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József Zwack, was born 200 years ago – Part 2.

The later competing major liqueur and spirits companies were also established at this time and in the following decades. The first major, the Braun Brothers Liqueur Factory, was founded in 1839, which is interesting to us because the St. Hubertus bitter liqueur product, established in 1901, is now marketed by Zwack. The liquor, vinegar and liqueur factory founded by Miksa Grauer was founded in 1852. It was also at this time that Gschwindt’s distillery, yeast, liqueur and rum, formerly engaged in the tobacco business and changing profile, was established in the 1850s. The distillery founded by Ferenc Schödel in 1853 was bought by the Krausz family and from 1869 Krausz-Moskovits rt. became successful by operating several business lines (spirits, vinegar, liqueur, cognac, brandy). Also worth mentioning is the Óbudai Szeszégető és Finomító Rt. known as BUSZESZ Rt. But let’s get back to Joseph Zwack.

Unfortunately, the early stages of his biography are poorly known, we don’t know his schools nor where he acquired his knowledge of the spirits industry. In any case, we know that he was an excellent expert in his profession. We know that “the Old Man, who was referred to by the general name of the profession, worked with exemplary precision from morning to night at his desk. His work ethic and amazing memory talent did not leave him even at the age of 93. He signed up to 400 letters with his own hands and, for example, at letter 246, he noticed that the other party had already paid two days in advance. ”

On March 26, 1848, in Pest, József Zwack married Mária Sattler (1823 – July 20, 1893), the daughter of Solomon and Teresa of Sattler, from whom his children were the later descendants of the company. Between 1852 and 1855 he had four children: Hermina, Róza, Ödön and Lajos. The latter became a later (third) business partner of Zwack. In 1852, he received a factory operating license. József Zwack received Pest civil rights in 1860. In 1861 he lived in Hajós Street according to the Pest directory.

However, for the small factory, the premises of the Moroccan house proved to be scarce. Then, when this too grew out, the neighboring house also used a so-called “pen yard” for its business. The family also lived here until the construction of Andrássy út. From 1882, a branch store was operated in the city center at 4 Fürdő Street. His brother Miksa Zwack (formerly called Max) joined the shop of József Zwack from 1866 (December 18, 1837 – February 6, 1920). The name of the company was later József Zwack and his partners co. The company also outgrew the place in Terézváros and moved around 19 Üllői út in 1885, about which we also have a pictorial representation based on invoices. The company and site, which also has a single-storey large courtyard distillery and storage capacity, has further developed. (According to the contemporary description, the distillery, rum and liqueur factory, distillery, machine house and cleaning workshops were located here.) In addition, the sites on Két Szerecsen Street were also kept.

The business became more and more successful. He brought awards at domestic and foreign industrial fairs in turn with his liqueur specialties. The company was prominent at the 1873 World’s Fair in Vienna, and in 1876 the company won the Medal of the National Association of Industry. They successfully (winning gold and bronze medals) attended at the National Exhibition in Székesfehérvár in 1879 and at the Trieste International Industrial Fair in 1879 and 1882. The real success was the National General Exhibition in the capital in 1885, where József Zwack was already a member of the jury. At that time, the factory, which employed 22 workers, was already producing and distributing export goods worth HUF 20-30 thousand. There was also an industrial accident in 1887, in which the owners and family members were injured: “They wanted to make cocoa liqueur in the distillery room. In a boiler in the middle of the workshop, two large copper bottles stood in the water, one filled with cognac and the other with spirits. The boiler was heated from below to allow the alcohol and cognac to evaporate. As a result of the huge heating, the evaporation soon stopped to such an extent that the steam in question filled the entire room. However, they did not know all this in the factory and worked calmly in all the rooms, when at the same time there was an explosion like a cannonball, and in the other minute tongues of flame broke out of the distillery. One of the members of the company, Lajos Zwack, immediately hurried over to see what an accident had happened, but unfortunately the burning spirits and steam were burning his hands, arms and face. The workers immediately injected water, and the fast-moving firefighters were able to enter the workshop after the fire was extinguished. Here, in one corner, a fully roasted figure wept, who was none other than cellar master Károly Zwack. The unfortunate was transported by the ambulance company to the new public hospital in Üllői- út, where he was placed in a separate room. ” Similar cases have often occurred in contemporary industrial plants, so the company is fortunate that, despite the difficulties, it has both technologically developed its sites and, if it has outgrown them, expanded its factory site.

source: Török Róbert, Honismeret, A Honismereti szövetség folyóirata, XLIX. Évfolyam.


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