UBS Virtual Museum

1862

Bank in Winterthur

Bank in Winterthur is the historical starting point of today’s UBS. In 1912, Bank in Winterthur merged with Toggenburger Bank to form Union Bank of Switzerland.

Bank in Winterthur building

The painting shows Bank in Winterthur on Untere Museumsstrasse, today's Stadthausstrasse, in Winterthur where UBS still maintains an office today....

The bank moved into the baroque building, which it had built in 1869, when it left the rented rooms in "Zu den drei Blumen" that it had outgrown.

Union Bank of Switzerland 1962, p. 35, The bank building on Untere Museumstrasse 1867, J. Ziegler

Bank in Winterthur building

The first known photograph of Bank in Winterthur from 1894 shows the building prior to reconstruction in 1904.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Bank in Winterthur building

This photograph shows the building as of 1904 with visible changes to its balconies, windows and the now missing "BANK" lettering on the sidewalk in front of the main entrance.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Lobby

View of teller windows:

  • Securities
  • Depository and coupons
  • Bills of exchange and cash bonds

Picture from around 1910.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Vault vestibule

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Customer booths

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Depository

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Accounts payable

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Switchboard

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Securities control

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Accounting department

Picture from 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

1862

Warehouse

There was a push to transform Winterthur into Switzerland’s leading cargo handling center while Bank in Winterthur was being founded. The bank was therefore tasked with managing a warehouse built by the Winterthur Chamber of Commerce (“Kaufmännische Gesellschaft Winterthur”).

Warehouse

The original intention was only to build the warehouse....

In a letter written on March 15, 1860, Henri Rieter (member of the board of the Winterthur Chamber of Commerce) suggested not only that a goods warehouse be operated but also that a current or future credit institution should grant advances on the goods stored in the warehouse on favorable terms. That institution would handle the warehousing and lending business. The board of the Chamber of Commerce thus set up an eight-member "Commission for the Foundation of an Entrepôt and Banking Company".

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historisches Archiv, Fotograf unbekannt

Warehouse

The warehouse belonging to Bank in Winterthur and, from 1912, to Union Bank of Switzerland is located right by the Winterthur train station and has direct rail access....

Union Bank of Switzerland stopped operating the warehouse in 1962. The former warehouse still exists and is now used mainly for cultural and commercial purposes.

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Warehouse management

The warehouse general manager at a standing desk.

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Warehouse freight forwarding office

Picture from around 1920.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

1863

Toggenburger Bank

Toggenburger Bank, founded in Lichtensteig in Eastern Switzerland in 1863, is the second predecessor of Union Bank of Switzerland. It did business as a commercial and currency-issuing bank; it also focused on domestic mortgage and savings business. Toggenburger Bank was one of the few banks authorized to issue banknotes until the Swiss National Bank was founded in 1906.

Toggenburger Bank building

Toggenburger Bank’s first location was at Lichtensteig’s old post office on "Goldenen Boden"....

It relocated to a house on Untertor in 1865 and then built a new building at the site of an old church on Rathausplatz in 1872.

The photograph shows Toggenburger Bank’s Rathausplatz location right after the merger to form Union Bank of Switzerland.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer Otto Rietmann

Toggenburger Bank building

Photograph of Union Bank of Switzerland in Lichtensteig around 1914.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer Otto Rietmann

Teller windows

Picture from 1918.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer Otto Rietmann

Director’s office

Picture from around 1918.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer: Otto Rietmann

President’s office

Picture from around 1918.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer Otto Rietmann

1864

Eidgenössische Bank

Eidgenössische Bank was established in Switzerland’s capital, Berne, in 1864. Between 1864 and 1882, it issued its own banknotes that could be redeemed at branches and partner banks in and outside Switzerland. Eidgenössische Bank was taken over by Union Bank of Switzerland in 1945.

Eidgenössische Bank building

The first offices of Eidgenössische Bank were located at "Haus zum hintern Bären" on Schauplatzgasse in Berne from 1864 to 1867....

