1873 - 1897

Prolonged post-Civil war crisis, but also a catalyst for industrial progress

Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC)
Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS)

Switzerland and the world


Zurich stock market

Zurich stock market in the 19th century

Bank in Winterthur increases its capital to CHF 15 million, but is soon after faced with the effects of a major economic crisis.

"Black Friday" occurs on 9 May, triggering a severe inter-national economic depression in Europe and the U.S. that lasts beyond 1879.

The first jeans are manufactured.


Bell's telephone

Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for an invention called the telephone.



The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon.


Founded by Charles Cabot Jackson and Laurence Curtis, both members of the Boston Stock Exchange, the firm of Jackson & Curtis opens ("to conduct a business of brokerage and banking") at 24 Congress Street, Boston.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) in his laboratory in 1904

Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric light bulb (it lasts 13½ hours before burning out).


Paine, Webber & Co. (Boston), Bankers & Brokers

Founded by William A. Paine and Wallace C. Webber, Paine & Webber opens for business at 48 Congress Street, Boston with total capital of USD 24,089.31, contributed in roughly equal amounts by each of the partners. The firm later (Link to 2000) merges with Jackson & Curtis.

Electric elevator

Werner von Siemens builds the first electric elevator.


Construction of the Gotthard railway tunnel

Basler Bankverein is financially and personally linked with the construction of the Gotthard railway.

Toggenburger Bank opens a fulltime branch in St. Gallen. From then on, the center of activities of the bank gradually shifts to that city in Eastern Switzerland.


Opening of the Gotthard railway

The 15km long Gotthard railway tunnel in the Alps is opened.

Opening of the Gotthard railway

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) in his laboratory in 1901

The Edison Electronic Illuminating Company is founded by inventor Thomas Alva Edison.

A steam turbine supplies New York City with electric power for the first time.

Alexander Graham Bell builds the first dictaphone, a wax cylinder dictation machine.


Carl Friedrich Benz

Carl Friedrich Benz with family

Carl Friedrich Benz invents the gasoline-powered car.


Bank in Winterthur participates as a partner in the company for building the Simplon tunnel. Construction of the first tube of this alpine railway tunnel commences in 1898.


Zurich Bahnhofstrasse

As the 19th century comes to a close, the population of the city of Zurich reaches 150,000, becoming Switzerland's largest city.

The first Coca-Cola is created and sold by Civil War veteran John Pemberton.


Zürcher Bankverein

Zurich Bahnhofstrasse with Zürcher Bankverein building (on right hand side)

The Zürcher Bankverein (Link to 1896), with a initial share capital of 8 million CHF and located at Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, is established by three banks that had co-founded the Basler Bankverein, the Bank in Winterthur and two German Banks.

World Fair in Paris

The main symbol of the Paris World Fair is the newly opened Eiffel Tower.


Tabulating machine

Tabulating machine (undated image)

Herman Hollerith invents the punch card tabulating machine.

Charles H. Paine pays USD 36,000 for a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.


Swiss Army knife

The first soldier knife of the Swiss Armed Forces, 1891

Karl Elsener registers his invention of the Swiss Army knife.


G.A. Phillips & Co

Sidney James Perry (Philips & Drew senior partner in the 1950s)

G.A. Phillips & Co is founded, later becoming Phillips & Drew (Link to 1986) in 1905.


Mergers ...

SBC in St. Gallen

A successful year of mergers and acquisitions: First, Basler Bankverein and Zürcher Bankverein merge followed, in turn, by their merger with Schweizerische Unionbank in Sankt Gallen. With the subsequent acquisition of Basler Depositen-Bank in 1897 the bank changes its name to Schweizerischer Bankverein (Swiss Bank Corporation - SBC, Société de Banque Suisses - SBS, Società di Banca Svizzera - SBS).

SBC offices in St. Gallen

...and acquisitions

Hydroelectric power station

Basler Handelsbank and Siemens Halske AG Berlin establish Schweizerische Gesellschaft für elektrische Industrie (INDELEC) in Basel with a share capital of 10 million CHF. The entity finances new hydroelectric power stations in Switzerland (Wynau – Berne), Europe and Mexico. It also drives the electrification of major towns, including Paris, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Riga, Lodz and Baku.

Paine Webber & Co.'s first underwriting success establishes the firm as a copper and mining specialist.

First Olympic Games of the modern era.


Dow Jones

Charles Dow and Edward Jones, cofounded the Dow Jones & Company in 1882

The Wall Street Journal starts publishing the Dow Jones industrial and rail stock averages on 1 January. It includes 20 rail and 12 industrial companies.


Felix Hoffmann produces a stable form of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).

Wilhelm Röntgen discovers a type of radiation later known as X-rays.