Alfred Escher
Swiss politician and railroad entrepreneur
Alfred Escher
Johann Heinrich Alfred Escher vom Glas, known as Alfred Escher was a Swiss politician, business leader and railways pioneer.
Biography
Alfred Escher's personal information overview.
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News
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Comment nos diplomates ont vu le mur se dresser - Tribune de Genève
Google News - over 5 years
L'Allemand de l'ouest semble plus intéressé par son emploi et ses vacances que par ce qui se trame à Berlin, écrit Alfred Escher. Déjà? Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus. Soyez concis, courtois et pertinents. Les commentaires injurieux et hors sujet
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Die Bundesfeier als Balanceakt - NZZ Online
Google News - over 5 years
Daher brauche es eine vorausschauende Politik und visionäre und durchsetzungsfähige Politiker vom Schlage eines Alfred Escher oder Hans-Peter Tschudi. Diese Politiker gebe es in allen Parteien und zu allen Zeiten. Es brauche aber auch visionäre
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Die Kunst der Belichtung - Badische Zeitung
Google News - almost 6 years
Der Lörracher Fotograf Alfred Escher präsentiert eindrückliche Schwarz-Weiß-Fotografie, die den Betrachter in den Bann zieht. Es sind keine Schnappschüsse, vielmehr zeigen die rund 30 Aufnahmen sorgfältig eingeteilte Bildpoesie, wobei Escher dabei
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Die 1860er-Jahre: Eisenbahn-Blase - handelszeitung.ch
Google News - almost 6 years
Damit kommt Sulzer dem Zürcher Alfred Escher (1819–1882) ins Gehege. Der Nationalrat, Mitgründer der ETH und spätere Gotthardbahn- Präsident ist die treibende Kraft hinter den Privatbahnen. 1856 gründet er die Schweizerische Kreditanstalt
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Eine Villa für die Hoteliers von morgen - Tages-Anzeiger Online
Google News - almost 6 years
Die traditionelle Villa im Belvoirpark, einst Wohnhaus des Zürcher Industriekönigs Alfred Escher, bleibt als Restaurant erhalten. «Wir brauchen dringend mehr Platz», sagte Schuldirektor Paul Nussbaumer gestern vor den Medien
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Schwarzweißfotografie in der Mediathek - Badische Zeitung
Google News - almost 6 years
Eine gelungene Ausstellung mit "Schwarzweißfotografie" von Alfred Escher ist derzeit noch in der Mediathek am Rathaus Efringen-Kirchen zu erleben. Alfred Escher aus Lörrach zeigt einen Querschnitt seiner Arbeiten. Die Ausstellung dauert bis 21
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Swiss Re/Zürcher Stadtrat einverstanden mit Neubauplänen am Hauptsitz - swissinfo.ch
Google News - almost 6 years
So sollen 127 Parkplätze am Hafen Enge sowie rund 30 an der Alfred-Escher-Strasse in die bereits bestehende, öffentlich zugängliche Tiefgarage verlegt werden. Dies ermögliche eine Aufwertung des linken Seeufers gemäss Leitbild "Seebecken der Stadt
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Switzerland Rejects Intervention, Expecting Its Banks to Grow Stronger
NYTimes - over 8 years
As governments in Europe and the United States have rushed to pump trillions of dollars into their troubled banks, the Swiss have thus far chosen to stand pat. Switzerland is wagering that its institutions, backed by hundreds of years of tradition and lots of capital, will not only survive these hard times, but also ultimately thrive. The gamble is
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HOME TO RUNAWAY INTELLECTUALS
NYTimes - over 27 years
LEAD: THE TRIUMPH OF LIBERALISM Zurich in the Golden Age, 1830-1869. By Gordon A. Craig. Illustrated. 314 pp. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. $24.95. THE TRIUMPH OF LIBERALISM Zurich in the Golden Age, 1830-1869. By Gordon A. Craig. Illustrated. 314 pp. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. $24.95. If all the different ways of seeing history share
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In Switzerland, Train Stations Are for Eating
NYTimes - about 28 years
LEAD: T. S. Eliot created a character who . . . pulled her stockings off With a frightful cry of ''Hauptbahnhof!'' T. S. Eliot created a character who . . . pulled her stockings off With a frightful cry of ''Hauptbahnhof!'' POETS are allowed considerable rope, but I'll be hanged if I understand why the cry was frightful. In Switzerland at least,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Alfred Escher
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1882
    Age 62
    On the morning of 6 December 1882 Alfred Escher died on his "Belvoir" estate.
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    At his funeral service on 9 December 1882, which was held in Zurich’s Fraumünster church, the Swiss political elite conferred the last honour on him: Federal Councillors, National and States Councillors as well as countless representatives of the Cantons were in attendance.
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    In late November 1882 he fell badly ill again.
    More Details Hide Details Carbuncles developed on his back and he was plagued by a virulent fever.