The bank moved into its own building at Bubenbergplatz 3 in 1867.

Bubenbergplatz 3, photograph taken around 1900.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Eidgenössische Bank banknote

The bank issued its own banknotes in denominations of CHF 50, CHF 100 and CHF 500 between 1864 and 1882....

The image shows a photograph of a copper reprint of the CHF 50 note dated April 2, 1879.

UBS AG, Historical Archive

Eidgenössische Bank banknote

Detail of the drawing on the left.

UBS AG, Historical Archive

Eidgenössische Bank banknote

Detail of the drawing on the right.

UBS AG, Historical Archive

Eidgenössische Bank banknote

Detail of the original printing plate for the reverse side of the banknote.

UBS AG, Historical Archive

1872

Basler Bankverein

The merger of Basler Bankverein with Zürcher Bankverein in 1896 and then with Basler Depositen-Bank one year later created Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) in 1897. SBC and Union Bank of Switzerland merged to form UBS in 1998.

Basler Bankverein’s first office

Representatives of Frankfurter Bankverein and the private bankers collaborating within the Basler Bank-Verein syndicate signed the contract establishing Basler Bankverein on November 23, 1871....

Basler Bankverein moved into its first business premises in 1872 at "Haus zum Wilhelm Tell" at Aeschenvorstadt 5 in Basel.

Bauer, Hans/Swiss Bank Corporation (eds.) 1972, p. 59, photographer unknown

Basler Bankverein’s second domicile

The photograph shows Aeschenplatz in Basel, where Basler Bankverein set up its second domicile in 1884 and then retained it when it became Swiss Bank Corporation in 1897 (corner building on the left).

Picture from around 1900.

Bauer, Hans/Swiss Bank Corporation (eds.) 1972, p. 92, photographer Höflinger, Basel

1880

Paine Webber

Paine & Webber was founded by William A. Paine and Wallace G. Webber in Boston, USA, in 1880. A partnership was formed with Charles H. Paine in 1881 and renamed Paine, Webber & Co. Paine Webber, as the company was called after 1984. At the time, that it was acquired by UBS (in 2000), it had grown to become the fourth largest US private bank with over 8,500 client advisors and a network of 385 locations.

Second office as Paine Webber & Co

Paine & Webber's first domicile was at 48 Congress Street in Boston which was just large enough to accommodate Mr. Paine, Mr. Webber and two employees. ...

To gain more space, Paine, Webber & Co moved to 53 Devonshire Street a year later.

Figure: Paine, Webber & Co, 53 Devonshire Street, circa 1890.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Paine, Webber & Co in Milwaukee

Paine, Webber & Co's first Milwaukee branch opened in 1902 and was modest, like all the other early branches....

It consisted of two telegraphers and an errand boy. The office was located in the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company Building.

After making a few detours, Paine, Webber & Co moved into the second floor of the Milwaukee Mechanics Insurance Company Building at 367-373 Broadway (pictured here) in 1926.

Picture from around 1926.

Paine, Webber & Company 1930, p. 40, photographer unknown

Paine, Webber & Co at the Shawmut Bank Building

Paine, Webber & Co moved into the second floor of the new Shawmut Bank building at 82 Devonshire Street in Boston in 1907....

It began to take over the upper floor, along with additional rooms in the Monks Building next door, in 1927. The brokerage and investment bank employed 170 people at that time.

Picture from around 1920.

Paine, Webber & Company 1930, p. 18, photographer unknown

Paine, Webber & Co’s first branch in New York

Paine, Webber & Co initially moved into an office on the first floor of 25 Broad Street in 1916. It began needing more space in 1928 and so moved to the seventeenth and eighteenth floors.

Picture from around 1920.

Paine, Webber & Company 1930, p. 20, photographer unknown

Paine, Webber & Co in Chicago

Chicago experienced dramatic economic growth in the 1920s. Paine, Webber & Co therefore opened a branch in the Pure Oil Building at 35 East Wacker Drive in 1929.

