Oskar Troplowitz

1863  - 27.4.1918


   Many people recognise the characteristic dark blue boxes with white letters on and the Nivea cream inside. However few people know that its inventor - Oskar Troplowitz - was the citizen of Gliwice.

   The Troplowitz family was well known in Gliwice. They ran the big scale wine trade which soon made them rich. They owned a wine house on the Gliwice Market Square and Oskar’s father Ludwik ran a construction company. In 1861 he built a new synagogue designed by Salomon Lubowski, which was burned down in 1938 during the so-called „Crystal Night”.       

   Oskar was one of the two children of Ludwik Troplowitz and Agnes Mankiewicz. He was born in 1863. He took over his father’s company although it was not what he desired. By choice, he became a pharmacist like his uncle Gustaw Mankiewicz. He studied pharmacy in Wroc³aw. In 1890 he bought the Carl Beiersdorf cosmetic factory.  Its products still bore the name of Beiersdorf although the production technique was completely new. The new owner modernised the management and mechanised the production processes. 

   He invented toothpaste and the so-called leukoplaster - the first self-adhesive plaster. However, the Nivea cream and soap were the biggest inventions of Troplowitz. The name „Nivea” derives form the Latin word meaning „snow-white”. The works to produce this most famous creme lasted long and were ended successfully only after Oskar bought from the doctor Izaak Lifschutz the patent for Eurecyt – a specific emulsion which gave the cream its proper consistency.

   Oskar Troplowitz was a good entrepreneur. He also cared for his employees.

   He visited Gliwice for the last time in 1918 and on 27 April of the same year he died of a stroke on a Hamburg street. Hamburg Monuments Protection Office considered the Tropolowitz and Mankiewicz family grave a culture statue, the maintenance of which „is one of the public interests”.





Gliwice 2005