Solvay: History of a Multinational Family Firm

K. Bertrams, N. Coupain, E. Homburg

Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademic


Ernest Solvay, philanthropist and organizer of theworld-famous Solvay conferences
on physics, discovered a profitable way of making soda ash in 1861. Together with
a handful of associates, he laid the foundations of the Solvay company, which
successfully branched out to other chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Since
its emergence in 1863, Solvay has maintained its world leadership in the production
of soda ash. This is the first scholarly book on the history of the Solvay company,
which was one of the earliest chemical multinationals and today is among the
world’s twenty-largest chemical companies. It is also one of the largest companies
in the field to preserve its family character. The authors analyze the company’s
150-year history (1863-2013) from economic, political, and social perspectives,
showing the enormous impact of geopolitical events and the recent consequences
of global competition.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, New York
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages646
ISBN (Print)9781107024809
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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