Theodor Goldschmidt, Entrepreneur and chemist
Founder of Chemische Fabrik T. Goldschmidt, which became Th. Goldschmidt AG in 1911.
* 1817, Berlin
† 1875, ebd.
Theodor Goldschmidt, the son of a prosperous Jewish middleclass family, grew up in Berlin. After the early death of his father, his two uncles Karl and Eduard Goldschmidt, co-owners of the respectable calico printing firm R. Goldschmidt & Söhne, were appointed his guardians. They not only made it possible for their ward to study chemistry at the famous Berlin University, inter alia under Eilhard Mitscherlich, and train as a colorist (an expert in the dyeing of fabrics), they also encouraged his love of independence and enterprise. The establishment of his own "Chemische Fabrik Th. Goldschmidt" in 1847 was the logical outcome.
His uncles' cotton-processing business provided an ideal launch pad for Theodor Goldschmidt. With only a few employees, in the early years he mainly produced supplies for the textile industry.
He was an extremely cultured man whose interests extended far beyond his chemical factory. Goldschmidt was a city councilor in Berlin, was interested in philosophy and maintained close contacts with the famous chemists of his time.
However, he was not a particularly gifted businessman, which resulted in the stagnation of his factory. Suffering moreover from a serious heart condition, Theodor Goldschmidt paid more attention to maintaining what already existed than to costly expansions. When he died in 1875, he left his sons Karl and Hans, both named as his successors, a factory employing around 15 workers. Although small, the factory, which had long ago broken away from his uncles' since bankrupt calico printing firm, enjoyed an excellent reputation.