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Orell Fussli – nearly 500 years of tradition

Orell Fussli's corporate history began when Christoph Froschauer came to Zurich from the town of Altoetting in Bavaria. In 1519, Zurich's city council made him a citizen of Zurich and commissioned various printing jobs from him. Since that time, the company that Froschauer founded has advanced and steadily enhanced the art of printing by pioneering new processes and techniques in the field of graphic arts, and specifically in printing and security technology. Today Orell Fussli – as the company has been known since the end of the 19th century – is a leader in security technology and security printing.


The roots
Orell Fussli's history is very closely linked to the general history of printing, publishing and culture in Zurich. After its foundation in 1519 by Christoph Froschauer, the printer gained a reputation well beyond the boundaries of the Confederation. Over the centuries, the company has changed hands several times, but always remained in the possession of major Zurich families such as the Bodmers, Rahns, Heideggers, Fusslis, Gessners and Orells.


Printing, publishing, bookselling
The printing trade, and later the publishing and bookselling businesses, were run successfully and were able to expand.

In 1770, for instance, the Zurich citizens Orell, Gessner and Fussli founded a publishing house that produced German-language editions of Shakespeare’s plays and the works of Homer.

In 1780 the first edition of Switzerland's leading newspaper the "Neue Zuercher Zeitung" was published. And in 1868 the newspaper business was spun off into a separate limited company.


Pioneering achievements in print technology and security printing
During the political turmoil of the 19th century, the company's activities shifted away from publishing and towards printing. In 1827 it printed the first securities and in 1843 the first postage stamps in Europe – the second stamp series in the world.

The company achieved a triumph of printing technology in 1880 when it developed and introduced ten-colour photochromic printing. From 1890 onwards the products made using this technique were successfully distributed around the world by Photoglob AG, which still belongs to the group.

Another milestone was reached when the company started printing banknotes for the Swiss National Bank in 1911. The era of copperplate printing technology began in 1923 with the company's move from the city center to its current site.

After a strategic realignment in 1992, the security printing works was re-equipped to become a state-of-the-art banknote printing facility. The company's job printing was sold to Zurichsee-Medien and the cartography division was spun off in a management buy-out.

In July 2002, the Orell Fussli Group acquired a majority holding of 76% in Atlantic Zeiser Group AG based in Emmingen, Baden-Wurttemberg and the other 24% in 2005. Atlantic Zeiser employs 350 people and maintains production sites in Germany, the UK and the USA. Atlantic Zeiser augments Orell Fussli Security Printing's range of security technology services in an ideal way, and provides a worldwide presence in the major industrial markets.