Fritzsche Brothers (or Fritzche Brothers, as it is sometimes spelled) was established on August 28, 1871, at 62 Cedar Street, New York City, as a subsidiary of chemical maker Schimmel & Co., of Leipzig, Germany, for the purpose of importing and selling essential oils.
In 1894, Schimmel sent to America Frederick Henry Leonhardt, to give Fritzsche's non-technical president, Carl Brucker, needed technical assistance. Leonhardt, known as "Fritz," became a U.S. citizen in 1904. In 1934, when Brucker's successor, F.E. Watermeyer, died, Leonhardt became president. He held this position until 1953 when he surrendered the presidency to his vice president, John H. Montgomery, and assumed the position of chairman of the board. Thus Leonhardt's career with Fritzsche Brothers spanned a period of over 60 years.
In the 1920's, it was Leonhardt who arranged for Ernest Guenther to undertake his world travels and studies which resulted in Guenther's classic, 6-volume text, The Essential Oils, published in 1947.
The issue in the essential oil business is the uniformity and reliability of the oil itself. Guenther sent back samples to Fritzsche of properly collected and processed oils from all over the world, a task which greatly advanced the science and helped dealers sort out the genuine from the tainted or spurious.
In 1952, the year before he retired from the presidency, Leonhardt sanctioned the purchase by Fritzsche Brothers of Dodge & Olcott. In 1963 the firm was renamed Fritzsche, Dodge & Olcott. In 1980, Fritzsche, Dodge & Olcott was acquired by chemical giant BASF. Ten years later, in 1990, BASF sold Fritzsche, Dodge & Olcott to Givaudan.
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