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Charles Pfizer (March 22, 1824 in Ludwigsburg as Karl Pfizer – October 19, 1906) was a German chemist who migrated to the United States in the early 1840s and founded, with his cousin Charles F. Erhart, the Pfizer Inc. pharmaceutical company in 1849 as Charles Pfizer & Co. He remained at its head until 1900, when the company was incorporated and Charles Pfizer, Jr. became its first president. When Charles Jr. retired, his brother Emil succeeded him in his post.
He made frequent trips to Europe, and met his wife Anna Hausch, whom he married in 1859, in his hometown of Ludwigsburg. They had five children: Ann Pfizer ( - 1876), Charles Jr (1860-1928), Gustavus Pfizer (1861 - 1944), Emile Pfizer (1866 - 1941) and Alice Bachofen Pfizer von Echt (1876 - 1959).
When Pfizer's partner, cousin and brother-in-law Charles Erhart died in 1891, their partnership agreement stipulated that upon the death of one partner, the surviving partner could buy the other’s share of the partnership for half its inventory value. Pfizer promptly exercised this option, paying his partner’s heirs $119,350 for Erhart’s half of the business. However in 1900, Pfizer distributed the stock of the company as follows: Charles Pfizer Jr. (334 shares), Emile Pfizer (333 shares), William Erhart (333 shares).
He died at his summer home, Lindgate, in Newport, Rhode Island; his year-round home was in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. His death came a few weeks after a fall down stairs in which he broke an arm and was otherwise badly injured. Two daughters, Alice, Baroness Bachofen von Echt and Mrs. Frederick Duncan of Vienna, were with him when he died.
- Charles Pfizer at Pfizer website
- "Charles Pfizer.", The New York Times, October 21, 1906, p. 9.
- Stevenson, William. "Charles Pfizer." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 2, edited by William J. Hausman. German Historical Institute. Last modified May 27, 2014.
- Charles Pfizer at Find a Grave
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