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Johann Friedrich Weskott
Born in 1821 as the son of natural yarn dyer Engelbert Weskott, Johann Friedrich Weskott came from one of the oldest families in the Barmen district of Wuppertal. He was one of the founding fathers of the Bayer Group, together with the businessman Friedrich Bayer.
At the age of 16 he followed in his father's footsteps and learned the dyer trade. Within just a few years he became the owner of a dyeing business himself - and the quality of his products soon made him financially independent.
His friendship with Friedrich Bayer prompted the pair to found their own trading company, which was entered into the commercial register in 1863 under the name "Friedr. Bayer et comp." By this time, Weskott had already been widowed and had married a second time. His children Laura and Fritz from his first marriage with Karoline Lüttringhaus were later to contribute to the development of the family business, as did Friedrich Bayer's children. Through Bayer, Weskott met his second wife Lisette Kramer, whom he married in 1859 and with whom he had two more children.
In the rapidly flourishing "Compagnie" — which had already grown to 50 employees by 1867 — Weskott mainly assumed technical responsibility, while Bayer managed the business aspects. Even before the company was officially founded, the two partners had been involved in the production and testing of new synthetic dyestuffs. The traditional natural dyestuffs produced at Weskott's facilities were ultimately exceeded in efficiency by the synthetic dyestuff aniline, and a short time later fuchsine, and soon completely replaced by them. With these synthetic dyestuffs began the commercial success story of the Bayer Group.
Three years after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71, Weskott felt the effects of the changing times. Following years of flourishing production, capacity expansions and steadily growing sales, the chemical industry was experiencing fierce competition, which in turn affected Weskott's health. His now chronic lung problems were further exacerbated. In October 1876, after cutting short a stay at a health resort, Friedrich Weskott died aged 55.