depressed state of the economy during the crisis years 1845–1847, which dragged on into the fifties in rural areas, cannot have helped sales of what was then a luxury item. What is more, there are indications that, at the time, imported natural mineral waters from Germany were being enriched with carbon dioxide to improve their quality. But the key factor was probably the rise of an actual mineral water industry. Nestlé could not hope to compete with the specialised mineral water factories, which were often associated with breweries and shared their distribution networks. The stiffer competitive environment could only have underlined the disadvantages of a firm making a range of different products on the traditional small scale. Opportunities in lighting With his mainstay gone, Nestlé was forced to develop new sources of income. Once again he turned for salvation to a novel, advanced, technically feasible yet more demanding product. Lighting was on everyone’s mind at the time. Candles made from a wide range of materials were common in private homes. Rapeseed or cole seed oil, etc., provided a brighter light and a steady flame. But even in this light eyes tired quickly, and it was inadequate for many tasks. Main streets and squares were also illuminated by oil lamps. Maintenance was very costly because the lamps had to be cleaned and filled every day and lighted individually. It was not so much cheap oil production that interested Nestlé, himself an oil HENRI NESTLÉ – PIONEERING ENTREPRENEUR 1839–1861 39 manufacturer, as bringing about a general improvement in lighting fuels. He had seen the scope for improvements in lighting technology as a child in Frankfurt. Vevey city council had been looking at ways of introducing gas lighting since 1845 because gas light was much brighter and steadier and the equipment was far cheaper to maintain than oil lamps. However, for the time being they had decided against building a gasworks and laying a gas network because of the high cost. This is where Nestlé saw his opportunity. If cities could have good gas lighting – and many now did – why shouldn’t a small town? There must be cheaper ways of going about it. He set to work in his laboratory developing a lighting gas that could be transported without pipes. His efforts culminated in a form of liquid gas which, after 1852, he succeeded in selling in major quantities. Our knowledge of his production method is very sketchy. In view of the materials he was already working with at the time, we can assume that the product was based on bone and different varieties of oil. It was some time before Vevey bought any of Nestlé’s liquid gas. The town continued to use oil lamps for lighting, though gas was always on the agenda. In the mid-f fi ties the authorities changed their policy on the gas issue. Specic fi ations for the construction of an oil gas plant were drawn up and a call for bids – aimed mainly at private firms – was published in numerous Swiss and foreign papers. However, in two months only 25 of the 150 copies of the specic fi ations that were printed had been ordered. Henri Nestlé was one of the r fi st to apply, and he was one of a handful of local firms that were interested in the project. Upon closer examination of the specs, interest in the project largely evaporated and only two bids were actually submitted. Though Nestlé did not follow up this project, his interest in it paid off in other ways. He made two very useful business contacts in Jean Balthasar Schnetzler and François Monnerat. Schnetzler had started out as a teacher of biology, physics and geography at the Vevey secondary school before going on to lecture at the Académie de Lausanne, the forerunner of the university, in 1869, and was also Vevey city council’s adviser on gas lighting. He was to be of great help to Nestlé at the time of his invention of infant cereal. Monnerat had a plaster and lime business in the area and was interested in the lighting project. Nestlé’s friendship with Monnerat brought them together on construction projects in the 1860s. Meanwhile, an interim solution was needed to tide the town over until the introduction of gas lighting, fed by a network of pipes from a gasworks. In August 1858 the council decided to buy twelve new street lamps capable of running on liquid gas. The project, covering the lamps, gas supplies and lamplighter services, was laid open to public competition as usual. This time Henri Nestlé bid for the gas supply contract – and won.