It might be interesting to investigate the relation, which certainly exists, between the progress of civilisation and the development of certain industries which reach their apogee rapidly, while others have more laborious beginnings and a slower progress.
It is certain, for example, that the industries whose aim is the satisfaction of greed have preceded, in all peoples, the arts and sciences which must ensure the necessary well-being.
Without wishing to give a history lesson on the subject of sugared almonds and candied fruit, I will recall, to speak only of France, that in the Middle Ages the convents had given to the preparation of sweets, syrups, liqueurs, and candied fruit a superiority that agriculture, clothing for the people, and the convenience and healthiness of dwellings would have to wait for several more centuries.
Why is it that these ancient asylums of archaeological science and culinary science, of illustrious scientists, famous cooks, eminent philologists and preservers of the good traditions of gourmandise, should now serve as a shelter only for those disillusioned with military glory?
Why is it that only the Benedictines have kept intact the heritage of glory bequeathed to them by their Reverend Fathers? Still, the illustration of the modern Benedictines has its source rather in the manufacture of a certain liqueur much appreciated by the farmers of advertisements than in the elaboration of the folios of their predecessors.
It is only fair to add that, having given up the excellent culinary preparations, the convents did not concern themselves any more with the interests which are the subject of the tenth group.
Must we not conclude from this that questions of luxury too often take precedence over questions of first necessity, and that it is only among educated, enlightened peoples that we will find this constant preoccupation with serious interests, with moral and physical well-being, and that only among them will luxury be the natural development of the necessary?
Be that as it may, modern nations have not disdained the traditions of gourmandise of past centuries, and the industries that seemed first of all to Brillat-Savarin, Grimod de la Reynière and a few illustrious gourmands, have sent to the Champ de Mars numerous and remarkable samples of their production.
Confectionery is widely represented, and the nineteenth century has the right to be proud to see so many men, so many forces, so much intelligence, devoted to the satisfaction of this lovely vice called Gourmandise.
Germany has not been left behind. Already worthily represented at the Exhibition of 1855, it sent to the Exhibition of 1867 the products of its first companies, and France, which has several famous names in this industry, did not see without emotion this vigorous competition to its quasi-monopoly.
Each people reveals itself in all its actions by what must be called its characteristic. Thus Germany is essentially encyclopaedic. Indeed, whereas a French scientist will be a specialist, a doctor, a jurisconsult, a chemist, an astronomer, a mathematician, the German scientist will be all of these at once. He will have exact notions of all branches of human knowledge, and nothing that constitutes a science will be foreign to him.
It is the same in Industry.
In France, a trader will choose a speciality to which he will devote all his care. He will manufacture, for example, chocolate. He will be able to achieve in this manufacture that perfection which distinguishes the houses of Devinck, Marquis, etc.; but, with very rare exceptions, he will not be asked to do anything else.
In Germany, on the other hand, a confectionery is a factory where thousands of sweets of all kinds are made to enrich desserts and hang from the enchanted trees of Christnacht.
Factory is the proper name to give to these vast workshops. Everything that makes up a large-scale operation can be found there: a large site, considerable equipment, a large staff, workshops devoted either to the manufacture of products or to the construction or repair of tools and machines. All of this allows a factory to live a little far from a large centre, because it finds all the resources necessary for its existence at home.
Such are the great confectioneries of Germany, and I will mention, among others, the houses of Adolphe Rœder, of Wiesbaden, Mayer, of Breslau, Wittekop et Cie, of Braunschweîg, which exhibit this world of sweets of all shapes and colours which are the joy of children - and of some grown-ups too.
Mr. Mayer from Breslau received an honourable mention for his candied fruits and syrups.
Mr. Franz Stollwerck, from Cologne, occupies a separate showcase in the compartment reserved for North German confectionery under the promenade at the corner of Prussian Street. This display case is easy to recognise. As our engraving shows, in a high glass cage surmounted by an eagle with outstretched wings, rises a pyramid on which are stacked jars of fruit, bags of sugared almonds, flasks of liqueurs, chocolate in the most bizarre forms; all this in an order that is already a seduction.
Certainly the sight of this display case is already enough to tempt the most sober man, but it is nothing compared to a glance at the catalogue of Mr. Franz Stollwerck.
Here, arranged in order of number, are all the varieties of chocolate, from those that reach the highest prices to the ordinary price compositions. Then come the dragees, those indispensable accompaniments to christenings, vanilla dragees, coffee dragees, almond dragees, filberts, liqueurs, etc.; sugar sweets, pastilles, fondants, candied fruits, surprise sweets, which are very much in vogue beyond the Rhine; biscuits, and finally fine liqueurs. In this field, Mr. Franz Stollwerck has made an unrivalled reputation for himself.
Having already won a medal in 1855, Mr. Stollwerck received a new distinction at the 1867 Exhibition. The jury wanted to reward not only the perfection of the products, but also the development of the production. It is perhaps not useless to say here that, in his steam factory in Cologne, this industrialist employs no less than one hundred and fifty workers, and that he has more than three thousand correspondents in the various cities of Europe, among whom I note famous names in the trade, in London, Paris and Vienna.
Does not such an extension given to a luxury industry imply constant care, a perfect knowledge of European trade, skilful direction, and real superiority in manufacture?
From all these points of view, the award obtained by Mr. Franz Stollwerck is not one that the jury will be reproached for.
Indeed, should we not see in the industry that gives work to one hundred and fifty workers, that knows how to open outlets to the four corners of Europe for a trade such as confectionery, something other than a manufacturer of sweets and syrups? - Is he not one of those bold merchants, one of those creators of international trade whom kings once honoured with their ingratitude, and whom the people today reward with wealth and public esteem?
©L'Exposition Universelle de 1867 Illustrée