Henri Nestlé

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Henri Nestlé

Henri Nestlé , until 1839 Heinrich Nestle , from 1875 Henri Nestlé-Ehmant (born August 10, 1814 in Frankfurt am Main , † July 7, 1890 in Glion , Switzerland ), was a Swiss entrepreneur and industrialist of German origin. He is the founder of the now global company Nestlé .


Heinrich Nestle was born on August 10, 1814 in Töngesgasse 33 in Frankfurt am Main as the eleventh of fourteen children of the master glazier Johann Ulrich Matthias Nestle and Anna Maria Catharina, born. Husband born. Five older siblings had died before he was born. His great-grandfather Johann Ulrich (1728–1816) settled down as a master glazier in Frankfurt am Main in 1755 and acquired citizenship.

The Nästlin, Nestlin, Nestlen and Nestle families originally came from the southern German Swabian region and were primarily based there in the communities of Dornstetten , Freudenstadt , Mindersbach , Nagold and Sulz am Neckar . The ancestors of the family were three brothers (see family coat of arms with three young birds) from Mindersbach near Nagold with the names Hans, Heinrich and Samuel Nestlin. The eldest (Hans) was born in 1520. He had a son of the same name who was later mayor of Nagold. His son Ulrich was Bader and his fifth son Johann Jacob was the first glazier in the family. Over five generations, this job passed from the father to one of the sons. In addition, the Nestles provided several mayors in the communities of Dornstetten, Freudenstadt, Nagold and Sulz am Neckar.


Nestle completed his apprenticeship as a pharmacist in Frankfurt from 1829 to 1833 in the bridge pharmacy in the Fahrgasse at JE Stein. Then he went on a journey, as was prescribed for journeymen at that time . During his training he had contacts with the opposition and was therefore subject to reprisals .

When Heinrich Nestle emigrated to Vevey in French-speaking Switzerland in 1839, he changed his name to Henri Nestlé.

There he had a job with the city pharmacist M. Nicollier, who encouraged him to the best of his ability. In 1843, with the support of his master and financial help from his family, Nestlé was able to acquire a mill with an attached distillery. Here he started making vinegar , bone meal , liqueur and oil . He also tried his hand at mustard and mineral water production .

In 1849 Nestlé set up a small laboratory and tried to produce mineral fertilizers and a liquid gas from vegetable oil according to the latest scientific findings . In the years 1858 to 1862 he sold this gas to the Vevey municipality as fuel for street lighting. During this time he also traded in kerosene and kerosene lamps. From the mid-1850s Nestlé was friends with Jean Balthasar Schnetzler , a scientist who was appointed professor of natural history at the Académie de Lausanne from 1869 . Schnetzler advised the city of Vevey on gas lighting and was also later a kind of spiritus rector for Nestlé .

In 1857 the “Fa. Nestlé ”, partly because the municipality of Vevey switched from liquefied gas to hard coal gas . While looking for new business ideas, Nestlé came across artificial baby food. However, initial attempts to produce breast milk substitutes were unsuccessful.

In 1860, during a stay in his hometown, Henri Nestlé married the Frankfurt doctor's daughter Clementine Therese Nahrant (1833–1900), who also changed her name after her arrival in Vevey and henceforth spelled Ehmant. The couple remained childless and took in the orphan Emma Seiler, called Emma Nestlé.

Nestle baby meal in an 1898 advertisement

Justus von Liebig developed the first finished product for babies in 1865. Nestlé added Liebig's recipe for condensed milk and launched the powder as Henri Nestle's Children's Meal in 1868 after a trial on two babies . In the following months the “Fa. Nestlé ”converted to cope with mass production. In 1874, Nestlé began to withdraw from its company, which had a net profit of CHF 400,000 that year. In 1875 he sold the whole company to his business friends Gustav Marquis , Jules Monnerat and Pierre-Samuel Roussy .

From that year Nestlé lived with his family alternately in Montreux and Glion . At the age of 76, Henri Nestlé-Ehmant died on July 7, 1890 in Glion (VD).

Nestlé , now operating worldwide , is one of the largest and most commercially successful companies in the food sector.


  • Memorial on the food nutrition of infants (1869)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. https://www.journal-frankfurt.de/journal_news/Wirtschaft-7/Vom-Frankfurter-Apotheker-zum-Weltkonzern-Nestl-feiert-den-200-Geburtstag-seines-Namensgebers-21828.html
  2. ^ Kaufmann, Jens Th .: The Nestle family from Nagold and Mindersbach. In: Südwestdeutsche Blätter für Familien- und Wappenkunde. Volume 29, 2011, pp. 26-46.
  3. https://www.journal-frankfurt.de/journal_news/Wirtschaft-7/Vom-Frankfurter-Apotheker-zum-Weltkonzern-Nestl-feiert-den-200-Geburtstag-seines-Namensgebers-21828.html
  4. ^ Albert Pfiffner: Henri Nestlé 1814–1890, Verlag Nestlé AG, 2014, p. 35
  5. The portrait of Heinrich Nestlé. Nestlé, accessed August 6, 2017 .
  6. Barbara Orland: Science, Market and Experience. Natural versus Artificial Infant Feeding in the 19th Century . In: Marguérite Bos u. a. (Ed.): Experience: Alles nur Diskurs ?, Zurich 2004, pp. 291–305, ISBN 3-0340-0591-1