  • 1880
    Age 60
    When the builders of the Gotthard tunnel broke through in 1880, he was not invited to attend.
    More Details Hide Details In 1882 this landmark project was finally completed and the Gotthard tunnel was ceremoniously opened. This time, Escher was invited but unable to attend the opening celebrations because of his poor health. The Gotthard tunnel played a vital part in putting Switzerland on the international transport map. In the years following its inauguration the volume of goods and passengers passing through soared, turning Switzerland into an important transit country. The number and importance of the positions and public offices held by Alfred Escher remains unparalleled in Swiss history to date, as the following (not exhaustive) list illustrates: Those wishing to research Alfred Escher have a rich store of source material at their disposal. First and foremost there is extensive correspondence connected with Escher. Escher corresponded with a number of eminent personages from the worlds of politics, industry and science. In 2006 the Alfred Escher Foundation was set up to conduct research into his life and achievements. The Alfred Escher Foundation’s documentation centre can provide photocopies of the approximately 7,500 letters written to or by Alfred Escher as well as a range of standard reference works on Swiss history in the 19th century. The correspondence is also available in a multimedia edition, which is being posted online in stages.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1878
    Age 58
    Escher was exposed to increasingly vociferous criticism, prompting him to resign as chairman of the Gotthard Rail Company in 1878.
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  • 1871
    Age 51
    In 1871 the Gotthardbahn-Gesellschaft (Gotthard Railway Company) was established, with Escher as its chairman.
    More Details Hide Details The construction phase was hampered by a variety of problems in realising the project and a - given the scale of the project, rather modest – budget overrun of around 11%.
    This process prompted irate investors to heap criticism on Alfred Escher, even though he had already resigned from his position as chairman of the Northeastern Railway board in 1871.
    More Details Hide Details Even the financial difficulties involved in the Gotthard project were blamed on Escher by various parties. In addition to personal attacks from political opponents, Escher faced serious health problems. He suffered repeated bouts of ill health throughout his life and on many occasions was obliged to spend long periods in convalescence. His susceptibility to illness was highly incompatible with his phenomenal appetite for work. During the critical phase of the Gotthard Tunnel construction in the mid-1870s Escher nearly worked himself to death. In 1878 he fell so badly ill that he was unable to leave "Belvoir" for several weeks. His life became a constant alternation between illness and recovery: asthma, fever, eye conditions, boils. However, this did not prevent Escher from fulfilling his political and business obligations whenever he could.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1857
    Age 37
    In 1857 Alfred Escher married Augusta Uebel (1838–1864).
    More Details Hide Details Their daughter Lydia was born in 1858, but another daughter Hedwig (1861–1862) died while still a baby. In 1883 Lydia Escher married Friedrich Emil Welti, the son of Federal Councillor Emil Welti. In 1890, shortly before the end of her tragic life, she invested the Escher fortune in a Foundation which she called the Gottfried Keller Foundation after the Zurich writer to whom her father gave consistent support. Lydia’s suicide in 1891 brought an end to Alfred Escher’s family line. Alfred Escher spent the first years of his childhood in the house where he was born, the "Neuberg" on Hirschengraben in Zurich. Heinrich Escher had a country house built on the left shore of Lake Zurich in the village of Enge (now part of the city of Zurich). He called it Belvoir.
  • 1856
    Age 36
    In 1856 he succeeded in establishing a new bank, Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (now known as Credit Suisse), primarily for the purpose of securing financing for his own rail company, the Swiss Northeastern Railway.
    More Details Hide Details Increasingly, however, Escher’s bank financed other public and private sector endeavours too, thereby developing into an important lender for the Swiss economy and the founding institution of the Zurich’s financial centre. Despite the expansion of the rail network in the 1850s, there was still a danger that Switzerland would be left out of the wider European scheme of things. Although connections with the main Swiss towns and cities had soon been established, there was still no major north-south route. Alfred Escher initially favoured a trans-Alpine link via the Lukmanier, he changed his mind and became an advocate of the Gotthard project. Escher threw all the economic and political resources at his command behind this ambitious project. He consulted engineers and other experts, and conducted negotiations with the authorities at home and abroad. At the international Gotthard conference held in the autumn of 1869, the final decision was made in favour of the Gotthard line.
  • 1854
    Age 34
    From 1854–1882 Escher was vice-chairman of the Federal School Council, the governing body of the Polytechnic Institute.
    More Details Hide Details The establishment of this institution for technology and the natural sciences was the key act in laying the foundation for Switzerland’s later pre-eminence in education and research. The large amounts of capital involved in constructing railways posed new challenges to the rail companies. The capital had to be raised outside Switzerland because there were no institutions within the country able to make money available in the huge quantities required. This dependence on foreign lenders resulted in those lenders seeking to influence the growth and development of the Swiss rail companies. Alfred Escher did not like this state of affairs.
  • 1852
    Age 32
    Within a very short period of time competing railway companies were set up, including in 1852-53 the Swiss Northeastern Railway, with Escher at its helm.
