The Bratislava factory, which produces chocolate confectionery, was founded in the 19th century, specifically in 1896, when the German confectionery manufacturer Stollwerck decided to expand to the east and established its branch in Bratislava. The initial capital was 300,000 marks and the factory was named “The Imperial Austro-Hungarian Court Chocolate Factory of Stollwerck Brothers”. In the first years after the start of production the Bratislava factory produced milk caramels so-called “štolverky”, which were sold in vending machines at all stops of the Austro-Hungarian railways. In addition to milk caramels, marzipan and peppermint confectionery were also produced here at that time. In the first fifteen years of the 20th century, manual labor dominated the factory’s production process. The average daily performance of the worker in the packaging plant was 25 kg of packaged caramels. Production was gradually expanding to include chocolate and desserts.
In the period of the first Czechoslovak Republic, candy boxes with patriotic names such as “Kriváň” or “Detvan” were produced, but the best-selling item in this segment is the candy box “I like you here”. A kilo of this dessert costs 62.50 crowns for wholesalers, the final price for the consumer has climbed to 85 crowns. Between 1930 and 1940, the operation of the factory was reduced due to unfavorable economic conditions. In 1937, however, the company again made a profit. Year-round production in the pre-war years represents 2,300 tons of products with an employment of 700 to 800 workers. The assortment is becoming more and more varied and people enjoy new sweet joys – chocolate, cocoa, marzipan, waffles, candied fruit and other confectionery.
During the World War II, the factory focuses on the production of fruit jams, marmalades and artificial honey. There is also a modern cannery, processing 500 wagons of fruit a year. The production of chocolate confectionery is limited. In December 1944, the factory was destroyed by air raids, and in April 1945, the plant became the prey of the Red Army, whose three-month stay, together with the crossing of the front, meant more damage to the plant than war bombing. Fortunately, as early as July 1945, the Red Army handed over the factory to the state. Based on Beneš’s decrees, the entire plant is confiscated.
As part of the centralization of the economy, machines are transferred to it from other confiscated companies, especially from the Czech border. The first operation of the cannery is resumed. The Bratislava plant becomes part of the company “Slovak plants for chocolate, confectionery and fruit products”. The cannery has been moved to Rimavská Sobota and the plant remains purely confectionery. In 1958, the Bratislava plant was renamed Figaro n. p. and is merged with the Figaro plants in Trnava and Piešťany. In 1963, Figaro then became part of the colossus of the Czechoslovak Chocolate Factory, which unites all Czechoslovak confectionery factories. In the following years, Figaro processed cocoa beans, produced semi-finished products, chocolate, confectionery and fat toppings. The products include both chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery, demanding collections, hollow figures, chewing gum and wafers are no longer produced. Product packaging excels in its variety. There are motifs of castles, fairy tales, cartoon characters, cars, but also unforgettable dolls Lena, Dana and Jana, which can be cut out of the packaging and changed into paper clothes. In 1985, the annual production exceeds 18 thousand tons of products. Figaro Bratislava has a 36% share in the nationwide production of cocoa and a 20% share in bar chocolates. Compared to the annual pre-war production, this is almost an eightfold increase.
Figaro, a joint-stock company, was founded in 1992, with Jacobs Suchard acquiring 67% of the shares, merging with Kraft General Foods Europe in 1993.
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