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Anniversary Story – Part I

75 Years SIGRIST: Part I:

The vision of a better working world

The story of the SIGRIST-PHOTOMETER AG company began in 1946 in Ennetbürgen when the company's founder, Dr. Ing. Willy Sigrist (21/3/1907 – 1/8/1988) developed a turbidity measuring instrument for continuously monitoring beer filtration.

Turbidity in beer has always been considered a quality feature. However, it could not be measured during the brewing process since, at that time, photometric measurements were only available for individual samples in the laboratory. Thus, the only possible quality control during the process was done visually with the trained eye of the brewer. But when one day the founder of today's Filtrox AG in St. Gallen approached Dr. Sigrist with an order, this changed radically.

First on-line turbidity measuring instrument for continuously monitoring beer filtration

He asked him to develop an on-line measuring device to accurately measure the effectiveness of his high-quality filters in beer filtration. It was not only their joint years of study at the Polytechnic University in Zurich that connected the two - it was also their commitment to a high-quality, reliable and precise product.

Das erste Photometer
The first photometer from 1946 by SIGRIST-PHOTOMETER AG - a turbidity measuring instrument for continuously monitoring beer filtration.

Dr. Sigrist developed such a device, to the complete satisfaction of Filtrox, and thus laid the foundation for the innovative oscillating mirror technology and at the same time for a 75-year success story - that of SIGRIST-PHOTOMETER AG.

Dr. Ing. Willy Sigrist founded the company in 1949: The vision of a better working world

In 1949, three years after the delivery of the first photometer, he and his wife Paula founded the company SIGRIST-PHOTOMETER AG (then Dr. Ing. W. Sigrist) and began with the production of photometers in series.

And this company foundation was something to behold. It was the vision of a better working world in which both people and products should take centre stage. In other words, a company that not only benefits the entrepreneur himself but is also aimed at the benefit of all those involved.

Firmengebäude und Gründerehepaar Dr. Willy Sigrist mit seiner Frau Paula
Left: The first company building of SIGRIST-PHOTOMETER AG Right: The founding couple Dr. Willy Sigrist and his wife Paula

These principles were well received by the staff. It made extraordinary performance possible and thus the self-financed and healthy growth of the business in the years to come. These founding values were reflected particularly clearly in the two areas of production and assembly.

Production – With manual skill and quality standards

(Excerpt from an interview with Rudolf Christen, head of production since 1959) It has always been SIGRIST's uppermost objective to achieve the highest level of quality and precision in its products. This was one of the reasons why, even back then, the individual parts were largely manufactured in-house. In the prime of mechanics, this amounted to approximately 10,000 different parts, in batch sizes of 1 to 1,000 pieces.

Assembly – With sensitive dexterity and a good eye

(Excerpt from an interview with Imelda Christen, head of assembly since 1955) In the assembly department, the approximately 10,000 individual parts were put together to form a finished photometer. Mainly by women because of their superior dexterity and the possibility of part-time work. Work was assigned based on the skills and wishes of the female employees.

Ansichten verschiedener Einzelteile
Images of various individual parts and instruments e.g. for the exact measurement and mixing of calibrating solutions.

In particular with regard to its female employees, the company showed flexibility and took their needs into consideration. In this way, mothers as well as female employees whose families worked in agriculture were able to adapt their attendance times to family circumstances. In this way, the possibility of part-time work was created at SIGRIST in a very pragmatic way as early as the 1960s (!). This is an impressive example of how the social ideas of the founder were incorporated into the company's everyday life.

To this day, the ideas and values of the company's founder continue to influence the company. For 75 years now, SIGRIST-PHOTOMETER has been synonymous with the high quality and precision of its products as well as with trust-based relationships with customers, partners and employees.

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René Gehri
Water, Beverages & Food, Industrial Processes
Pascal Schärer
Traffic & Environment