In focus

The Schnorf Family and sulphuric acid

Two hundred years, seven generations, many successes and a few setbacks, too: Matthias Wiesmann has told the “chemical” story of the Schnorf Family in the series Swiss Pioneers of Business and Technology.

Did you know that the Schnorf Family set up a health insurance scheme for their company’s employees as early as 1864? Or that by around 1900 their Chemische Fabrik Uetikon was Switzerland’s biggest chemicals factory in production volume terms? Or that the Schnorf Brothers also ran the Oetiker sheet and upholstery fabric weaving mill in Bergamo, which employed over 1,000 people in its halcyon years but fell on hard times after the First World War?

Sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, soda, fertilizer and organic chemicals once made a substantial contribution to the revenues of what gradually evolved into today’s CPH Group. Over the years, though, these products increasingly faced the challenges of new production techniques or market competitors, and their businesses were sold or ceased production. And in CPH’s present-day Chemistry Division it is silicate chemistry and deuterated products that are made, distributed and successfully positioned all over the world.

The company’s move into the wood processing business in Perlen in 1881, by contrast, proved a prudent diversification. The Paper Division is now the biggest constituent part of the CPH Group. And it was from this, too, that the Packaging Division – the Group’s third successful business segment today – emerged in the 1960s.

Like to know more about the long and fascinating history of the CPH Group? Then order this richly-illustrated book (in German) at