Julius Maggi

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Julius Maggi around 1900

Julius Michael Johannes Maggi [ ˈmadːʒi ] (born October 9, 1846 in Frauenfeld , † October 19, 1912 in Küsnacht ) was a Swiss entrepreneur and inventor. As the founder of the food manufacturer Maggi and the inventor of Maggi wort , he was one of the pioneers in industrial food production. Early on, he did intensive brand advertising and temporarily employed the later famous playwright Frank Wedekind as an advertising copywriter. The handwritten originals of the advertising texts that Wedekind wrote for Maggi from 1886 to 1887 are in a special collection in the Aargau Cantonal Library .

Julius Maggi was the son of Michael Maggi . Julius Maggi was married twice, he had four daughters and two sons.

Live and act

Maggi was the youngest of five children of an Italian immigrant from Lombardy who had achieved prosperity and prestige as a mill owner and businessman in Switzerland (hence the Italian pronunciation ˈmadʒi of the family name). After a restless youth with frequent changes of school and a prematurely discontinued commercial apprenticeship in Basel , he attended the recruiting school of the Swiss cavalry . From 1867 to 1869 he worked - initially as an intern, and finally as Vice Director - at Erste Ofen-Pester Dampfmühle AG in Budapest . In 1869, at the age of 23, he took over the hammer mill in the Kempttal near Winterthur (today part of Lindau ZH ) from his father . In the following years the family acquired further mills and vegetable growing businesses in Switzerland. In the meantime these were no longer traditional craft businesses, but semi-industrial companies.

Critical years had begun for the millers industry . Technical innovations brought increased productivity in a limited market, and also increasing import trade increased the competitive pressure; Bankruptcies were not uncommon. The Maggi company - since 1872 it was called Julius Maggi & Cie , some partners had brought in additional capital - could no longer rely solely on the production and trading of cereal flours if it wanted to survive. The special socio-political conditions of that time finally opened the way to new products and new markets. Starting in 1882, Julius Maggi initially developed inexpensive legume products in close cooperation with Fridolin Schuler and the Swiss Charitable Society . His enthusiasm for the work in the production of soup concentrates on this basis was so great that he almost called one of his daughters “Leguminosa”.

In 1886 he created the Maggi seasoning to improve the taste of legume soups , which has an aroma reminiscent of lovage (Levisticum officinale), but does not contain any lovage itself (curiously, lovage was subsequently popularly known as, due to the similarity of the aroma "Maggi herb").

From 1887 Maggi expanded abroad. Close to the Swiss border and with good train connections to Winterthur , he set up an initially small German branch in Singen / Hohentwiel in the Grand Duchy of Baden , in which seven workers and a foreman filled bottles of Maggi wort . The so-called “Gütterli-Hüsli”, where this bottling took place, now serves as the Maggi Museum. After the acquisition of the Bilger brewery in 1895, a factory was built in Singen that already had 200 employees in 1900, including 120 women. The social measures introduced in his company in Kemptthal from 1892 onwards were also adopted in Singen (workers' housing, regulation of lost wages, company holiday home, company parties and excursions, company health insurance fund, and paid leave later). The boss who had traveled from Paris settled a wildcat strike at the Singen plant in 1907 and had a workers' committee set up. The German head office of Maggi was relocated to Berlin in 1898 .

Also in 1887 a branch was established in Bregenz ( Austria ), which existed until 1977.

From 1897 Julius Maggi became increasingly active in France, where there had been a branch since 1887, but it did not really flourish. In 1899 he founded a company for non-alcoholic beverages in Paris , the “Société anonyme des boissons hygiéniques”. In the same year the production of Maggi wort started. For the world exhibition in 1900, he and his family moved to Paris for five months.

In April 1901 he permanently moved to Paris and on December 24, 1902 founded the “Société laitière Maggi” as a subsidiary of the “Société des boissons hygiéniques”. He set up a distribution system for pasteurized milk, the quality of which was controlled by a laboratory he founded («Institut du lait»). Before pasteurized Maggi milk was introduced, 90,000 children in France (including 20,000 in Paris) had died of infantile cholera at the beginning of the 20th century . While Maggi's activities in the milk supply market were severely attacked by the Syndicat des crémiers and especially by Action française in their magazine, Jules Maggi (as he called himself in France) received the French state on August 4, 1907 Awarded the title of "Officier de la Legion d'honneur ". The sales success had risen from 21,000 liters of milk per week in 1903 to over a million liters per week in 1912.

