The second founding period


Goldschmidt founded the Allgemeine Thermit-Gesellschaft to expand marketing of the new thermite process for producing carbonless metals and for rail welding. This was the legal predecessor of the Elektro Thermit GmbH established in 1919, which was not sold until 1998.


Johannes Pfleger discovered a process for the Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt which rationalized the synthetic production of indigo using sodium amide - an interim product of sodium cyanide synthesis - as a condensing agent, thereby making large-scale commercial production possible. The "Pfleger indigo process" was exploited in partnership with Hoechst AG and proved highly profitable for decades.

Otto Röhm, a druggist and chemist from Öhringen in Swabia, wrote his dissertation in Tübingen on "Polymerization products of acrylic acid." This research served as the basis for his future successful methacrylate chemicals company, Röhm GmbH in Darmstadt, which became another root of today’s Evonik Industries AG.


Goldschmidt's increasing orientation towards international markets led to the establishment of his foreign subsidiary, Th. Goldschmidt in London, followed by the Goldschmidt Chemical Co. in New York in 1906. Goldschmidt also set up subsidiaries to globalize the thermit process. Thus, Goldschmidt Thermit Co. was founded in New York in 1904 while Thermit Ltd. started trading in London the same year.


Goldschmidt founded two subsidiaries for the international penetration of the thermit-process: In New York Goldschmidt Thermit Co. was formed, whereas in London Thermit Ltd. started


Along with three other companies, the Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt was involved in setting up the Chemische Fabrik Wesseling AG, which produced potassium Ferro cyanide. On the site of this company - from 1959 a branch and from 1980 part of the Wesseling facility of the former Degussa - the amino acid methionine and precipitated fillers are produced to this day in addition to the original products sulfuric acid, hydrocyanic acid and hydrocyanic acid derivatives. The silicic acids and silicates obtained in the production plants are used as reinforcing fillers for rubber.

The sodium perborate was produced using a process developed by Otto Liebknecht at the Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt. Two years later a long-term perborate supply contract was signed with Henkel in Dusseldorf. Henkel produced the "automatic" detergent using sodium perborate and marketed it under the name "Persil" - 'Per' for perborate and 'Sil' for silicate ("Henkel's bleaching soda"). In 1907 the Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt started large-scale production of sodium perborate at the Rheinfelden facility on the Upper Rhine and expanded it continuously.

The company Märkische Seifenindustrie GmbH (MSI), the nucleus of the future Witten facility of Hüls AG, was established in Witten, a small soap boiling plant to support the local Free Church congregation. In 1913 Clemens Stallmeyer, who two years previously had founded the Chemische Fabrik Buer GmbH in partnership with druggist's son Arthur Imhausen to produce detergents, purchased 50 percent of the stock in MSI. It was converted into an OHG (general partnership) in 1922. From 1926 it gradually changed into a fat chemicals company, as the Witten plant began transesterifying plant fats and oils organically to produce synthetic fatty acids. Today, the Herne/Witten plant of Evonik Industries AG is a key site for the production of raw material for the coatings and paint industry.

The introduction of tin plate detinning using chlorine was a crucial stage in Goldschmidt's development. Compared to electrolytic detinning, the new process jointly developed by Karl Goldschmidt and Josef Weber offered clear advantages: lower technical outlay, smaller workforce, higher quality tin, better detinning of iron scrap, easier transport of tin. The resounding success of chlorine detinning revolutionized the tin plate market, in which Goldschmidt remained by far the world leader until 1914. In 1913, the year before the War, over 100,000 tons of tin plate was processed in Essen - a record that was never equaled


On January 1, the Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt acquired a stake in the platinum smelting company G. Siebert OHG in Hanau, which passed into the sole ownership of later Degussa in 1934. In the mid-70s the platinum separating works was transferred to the Wolfgang metal works on the Degussa site. By 1995 the gold, silver and platinum products manufacturing divisions had also been transferred. The precious metal plant in Wolfgang was sold off to the Norddeutsche Affinerie in Hamburg in August 2000 and transferred there.

In an effort to recruit qualified staff and increase staff loyalty, Goldschmidt introduced paid vacation leave. A new feature was the guaranteed holiday entitlement, which had already been in force at the Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt since 1894.


The Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt set up the independent “Pension fund for executives of the Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt, vormals Roessler.” This fund was converted into a benefit fund independent of the German Social Insurance Institute following the enforcement of the Employees' Insurance Act (1911).

The Crefelder Seifenfabrik Stockhausen & Traiser founded in 1873 built a subsidiary plant for production of Monopol soap on Krefeld’s Bäkerpfad road. This soap had been produced for the first time in 1896 using sulfurized castor oil and had gained in importance through its use in the textile industry, since it did not form lime soaps and thus ensured that textiles were properly penetrated by water. The production of Monopol soap ceased in the 1950s. The first large-scale production facility for superabsorbents in 1986 represented another milestone in the site’s history. Superabsorbents are primarily used in baby diapers. Their production continues to be at the core of the Krefeld site of Evonik Industries AG.

Dr. Otto Röhm developed and patented a bating process for animal skins based on enzymes in the pancreatic glands. With his friend, businessman Otto Haas, the druggist and chemist founded the company Röhm & Haas OHG in Esslingen in Swabia on September 6, and started producing and marketing his leather bate OROPON®. The resulting Röhm leather supplies business was hived off in 1996 to the Joint Venture TFL (Together for Leather) and finally sold in 2001.

Following the purchase of the London Elektron Works Co. Ltd., Goldschmidt ultimately dominated the UK detinning market, the second largest in the world after the USA. Cooperation agreements had been signed previously with some competitors, while other companies soon disappeared from the market as a result of the superiority of Goldschmidt's detinning process.

Goldschmidt built a holiday home for the workforce in the "green south" of Hattingen. After serving its original purpose very successfully for decades, the half-timbered farm is now primarily used by Evonik Industries as the "Bredenscheid House" for seminars and conferences.


Chemische Fabrik Th. Goldschmidt founded the Goldschmidt Detinning Co. in Chrome, New York. This important subsidiary soon controlled the whole North American market with its large modern detinning capacities. In 1911 Goldschmidt Detinning was also the first to introduce the alkaline detinning process recently developed in Essen and built a commercial plant for it in Chicago.


Owing to the sharp increase in demand for the leather bate OROPON®, Röhm & Haas had to expand its production capacity, but this was not possible at the Esslingen site. On July 22, Darmstadt became the company's new headquarters, immediately adjacent to the big leather factories of the Rhine-Main district. The sales company established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the same year, started its own production of OROPON® a year later.

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