Jump to content

Philippe Suchard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Philippe Suchard
Born9 October 1797
Died14 January 1884 (1884-01-15) (aged 86)
Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Known forFounder of Chocolat Suchard

Philippe Suchard (9 October 1797 – 14 January 1884) was a Swiss chocolatier, industrialist and entrepreneur. He founded Chocolat Suchard in 1826.

Early life[edit]

Suchard was born on 9 October 1797, in Boudry, to Louise Sophie Dubey and Guillaume Suchard, an innkeeper.[1] He started as an apprentice in his brother Frédéric's Konditorei in Bern around 1803,[2] and was an associate in the business between 1815 and 1823.[1] In 1824, Suchard left Switzerland to visit the United States, later writing a book about his travels,[3] and in 1825 he opened a confectioner's business in Neuchâtel.[4]

Chocolat Suchard[edit]

In 1826, Suchard opened the factory of Chocolat Suchard in Serrières, a neighborhood of Neuchâtel.[5] He used hydropower of the nearby river to run the mills in his two-man factory. Suchard used a grinding mill consisting of a heated granite plate, and several granite rollers moving forwards and backwards. This design, the melanger, is still used to grind cocoa paste.[6]

Chocolate was not cheap or a product for everybody. Suchard struggled financially early in his career as a chocolatier. His success came in 1842, with a bulk order from Frederick William IV, king of Prussia, who was also the prince of Neuchâtel. This triggered a boom and soon his chocolates won prizes at the London Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Paris Universal Exposition of 1855.[7] By the end of the 19th century, Suchard had become the largest chocolate producer.[8]

After Philippe's death in 1884 in Neuchâtel, his daughter Eugénie Suchard and her husband Carl Russ-Suchard, took over the functioning of his factory.[9] Carl Russ-Suchard opened the first Suchard factory abroad in 1880 in Lörrach, Germany.[10][11][12]

Other interests[edit]

Suchard's house in Neuchâtel built in 1865 by architect Louis-Daniel Perrier, inspired by his trip to the Middle East

Suchard was not only a chocolatier but also had interest in other areas. In 1834, he introduced and captained the first steamer, Industriel, on Lake Neuchâtel.[13] His interest in managing river water and controlling floods led to the sinking of the water level in Lake Neuchâtel. The lowered lake shoreline revealed the Celtic settlement of La Tène dating back to around 450 BC.[14]

He also tried introducing silkworm culture in Switzerland in 1837, but the silkworms were destroyed during an epidemic in 1843.[15] As a result of his travels in the Middle East, he had an addition to his home built, topping it with minarets.[9]

He also invested in the Asphalt Mining Company of Val-de-Travers, La Presta Asphalt Mine (1842–1849).[16]


  1. ^ a b Philippe Suchard in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  2. ^ Breiding, R. James (2012). Swiss made : the untold story behind Switzerland's success. London: Profile Books. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-1846685866.
  3. ^ Suchard, Philippe (1827). Mein Besuch Amerikas im Sommer 1824 (My visit to America in the summer of 1824). Switzerland: Aarau.
  4. ^ Newton, David (February 1, 2008). Trademarked : a history of well-known brands, from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press. ISBN 9780752496122. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  5. ^ Nussbaum, Claire-Aline (2005). Suchard: entreprise familiale de chocolat, 1826-1938 : naissance d'une mutinationale suisse Front Cover. Presse Alphil, Université de technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard.
  6. ^ Moss, Sarah; Badenoch, Alexander (September 15, 2009). Chocolate : a global history. London: Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1861895240.
  7. ^ Voegtli, M. (2003). "Crise de foi dans l'industrie chocolatière Suchard : du paternalisme à l'État social (1870-1940)". A Contrario. 1 (2): 90–115. doi:10.3917/aco.012.115. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  8. ^ Clarence-Smith, William Gervase (September 2, 2003). Cocoa and chocolate, 1765-1914. Routledge. p. 59. ISBN 9780415215763.
  9. ^ a b "Philippe Suchard: de Boudry à l'Orient du Minaret" (in French). Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  10. ^ "Milka Plant - Lörrach's best side and home of Milka tablets". Mondelēz International. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  11. ^ Schmid, Olivier (1999). ""Une fabrique modèle". Paternalisme et attitudes ouvrières dans une entreprise neuchâteloise de chocolats: Suchard (1870-1930)". Cahiers d'histoire du mouvement ouvrier. 15: 51–69.
  12. ^ Huguenin, Régis (2009). "La photographie industrielle entre image documentaire et image publicitaire". Conserveries mémorielles [Online]. 6. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  13. ^ Faust, Albert B. (1916). Guide to the materials for American history in Swiss and Austrian archives. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution of Washington. p. 173. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Funding Suchard's Steam Boat". The de Büren family. 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  15. ^ Stucki, Lorenz (1971). The secret empire: the success story of Switzerland. Herder and Herder. p. 109.
  16. ^ Sufrin, Paul (2000-05-18). "Tourism becomes light at the end of tunnel". swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 2024-03-25.