Operation of the Maggi company for milk collection ("Center de ramassage") for deliveries from Normandy and Picardy in Saint-Omer-en-Chaussée , Oise department

Another huge success was the creation of the stock cube in 1907 and the establishment of the «Société du Bouillon Kub». As early as 1912, 6 million of these bouillon cubes were sold monthly in France. These tremendous successes were made possible by successful advertising and a tasting bureau . Julius Maggi also sought the support of the famous master chef Auguste Escoffier for the «ennobling of his products».

During his time in Paris, Julius Maggi had a liaison with an actress and was not stingy with representative editions. He owned four steam yachts on the French coast, which were named Maggi I, Maggi II, Maggi III and Maggi IV. In Zurich he had the Villa Sumatra rebuilt and decorated in a representative way.

He suffered a stroke during a work session ; Already terminally ill, he was transferred to Switzerland, where he died on October 19, 1912. His resting place is in the Lindau municipal cemetery in the canton of Zurich .

When the First World War broke out in August 1914, the laboratory and almost all of the 850 Laitière Maggi delivery points in Paris were attacked and devastated by an angry mob. All over France, the well-known enameled tin signs were unscrewed because Maggi was thought to be a German company that only served as a cover for espionage activities against France. There was a rumor that Maggi products, and especially milk, were poisoned. Another rumor was that Monsieur Maggi (who in fact had been dead for almost two years) was arrested while trying to escape Paris with 40 million francs hidden in milk cans.

Shortly after Julius Maggi's death, the company that bore his name was converted into a holding company, later renamed Alimenta AG and merged with today's Nestlé AG in a 1947 merger .


  • Hans Rudolf Schmid: Julius Maggi, October 9, 1846 to October 19, 1912. Factory of Maggis Food, Kempttal 1946, 15 p. (Published on the 100th birthday of Julius Maggi).
  • Hermann Schäfer:  Maggi, Julius. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 15, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-428-00196-6 , pp. 654 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Susanne B. Schmidt: Julius Maggi - Singens spicy way to the industrial city. In: Alfred G. Frei (Ed.): Habermus and soup wort - Singen's path from farming village to industrial city. Stadler Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz 1987, ISBN 3-7977-0180-2 , pp. 111-145 (the article was written on the occasion of an exhibition on the 100th anniversary of the Maggi wort).
  • Alfred G. Frei, Susanne B. Schmidt: Julius Maggi (1846–1912) - From the mill to the food factory. In: Herbert Berner (Ed.): Singing. Village and rule - Singen town history. Volume 2. Konstanz 1990, ISBN 3-87799-090-8 , pp. 543-556.
  • Hans Peter Treichler : The silent revolutions - the world of work and domesticity in transition (1880–1900). Schweizer Verlagshaus, Zurich 1992, ISBN 3-7263-6525-7 ; in particular the chapters Soup industrial: the career of Julius Maggi (p. 7–29) and Maggi: before the big breakthrough (p. 97–103).
  • Hartmut Vinçon: The Maggi company. In: Pharus IV (Editions- und Forschungsstelle Frank Wedekind, Darmstadt; Hrsg.): Frank Wedekinds Maggi-Zeit. Verlag Jürgen Häusser, Darmstadt 1992, ISBN 3-927902-71-3 , pp. 176-253; there a chronology of Julius Maggi's life on pp. 247–253.
  • Birgit Becker: Julius Maggi - through the cross star to success. In: Singener Jahrbuch 1995/96. ISBN 3-9805081-0-2 , pp. 39–42 (the article was written on the occasion of Julius Maggi’s 150th birthday).
  • Heinz Ruprecht: The «Soup King» from Thurgau. In: Thurgauer Jahrbuch , Vol. 73, 1998, pp. 139–145. ( e-periodica )
  • Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. Editions Hoëbeke, Paris 2002, ISBN 2-84230-114-5 .
  • Alex Capus : Julius Maggi. In: Patriarchs: Ten Portraits. Albrecht Knaus Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-8135-0273-2 , pp. 51-67.
  • Annatina Seifert (Ed.): Canned Milk and Powdered Soups - The Beginnings of the Swiss Food Industry. Vevey 2008, ISBN 2-940284-21-0 , pp. 60-63.
  • Paul Bleton: Des yeux dans le bouillon - Espionnage et affichage, cubisme et patriotisme - Des fictions qui créent le monde. In: Les cahiers du GRIT (Groupe de Recherche sur l'Image et le Texte), Vol. 1. Louvain-la-Neuve, 2011, ISSN  2033-7795 , pp. 54-74 ( digitized ( Memento from December 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive ); PDF; 4 kB).
  • Jesko Dahlmann: Innovative entrepreneurship in the sense of Schumpeter: theory and economic history. Metropolis Verlag, Marburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-7316-1269-8 , pp. 515-591.

