Development in the shadow of crisis and inflation


Otto Röhm and Otto Haas converted their company Röhm & Haas, Darmstadt, into a joint stock company. The main shareholders were the two company founders. The reason behind the conversion was promising experimental results in in-house enzyme research, which needed fresh capital in order to be exploited commercially.

Employees of Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt established the first worker’s council in Frankfurt. It consisted of four workers’ representatives and four clerks’ representatives. The first chairman was the chemist Otto Liebknecht, brother of the Spartacist leader Karl Liebknecht, who had been assassinated in 1919.


Following the acquisition of two companies, Elektrochemische Fabrik Neufeldt & Kuhnke in Kiel, and Chemische Fabrik Buckau in Ammendorf near Halle/Saale, Goldschmidt AG became a group. The purchase of Chemische Fabrik Buckau AG, founded in Magdeburg in 1841, was a strategic move by Goldschmidt towards entering the big leagues of the chemical industry. The aim of acquiring the Elektrotechnische Fabrik Neufeldt & Kuhnke was to diversify and spread the risks. The Elektrotechnische Fabrik Neufeldt & Kuhnke had been established in 1889 and grew prior to and during the First World War to become an important supplier of marine engineering products. After the First World War, Neufeldt & Kuhnke came under strong economic pressure. Even the manufacture of modern civil products such as diesel engines, radios and telephones failed to halt its decline. In 1936 under the aegis of Goldschmidt, it changed its name to the better known Hagenuk (standing for Hanseatische Apparatebau Gesellschaft Neufeld und Kuhnke). Hagenuk was never integrated into the Goldschmidt Group in the true sense of the word. As a result the company was sold to the Howaldswerke in Kiel in 1979.


Röhm & Haas AG in Darmstadt set up a welfare fund for the time intended to assist employees in special emergencies.


Change of leadership at Goldschmidt AG in Essen: Theo Goldschmidt took over as CEO from his father Karl Goldschmidt at the beginning of the year. This change happened during stormy times. In January 1923, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr district. As a result, the government urged the population to pursue a policy of passive resistance. A severe blow for the company. Although the facility in Essen was not occupied, production almost came to a complete standstill owing to a shortage of raw materials and transport resources.


The Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt, Frankfurt, introduced inhouse training of apprentices for the time.

In the same year Scheideanstalt began working on metal hardening. What started out as the straight sale of Durferrit® cementing powder by the Chemische Fabrik Stobwasser & Co. from Bergedorf near Hamburg developed into important new business segments, such as industrial furnace construction, after the acquisition of an inhouse production license. These business units were only gradually sold off in the 1990s.


Th. Goldschmidt AG began manufacturing fine-grained lead oxides, so-called red leads, as additives for rust-proofing paints. A big advantage of these paint-on red leads was that they no longer had to be stirred before use and, thus, did not expose painters to any harmful solvent vapors.


The ethylene research department founded by Friedrich Bergius at Th. Goldschmidt AG launched its first successful products, emulsifiers, which are still produced today by Evonik Industries AG under the names Tegin® and Protegin®. Emulsifiers are mainly used to mix water and oil in creams, lotions or flushing agents.


With its patent for methyl methacrylate, Röhm & Haas succeeded in making a breakthrough in the acrylate and methacrylate field after years of research. In the same year Röhm & Haas started production of multilayer safety glass, known as LUGLAS®. Initially small disks were produced for protective goggles and gas masks, but soon the non-shatter glass was also being used in the construction of automobiles and airplanes. At the end of the Second World War the production of LUGLAS® at Röhm & Haas was discontinued. However, multilayer safety glass continued to be manufactured under license by other companies.

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