The Homburg-Murmann Global Database of Synthetic Dye Firms and Plants

Period: 1848 until 1914



News: This database is now publicly available for qualified researchers to look up information on firms and plants. Contact J. Peter Murmann or Ernst Homburg for access.
Database  Description:   The database covers all firms in the global synthetic dye industry that left some public trace from 1848 to 1914. The database has two parts covering two levels of analyses. One on on firms and one on plants. The reasons for making two different database is that firms often go out of business yet plants continue to exist under new ownerships.  The firm and plant database are linked in the sense that for every plant that exists in a particular year is linked to a firm that owns that plant. For every firm we made one record for every year that a firms existed. There are around 7000 firm-year records in the database, covering approximately 740 distinct legal firms. There are around 8000 plant-year records in the database, covering approximately 600 distinct plants.

Database  Type and Access:   The database is made with the program FileMaker, which is the easiest database problem available on  the market. Researchers can email us for access to the Web-based Version of the database, which allows for easy finding of information on particular firms and plants using a browser.  One of us, JP Murmann has written about the advantages of using FileMaker for historical research. View Article

Database  Handbook:   We have developed a handbook that explains the sources of our data and how we made coding decisions.  Download Handbook

How to Cite Database:  
Ernst Homburg and Johann Peter Murmann. 2016. Global Database of Synthetic Dye Firms and Plants, 1848-1914, <>.

Publications Using Database:   We have have published a book and several papers from the database. View Publication List

Photo Gallery: See some pictures from the synthetic dye industry and product labels from all over the world here.

Graphical Picture of FileMaker Firm Database:

 Firm Database 1
Firm Database 2

 Graphical Picture of FileMaker Plant Database:

Variable List of Firm Database: (Note that abbreviations are written out in full in plant database variable list below)

Ali only
Ali Sum Dom
Ali Sum For
Ali Sum Total
AniD only
AniD Sum Dom
AniD Sum For
AniD Sum Total
AniD with Ali
AzD Sum Dom
AzD Sum For
AzD Sum Total
Back to IBC
Back to OBC
Change Made
Company Capital
Corporate ID#
Corporate Year Code
corrected by
Country Year ID#
done by
Double Count Firms
Dubious Firm
Dubious Firm Reason
Dyeing Works
Dyes Only
Economic Unit ID
End Date
F Sum Dom
F Sum For
F Sum Total
FC Sum Dom
FC Sum For
FC Sum Total
Fine Chemicals
Firm Entry Year
Firm Exit Year
Firm ID #
Firm ID # Copy
Firm Name
Firm Year Code
Firm Year Code  Copy
Forward to Pho
Founding Date
IBC Sum Dom
IBC Sum For
IBC Sum Total
IBC to Photo
Ind Sum Dom
Ind Sum For
Ind Sum Total
Int AniD Ali
Int only
Int Sum Dom
Int Sum For
Int Sum Total
Int with Aliz
Int with AniD
Legal Status
M Sum Dom
M Sum For
M Sum Total
Name Previous Activity
Nap Sum Dom
Nap Sum For
Nap Sum Total
Natural Dye Works
ND Sum Dom
ND Sum For
ND Sum Total
No Direct Sales to Endusers
Number of Chemists
Number of Workers
OB Sum Dom
OB Sum For
OB Sum Total
Other Previous Activity
Pha Sum Dom
Pha Sum For
Pha Sum Total
PhD Sum Dom
PhD Sum For
PhD Sum Total
Pho Sum Dom
Pho Sum For
Pho Sum Total
Predominantly Trader
Print Works
Res Sum Dom
Res Sum For
Res Sum Total
Sales Maximum
Sales Mininum
Sales Offices
Specification Dyeing Works
Specification Dyetrade
Specification Fine Chemicals
Specification Natural Dye Making
Specification Other Trade
Specification Pharmacy
Specification Print Works
Specification Tar Destillation
Sul Sum Dom
Sul Sum For
Sul Sum Total
Tar Destillation
Total Staff
Total Workforce
Trading of Dyes
Trading of Other Products

Variable List of Plant Database: Alizarine Dyes
Alizarine Dyes tons
Alizarine Dyes value
Aniline Dyes
Aniline Dyes tons
Aniline Dyes value
Azo Dyes
Azo Dyes tons
Azo Dyes value
Change Made
Corporate ID#
corrected by
Country Year ID#
done by
Double Count Plants
Dubious Plant
Dubious Plant Reason
Fine Chemicals
Fine Chemicals tons
Fine Chemicals value
Firm ID#
Firm Year Code
Firm Year Code  Copy
Fuchsine tons
Fuchsine value
Indigo tons
Indigo value
Inorganic Basic Chemicals
Inorganic Basic Chemicals tons
InorganicBasicChemicals value
Intermediates tons
Intermediates value
Murexide tons
Murexide value
Naphtaline dyes
Natural Dyes
Natural Dyes tons
Natural Dyes value
Number of workers
Organic Basic Chemicals
Organic Basic Chemicals tons
Organic Basic Chemicals value
Pharmaceuticals tons
Pharmaceuticals value
Phenol Dyes
Phenol Dyes tons
Phenol Dyes value
Photochemicals tons
Photochemicals value
Plant Entry Year
Plant Exit Year
Plant ID#
Resorsine dyes Copy
Sulpher Dyes
Sulpher Dyes tons
Sulpher Dyes value