Phone: +41 62 7856000
Fax: +41 62 7944252
Department/ Name Address
Wernli AG Weberei & Verbandstoff-Fabrik Tel.: +41 (0)62 785 60 00, Fax: +41 (0)62 794 42 52
Number of employees 50-99
Sales volume 10-49 Mio US $
Export content > 75%
Year of foundation 1932
Area of business Commodities and Consumer Goods for Surgeries and Hospitals
Language: German Language: English Company Profile
History in Aarau
Like numerous other people, the founding father Jakob WernliJakob and Anna Wernli lost his employment after World War I. Food was in short supply, which applied for open jobs as well. And thus he decided at the age of 48 to set up his own business and to use his knowledge he had gathered in the textile field at an earlier point in time. With his last money he bought a wooden loom for narrow fabrics which he operated in a living room in Fricktal, producing his first bandages. His own flat in AarauFlat in Aarau was used for the production of the necessary raw materials, and the yarn was stored in the cellar. One problem, namely that of space, had been solved, but another was created at the same time, namely that of transport. There were only few cars, which were unaffordable for Wernli in any case. Thus, he had to use his bicycle to transport the material from Aarau to Fricktal, several times a day. Many years later he was able to buy a second-hand vehicle. At the outbreak of World War II the young company got into dire straits. Foreign countries and the Swiss army demanded urgently needed bandaging material, which Wernli AG could hardly produce for lack of raw materials. The amount of cotton wool needed could not be obtained, and moreover the quality was miserable. In addition, one son of Jakob Wernli was called up into the active service and that from one day to another no petrol was available for the valuable car. Consequently Jakob Wernli got his old bicycle out of the cellar and tried to handle the daily work by two-wheel transport again. And somehow he managed to build up a new existence despite the unfavourable conditions, and thus could give the family and the company a lasting subsistence. In an act of desperation they laid the foundation for a company which today employs a staff of 40 achieving a turnover of about CHF 8 million.
Move to Rothrist
In 1941, Jakob Wernli moved all looms into the old cotton mill, Old cotton millwhich stood and still stands in Rothrist/Gländ. At the time the works were empty, and had been so for several months presumably because the building was run-down, the turbine for the hydroelectric power was worn, the walls were in need of repair, and in the surrounding area conifers and bushes of a gardener grew wild, who had managed a tree nursery in earlier times. In the building the remainders of overclothes fabrics were found and there were even distinct traces of an old chicken farm.
Three storey cotton millAll these were signs of long past and thwarted dreams. Although not an endless number but anyhow a very long chain of unsuccessful entrepreneurs, who had sought their luck in Gländ, but who had not found it, had stopped dreaming. In most cases the reason for their failure was a lack of commercial skills. But, often enough there were other reasons. A disastrous fire, for example, destroyed the three-storey cotton mill only a few years after the first industrialist had erected the building in Gländ. Or in 1885, a flood destroyed the shell of a building at the site of today’s residential building,Residential building and in 1919 the former owner Gottlieb Dätwyler drowned during high water when a weir broke and buried him under the debris.
Jakob Wernli had more luck, even if now and then thereFlood were floods and his commercial skill was put to the test often. He lives his dream and finally could had it on to his children and grandchildren. However, when he took over the real estate in 1941, the time of production and earning money had not come yet. Instead vegetable and grain were cultivated; fruit was dried and stored in the cellar. Most of the few staff members did not operate the looms but helped on the fields. This state continued until the second World War was over, and the bandage production could be started seriously for the first time in a new building.
The first success
Apart from the silent witnesses, the old buildings left over, only little reminds of this past. A long time ago already the small loom mill turned into a modern operation which is selling its products in all perceivable variants all over the world. Our products became known on a grander Coloured bandagesscale for the first time in 1978 during a medical fair in Zurich where we presented our newly developed coloured bandages. At the beginning the reactions were very measured. The competitors, who also presented their products during the fair, smiled at the idea and laughed off this innovation off as a naïve fashion fad and illusion. However, the success did come. Today, coloured bandages have spread all over the world and have long since entered the competitive assortments.