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19th Century

1845: New fashion in the world of chocolate

A small pastry shop on Marktgasse in Zurich's old town in 1845. Confectioner David Sprüngli-Schwarz and his 29 year old son Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann, who also trained to be a confectioner, dared to do something new: they decided to make chocolate. In particular and in keeping with the new fashion that came from Italy –solid bars - just like François-Louis Cailler in Vevey and Philippe Suchard in Neuchâtel had already done.

 

Up to that point people knew chocolate almost exclusively as a drink! The new treat quickly became popular among the fine Zurich society so that the chocolate factory had to be moved after just 2 years  from the tiny bakery in Zurich to a small factory with water on tap in Horgen on the upper shores of Lake Zurich. Up to ten people were already employed there.

 

1859: New confectioners on Paradeplatz, Zurich

In 1859 father and son Sprüngli opened a second, large pastry shop on Paradeplatz in Zurich.
After the death of his father in 1862 the son continued to expand the business – which was located in a booming area next to a bank, a luxury hotel and the stock market.

As early as 1870 more space was needed to make the chocolate so they moved back to Zurich – to the “Werdmühle”. Around a decade later Sprüngli already employed around 80 people and supplied chocolates and pralines to many European countries and even to India.

Rudolf Sprüngli

1892: A new era in the family business

When Rudolf Sprüngli withdrew from business life in 1892 he divided the company between his two sons. The younger son, David Robert, received the two confectioner shops, the larger of which on Paradeplatz bloomed magnificently. Under him and his successor, who all came from the family, it became a business that was known and recognised around the world.

 

1898: Cornerstone for the chocolate factory in Kilchberg – Chocolat Sprüngli AG

The older brother, Johann Rudolf Sprüngli-Schifferli, received the chocolate factory. The far-sighted businessman who was willing to take risks from the very outset, increased the size of the factory facilities at “Werdmühle” and updated their technology.



But the location did not permit further expansion; the city of Zurich was also expanding rapidly at that time and the city authorities planned new buildings for the Werdmühle site. Therefore in 1898 Sprüngli started to build a completely new factory on land in Kilchberg at the shores of Lake Zurich and it started up operations in 1899.

To secure the finance for this large-scale project the privately-owned company was converted into a public limited company called “Chocolat Sprüngli AG”. And the company has never left this location on the left bank of Lake Zurich to this very day.

 

1899: Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG

In the same year “Chocolat Sprüngli AG” bought the Berne-based chocolate factory including the exclusive manufacturing secrets and the famous brand from Rodolphe Lindt, who had developed “conching” in 1879 – the method of producing chocolate that was then far ahead of its time in terms of aroma and melting qualities. His fine melting chocolate, which he called “chocolat fondant” quickly became famous and made a key contribution to the global reputation of Swiss chocolate.

Rodolphe Lindt

 

The company was later renamed “Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG” and produced the innovative chocolates both in Berne and Kilchberg. The two partners, Lindt und Sprüngli, ran the businesses together. It was successful – but not always easy.

 

Click here to continue reading Lindt & Sprüngli's history 

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