Picture from around 1929.

Paine, Webber & Company 1930, p. 24, photographer unknown

1896

Banca Svizzera Americana

Banca Svizzera Americana was founded in 1896 with its headquarters in Locarno and satellite offices in Lugano and San Francisco. Banca Svizzera Americana merged with Union Bank of Switzerland in 1920, allowing the latter to gain a foothold in Italian-speaking Switzerland.

Banca Svizzera Americana’s main building in Locarno

Banca Svizzera Americana was founded in 1896 thanks to the initiative of Henry Brunner from Rheinfelden....

The bank’s mission was to encourage saving among “emigrazione California”, i.e., people from Switzerland’s Ticino region who had emigrated to California, and to make it easier for emigrants from the valleys around Locarno to send money back home.

The picture from around 1918 shows the Palazzo at the Piazza Grande in Locarno. It was built around 1900 by the architect Alessandro Ghezzi.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, Banca Svizzera Americana Locarno around 1918, p. 4, Photographer unknown

Lobby

The institution initially specialized in bill discounting and the opening of overdraft facilities while the San Francisco office focused on mortgage lending.

Picture from around 1918.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, Banca Svizzera Americana Locarno around 1918, p. 5, photographer unknown

Office

Picture from around 1918.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, Banca Svizzera Americana Locarno around 1918, p. 6, photographer unknown

Safe deposit boxes

Picture from around 1918.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, Banca Svizzera Americana Locarno around 1918, p. 8, photographer unknown

Banca Svizzera Americana office in Lugano

Piazza Riforma in Lugano, image from around 1918.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, Banca Svizzera Americana Locarno around 1918, p. 9, photographer unknown

1898

Branch of Swiss Bank Corporation in London

Swiss Bank Corporation opened its first branch in London under the name Swiss Bankverein in 1898. This was the first branch of a Swiss bank in London, then the center of world trade and finance. During World War I, the bank had to deny several newspaper rumors that it was under German control. This was one of the reasons why the London branch changed its name from Swiss Bankverein to Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) in 1917.

First branch in London

Swiss Bank Corporation only had branches in Basel, Zurich and St. Gallen at the time....

Looking back, it seems to have been a bold move to establish an office over 600 kilometers away when travel and communication options were far more limited than they are today.

1898–1901: 40 Threadneedle Street with 16 employees.

1901–1902: 11 Copthall Avenue with 30 employees.

1902–1925: 43 Lothbury with 225 employees (as of 1914).

The photograph shows the building at 43 Lothbury. Picture from around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown;UBS AG, Historical Archive, The 3 Keys 8-1973, p. 2

Banking Hall

Westminster Bank’s management always used to sign out the monthly paychecks at 2:55 p.m., just five minutes before the banks closed....

That meant many employees were seen running to the nearest bank, Swiss Bankverein at 43 Lothbury, to cash their checks the same day.

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown;UBS AG, Historical Archive, 1898 Centenary 1998, p. 9

Gallery above the banking hall

43 Lothbury ran out of space to hold its growing workforce in only a few years....

It added space by building a gallery above the banking hall.

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown;UBS AG, Historical Archive, 1898 Centenary 1998, p. 11

Accounting

Letters, bookkeeping, account management and securities trading were all written with pen and ink at the beginning of the 20th century....

The employees wrote out all these things in neat handwriting, usually at standing desks.

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown;UBS AG, Historical Archive, 1898 Centenary 1998, p. 29

Email servers of yesteryear

Correspondence was written with copying ink....

The papers were then copied by pressing them into books using copy paper. Typewriters and copying machines were introduced in 1910.

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown;UBS AG, Historical Archive, 1898 Centenary 1998, p. 29

Operator

SBC’s own telephone exchange was used primarily for in-house calls; calls could then be transferred to an outside exchange but were initially limited to a few important local institutions such as other banks or post offices....