    More Details Hide Details In this way the Swiss rapidly closed the gap in rail-related knowledge and technology between themselves and foreign operators. The railway boom was accompanied by a call for people with the technical training required in the new economic sector. In Switzerland there were then no educational establishments for engineers and technicians. Escher was in the forefront of the struggle to rise to the technological and manufacturing challenges of the time. After years of political wrangling the Federal Polytechnic Institute (now known as ETH Zurich) was finally founded in 1854/55.
    In 1852 Escher helped push through a railway law drafted entirely in line with his own conceptions: railway construction and operation would be left to private companies.
    More Details Hide Details This soon led to a veritable railway boom in Switzerland.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1849
    Age 29
    With these words uttered in late 1849 Alfred Escher expressed his concern that modernity risked passing Switzerland by.
    More Details Hide Details And he had good cause for such concern, since at the time when the distances covered by railway tracks in Europe were steadily increasing, driving economic development as they did, Switzerland was doing little to join in. The fate of the new Swiss Confederation established in 1848 became inextricably bound up with the advent of the railways. There was basic agreement on the need for railways, but precious little agreement on how or where they should be built.
  • 1848
    Age 28
    On 15 October 1848 Escher was elected to the National Council and was appointed its Vice-President on 7 November 1848.
    More Details Hide Details Escher was to sit on the National Council without interruption until his death 34 years later. He was elected to serve as National Council President (the highest public office in Switzerland) four times (in 1849, 1856 and 1862: in 1855 Escher declined the post for health reasons). Thanks to his many political posts and his position as one of the founders of the Swiss Northeastern Railway (1852/53) and Credit Suisse (1856), Escher commanded an unusual amount of power. He attracted a number of nicknames as a result, including "King Alfred I" or the "Princeps". His political eminence was bound to attract critics. The Democratic Movement called for the people to be given a greater say on political issues. The devotees who surrounded Alfred Escher – known as the "Escher system" – were the avowed enemies of the Democrats. The fight was taken to the "Escher system" by means of pamphlets and public assemblies, and ultimately this resulted in a weakening of Escher’s influence. Another serious problem he faced was the fact that his Northeastern Railway was sliding further and further into financial crisis in the 1870s. The company’s share price plummeted from 658 Swiss francs in 1868 to 70 francs in 1877.
  • 1847
    Age 27
    In 1847 Escher was appointed as Zurich’s Chief Administrator, and in the summer of 1848 he was elected to the cantonal government.
    More Details Hide Details With the introduction of the new Swiss Federal Constitution, it became necessary to put together the first ever national parliament.
  • 1845
    Age 25
    In 1845 and 1846 Escher took part in the Federal Council of Cantonal Representatives (Tagsatzung) in Zurich as Third Envoy, which brought him into contact with Switzerland’s leading politicians.
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  • 1844
    Age 24
    In August 1844 Escher, now 25 years old, was elected to the Zurich’s Cantonal Parliament.
    More Details Hide Details He was now able to play an active part in political debates of the time, most notably the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Swiss Confederation, a position on which Escher played a prominent role in the anti-Jesuit camp.
    In February 1844 he gave a trial lecture, whereupon the University governing council appointed him as a lecturer in the Faculty of Political Science.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to his academic pursuits, the radical-liberal Escher was politically active: he met regularly with former student friends in the "Academic Wednesday Society" to discuss topical political issues and wrote a number of articles for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
  • 1843
    Age 23
    Following his return to Zurich in the summer of 1843 Escher devoted himself to a number of academic projects.
    More Details Hide Details He did preparatory work on a wide-ranging history of Swiss law, which never came to fruition. Escher also planned to give lectures at the University of Zurich.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1839
    Age 19
    He served as president of the society’s Zurich section in 1839/40 and in September 1840 became overall president of the whole society.
    More Details Hide Details Escher himself repeatedly cited the Zofingia as a major influence on the development of his personality. With a dissertation on Roman law, Escher gained his doctorate "summa cum laude" from the University of Zurich. Having completed his studies, Escher needed to think carefully about his future career, so he went to Paris for several months to contemplate the matter.
  • 1837
    Age 17
    During his studies, Escher became involved in the Zofingia student society, which he joined in 1837.
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  • 1835
    Age 15
    Escher attended the Zurich Obergymnasium high school from 1835 to 1837.
    More Details Hide Details After graduating from high school, Escher decided to study law at the University of Zurich. In 1838/39 he spent two semesters abroad at the Universities of Bonn and Berlin, though these stays were marred by serious illness.
  • 1831
    Age 11
    When the family moved into the house in 1831, Heinrich Escher was able to devote himself fully to his passion for botany and his entomological collection.
    More Details Hide Details During this period Alfred Escher was taught at home by various tutors, including the theologian Alexander Schweizer, and Oswald Heer, who was to become a paleo-botanist and entomologist.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1819
    Born
    Born in 1819.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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