Web links

Commons : Maggi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Schmid: Julius Maggi. 1946, p. 10; Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 19
  2. Isabelle Hölper: The roots of the wort - a success story. Over 100 years of Maggi wort in Germany. In: 100 years of Maggi GmbH. Wirtschaftsspiegel Bodensee Spezial, Singen 1997, pp. 37–38
  3. ^ Schmidt: Julius Maggi - Singens spicy way to the industrial city. 1987, p. 111
  4. Visits are only possible in groups and by appointment (as of April 2013). See guided tours
  5. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 32
  6. Kemptthal (today's spelling) lies in the valley of the Kempt, a tributary of the Töss, which in turn flows into the Rhine. In the past, place names were written without an h; Football club and equestrian club have retained this graph.
  7. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 32; Treichler: The silent revolutions. 1992, p. 53
  8. On the centenary of the strike there were reports in the Südkurier : 100 years of co-determination and in the Singener Wochenblatt : On the way to a better life ( memento of February 23, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (both accessed on January 25, 2020); see also: Willy Buschak : The history of the Maggi workers 1887–1950. Second edition. Results-Verlag, Hamburg 1989, ISBN 3-925622-49-7 , p. 27
  9. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 32
  10. See time tables Vorarlberg - economic history. 1870–1894 ( Memento of March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). Archiv Verlag (accessed January 25, 2020)
  11. She was then transferred to Linz . The so-called “Maggi-Areal” in Bregenz became a building area. See Vorarlberg chronological tables - economic history. 1970–1984 ( Memento from March 14, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). Archiv Verlag (accessed January 25, 2020)
  12. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 38
  13. Our story. From 1846 – today. Maggi GmbH website
  14. Capus: Julius Maggi. 2006, p. 95
  15. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, pp. 54-55
  16. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 59
  17. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 53
  18. Copy of the certificate of appointment
  19. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 57
  20. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 68
  21. Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 65. Later, in the period between the two world wars, tasting trucks also drove through the French provinces (pictures from Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 98–99)
  22. ^ Norbert Knopp: Picasso, "Père Ubu - Ku" ( Memento from December 3, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). Institute for Current Art in Saarland, p. 10 (PDF; 4 kB). Escoffier was also very positive: "Excellent bouillon savoureux et limpide ... Bien que ce produit s'Adresse au grand public, je suis assuré que les gourmets les plus raffinés y trouvent un charme" ("excellent tasty and clear bouillon ... Although this product is aimed at the general public, I am sure that the greatest gourmets will find something in it »)
  23. Capus: Julius Maggi. 2006, pp. 60-61
  24. ^ Treichler: The silent revolutions. 1992, p. 11; a picture of the villa, which was demolished in 1970, is on p
  25. The grave of Julius Maggi on knerger.de
  26. Comment on échoué les manœuvres pour la destruction des Sociétés Maggi et Kub, soit par la violence, soit par les moyens juridiques, août 1914 à fin 1920. Imprimerie centrale de la Bourse, Paris 1921, pp. 1-19. A literary account of the events can be found in Roger Martin du Gard's family epic The Thibaults. A family story. Seventh novel ("Summer 1914"), third part, August 2, 1914, translated from the French by Frederick Lehner. Ex libris Volk und Welt, Berlin 1979, pp. 198–199. Images on the ostracism of Maggi in France during this period can be found at Pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, pp. 90-92
  27. After the Maggi had been a “National Socialist model company” during the Nazi era and was thus heavily compromised after the end of the war, it was “degermanized” through its incorporation into Nestlé and saved from requisitioning and dismantling. Also pivot: Maggi et la magie du Bouillon KUB. 2002, p. 109