Who we are

1865 / Foundation of Badischen Anilin- & Sodafabrik

The Englishman, Henry William Perkin, coincidentally discovers the first coal tar dye, Mauveine, and thus the possibility to use coal tar as a raw material for synthetic dyes in 1856. Friedrich Engelhorn (1821–1902, goldsmith and businessman, and chairman of the BASF Board of Executive Directors from 1865 to 1883), owner of a coal gas company in Mannheim, very quickly recognizes the opportunities for the coal tar his company produced. In 1861, he starts producing the red dyestuff fuchsine and aniline, the basic substance gained from coal tar. But he has a groundbreaking idea: a single company for the entire manufacturing process from raw and auxiliary materials, to the precursors and intermediate products, right through to the dyes themselves. On April 6, 1865, he founds the stock corporation “Badische Anilin- & Sodafabrik” in Mannheim. After attempts fail to purchase premises on the Baden side of the Rhine in Mannheim, the plants are built on the opposite river bank in Ludwigshafen in the Palatinate region, which at that time is part of the Kingdom of Bavaria.