Phone calls to the parent company in Basel were not possible until 1928 with the establishment of the Rugby Radio Station (short-wave transmitter) in England.

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown;Mathys, Rolf. Swiss-Phones, online

Cable Department

Unlike the telephone network, the telegraph network had been developed several decades earlier and thus enabled direct communications with the Swiss headquarters and the world from the founding date of SBC....

Picture of 43 Lothbury, June 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknownWikipedia. Telegraphy, online

Clerical services

This photo probably shows an office in the reception area....

The clerk in the foreground is writing a report in the "Cablegram" form. Issue 648 of the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" (circa 1908) is in the shelf on the left. At the very back, a gofer is waiting by the safe for his next errand.

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Back office: securities dividends, coupons

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Front office: securities dividends, coupons

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Teatime

Picture of 43 Lothbury around 1908.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Swiss Bank Corporation – West End Branch

The Board of Directors reported in 1911 that SBC would become more involved in the lucrative travel and tourist business in the London tourist zone....

As a result, the West End Branch was opened at 11c Regent Street right next to the Swiss Railways Office in 1912.

Picture of 11c Regent Street Branch circa 1912.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown;UBS AG, Historical Archive, 1898 Centenary 1998, p. 11

West End Branch – general office

Picture of 11c Regent Street Branch circa 1912.

Picture of 11c Regent Street BranchUBS AG, Historical Archive, 1898 Centenary 1998, p. 29, photographer unknown

1899

Swiss Bank Corporation moves to Paradeplatz

In the same year that Basler Bankverein merged with Zürcher Bankverein (1886), the bank obtained land at Paradeplatz in Zurich, located directly opposite the headquarters of its competitor, Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (predecessor to today's Credit Suisse). After two years of construction using plans by architect Charles Mewès, the bank, by then called “Swiss Bank Corporation” (SBC), moved into the building in 1899. The monumental building lasted 57 years and was replaced in 1956 by a larger complex between Talstrasse, Talacker and Bärengasse.

SBC moves to Paradeplatz

SBC employed over 600 people (as of 1936) just at its Paradeplatz headquarters.

The Grossbank provided universal services such as:...

  • deposit department for savers and account management for passive and active wealth management
  • safe deposit boxes
  • "salon des étrangers": cashing letters of credit and travelers’ checks, exchanging money with a travel agency and a correspondence address for travelers.
  • industrial bonds (issues), if necessary in consortium with other banks
  • commercial loans
  • documentary credits for importing goods, etc.
  • export business, thanks to interbank relationships, documentary credits and clearing
  • securities exchange (e.g., bond and share purchases/sales)
  • bill portfolio department: turning money that would be received later into money that is received immediately
  • foreign exchange department for payment transactions
  • international network of correspondent banks
  • commercial letter of credit with secured worldwide cash withdrawal within the correspondent network
  • financial information department: an information office with financial information on thousands of industrial and commercial companies in and outside Switzerland

Photo from around 1930.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown;UBS, Historical Archive, tour of a large bank around 1936

Domed roof

From 1900, the dome was adorned by two-meter high statues made of Carrara marble, named "Le Travailleur", "La Fortune", "L'Epargne" and "Le Monnayeur"....

After the building was demolished in 1956, the statues were relocated to Herblingen Castle.

Photo from around 1923.

"Le Travailleur", "Le Monnayeur" sculptor Bösch, Zurich"La Fortune", "L'Epragne", sculptor Adolf Meyer, ZollikonUBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Main entrance, SBC Paradeplatz

The statues "Commerce" and "Industry" stand guard at the SBC entrance.

Photo from around 1930.

Statues "Commerce" and "Industry", sculptor Ferdinand Faivre, ParisUBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Lobby with Helvetia statue

The 3.9-meter-high bronze Helvetia statue, created by the sculptor Richard Kissling, towers above the lobby on the Estrade....

