Skip to main content
5 little-known facts about Ernest Solvay (1)

5 little-known facts about Ernest Solvay

Share to

Not your typical scientist

Ernest Solvay founded the company that bears his name in 1863, exactly 160 years ago! And so all year long, we’re celebrating the hyperactive scientist and entrepreneur, well known as an inventor, a patron of sciences and a promoter of social progress. But, wait, here are a few other things about him you probably didn’t know…

Ernest Solvay Young



1. He hadn’t planned to found Solvay

Ernest Solvay wanted to sell his chemical process, but his original patent was invalidated, so he had to create his own company to exploit it.





2. He was fired by his own uncle

His first job was at a gasworks owned by his uncle, but he spent most of his time working on personal projects. His uncle eventually fired him, giving him free time to launch Solvay & Cie.

5 little-known facts about Ernest Solvay (6)


3. He opposed the concept of inheritance

With political views combining liberalism and socialism, he declared that “society is obligated to strive for social justice or else it will die”, and supported total equality for all.

Ernest Solvay and his family


Pierre et Marie Curie



4. He supported Marie Curie’s research

A major patron of sciences, he was curious about radioactivity and financed a series of Marie Curie’s experiments. Check this out!



Ernest Solvay climbing in the Matterhorn in Switzerland


5. The highest refuge in the Alps bears his name

An enthusiastic mountain climber, he financed the construction of the Solvay refuge on the Matterhorn in Switzerland.





After 160 years, Ernest Solvay’s scientific, industrial and social legacy lives on, and we are proud to uphold it!