The general partnership "Friedr. Bayer et comp." was founded on August 1, 1863 in Barmen - now a district of the city of Wuppertal - by dye salesman Friedrich Bayer (1825–1880) and master dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott (1821–1876). The objective of the company was the manufacturing and selling of synthetic dyestuffs.
The production of these dyes from coal-tar derivatives had only been invented a few years previously, opening up a new field of business for the still-young chemical industry. The target market was the textile industry, which at the time was growing rapidly in the wake of industrialization. The natural dyes that had been used until then were scarce and expensive. New inventions, such as the synthesis of the red dye alizarin, and the strong demand for tar dyes led to a boom in new foundings. Many dye factories were built at this time, but only innovative companies with their own research facilities and the ability to exploit opportunities on the international market managed to survive over the long term. Bayer was one of these companies.
The financial foundation for expansion was laid in 1881, when Bayer was transformed into a joint stock company called "Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co." The company's impressive growth in its early years is evident from the size of the workforce, which grew from three in 1863 to more than 300 in 1881.