In 1959, as the building was being demolished, SBC management sold this two-ton artwork to Walter Bechtler who placed it on the premises of his company, LUWA AG, in Albisrieden. After being lent to Galerie Littmann in Basel in 1991 for a Jean Tinguely exhibition and an appearance at EXPOFEDERAL in front of the Federal Palace in Berne, Helvetia was finally relocated to its current home in Zellwegerpark in Uster.

Photo from around 1923.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, The 3 Keys 9/91, pp. 10-11zellwegerpark, art, richard-kissling, onlineUBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Helvetia with Mercury

Helvetia is illuminated by the glass dome roof and takes on an almost sacred appearance due to the ceiling paintings that surround it....

The small figure standing on the globe in Helvetia’s hand is the Roman god Mercury, representing trade, commerce, wealth and profit.

Photo from around 1923.

Ceiling painting by Richard Thal & Antonio De Grada, ZurichUBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Staircase

The entrance to the right-hand staircase after entering the SBC Paradeplatz lobby.

Photo from around 1923.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Reception and customer booths

Photo from around 1923.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Steel vault

Photo from around 1923.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Safe room

The safe room for bank customers included 418 safes in four different sizes.

Photo from around 1923.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Safe deposit boxes

Photo from around 1923.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

1912

Merger of Toggenburger Bank and the Bank in Winterthur to form Union Bank of Switzerland

Toggenburger Bank focused on business in Eastern Switzerland and St. Gallen specializing in the embroidery industry. However, that meant it was also affected by crises in this industry. The Bank in Winterthur had a broad-based business and ties to various industries. However, its size and capital base increasingly prevented it from catching up with the banks it was competing with. It therefore decided to increase its capital stock and business and customer base by merging with Toggenburger Bank.

St. Gallen, one of the administrative headquarters of Union Bank of Switzerland

The administrative headquarters remained in Winterthur and St. Gallen following the merger that produced Union Bank of Switzerland....

The company's domiciles were the branches in Zurich and Lichtensteig and three branch offices in Rorschach, Rapperswil and Wil-Flawil.

Picture from around 1912.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, Union Bank of Switzerland (eds.) 1862 1912 1962, p. 75UBS AG, Historical Archive, Toggenburger Bank 1863-1912, photographer unknown

Company name

The two institutions agreed on the name “Union Bank of Switzerland, formerly Bank in Winterthur and Toggenburger Bank,” which was appropriate for a large bank. ...

The addendum "formerly Bank in Winterthur and Toggenburger Bank" disappeared after Union Bank of Switzerland’s 1919 merger with Aargauische Creditanstalt.

Picture from around 1912.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, Union Bank of Switzerland (eds.) 1862 1912 1962, p. 75UBS AG, Historical Archive, Toggenburger Bank 1863-1912, photographer unknown

Zurich head office of Union Bank of Switzerland

In contrast to Bank in Winterthur, Toggenburger Bank had an extensive network of branches in St. Gallen, Lichtensteig, Rorschach, Rapperswil and Wil-Flawil....

Bank in Winterthur changed its previous policy in 1906 with the opening of its first office in Zurich at Bahnhofstrasse 44 that quickly became the company’s primary place of business. This positioned the institution to participate in Zurich’s rapid economic upswing and thus gave it direct access to the Zurich stock exchange. Prior to this, all securities trading had to go through stockbrokers.

Picture from around 1912.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, Union Bank of Switzerland (eds.) 1862 1912 1962, pp. 56, 75 UBS AG, Historical Archive, H. and E. Bucher, Photographic Institute, Zurich

Entrance to Bank in Winterthur, Bahnhofstrasse 44, Zurich

Picture from around 1910.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, H. and E. Bucher, Photographic Institute, Zurich

Safe deposit box room

Picture from around 1906.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown

Detailed view of safe deposit box room

The sheet tagged to the wall contains the caption “Bank in Winterthur, Zurich”, demonstrating that the photo shows the safe deposit box room at Bahnhofstrasse 44.

Picture from around 1906.

UBS AG, Historical Archive, photographer unknown