Friedrich Ernst Roessler, Coin assayer and entrepreneur

The Pioneer


Founder of Frankfurt’s precious metals refinery, forerunner of the Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt, the later Degussa AG (predecessor of the Chemicals Business Area of Evonik).


Degussa

* 1813, Darmstadt

† 1873, Frankfurt am Main

Friedrich Ernst Roessler initially trained in the engineering workshop belonging to his father, who was Darmstadt's coinage councilor. He then attended lectures at Polytechnic College Munich and completed a period of practical training at Munich's mint. In addition he visited the coinage sites in Vienna, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. At the end of 1834 Roessler returned to Darmstadt and worked with his father in the mint. In 1838 the senate of the Free City of Frankfurt decided to build a new Frankfurt mint, which for the first time would also house a precious metal refinery, and sought advice from his father, Johann Hector Roessler. The latter proposed his son to supervise construction and fitting out. Roessler was initially appointed for two years as temporary mint officer. In recognition of his good service and scientific knowledge, he was appointed senior mint officer and mint assayer in 1841, six months after completion of the mint-on condition however that he acquire Frankfurt citizenship.

As coin assayer Roessler was now also responsible for checking the fineness and weight of the minted coins. He was soon commissioned to begin building and equipping a precious metal separating facility in the city mint building. Here again Friedrich Ernst Roessler made sure that state of the art machinery was installed.

By decision of the Frankfurt Senate the separating facility was rented to him under a lease and against security as his own business and opened in 1843 as a private company. Roessler thereby laid the foundations of the precious metal and chemical company belonging to his sons Heinrich and Hector, the future Degussa AG.

In 1841 Roessler married Frankfurt businessman's daughter Marie Caroline Andreae-Willemer. The marriage produced three daughters and eight sons, five of whom worked for the later Degussa. 

Evonik Industries only vacated the Frankfurt site that was founded by Friedrich Ernst Roessler in 2010. A new suburb of Frankfurt is now being built there.

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