The history of Von Roll

The more than 200-year history of Von Roll goes back to the early 19th century and represents an impressive record of innovation and technological leadership.

1803

Gebrüder Dürholz & Co. create the company “Eisenwerke der Handelsgesellschaft“ in Solothurn, Switzerland.

1810

The company is sold to Ludwig von Roll & Cie, owner of numerous iron production facilities.

1823

Birth of the Von Roll Corporation by the Solothurn patrician Franz Peter Leo Ludwig Freiherr Von Roll von Emmenholz.

1836

Construction of first sheet mill driven by high demand for iron in the era of industrialization.

1842

Construction of a blast furnace in Bern.

1846

Commissions for a new blast furnace and a second sheet mill in Choindez.

1848

First participation of Von Roll in the industrial exhibition held in Bern.

1857

Von Roll participation in these exhibitions brings two gold medals.

1860

The arrival of the railway enables transport of iron.

1866

The foundry in Olten starts production.
A blast furnace in Klus is commissioned.

1873

Participation in the World Exhibition in Vienna with presentation of the iron product range.

1880

Purchase of the largest blast furnace competitor in the region of Undervelier.
Increased production capacity with new molding machines.

1893

The company reaches 2,153 employees.

1903

Founding of Schweizerische Isola-Werke AG (SIB) in Breitenbach, Switzerland, by Albert Borer.
First global provider of mica products.

1909

SIB builds an additional factory for lacquer and an administrative building.

1917

Von Roll joins the newly established Torfgenossenschaft.
Collaboration with Bremen-based Braunkohlen AG.

1918

Von Roll participates in the Research Association for the Utilization of Swiss Mineral Deposits.
SIB starts production of enamel-insulated copper wire.

1919

SIB establishes a sister factory in France named Usines Diélectriques Delle (UDD).

1920

Von Roll builds its own steel mill, allowing production of large-scale forging for the machine and automobile industry.

1922

Death of Albert Borer.
Josef Borer, his brother, takes over the post of chairman of the board and representative of SIB.

1926

SIB builds a further sister factory, Isola SpA, in Milan, Italy, for mica-based insulation materials.

1930

Expansion of SIB product offerings, including wire and cable insulated with cotton, silk and paper.

1933

Von Roll cooperates with Berlin-based Bamag-Meguin AG.
A research association is founded in Zurich.

1934

SIB founds the “Aismalibar” company in Barcelona, Spain, for the production of winding wire.

1936

Founding of the sister factory “Safi-Conel SpA” in Milan for the production of enamel-insulated winding wire.

1938

Expansion of production facilities and installation of new treatment equipment.
A new material, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), that is ideally suited for cable insulation comes on the market.
The Soflex brand is born.

1940

SIB begins production of the ceramic insulator steatite.

1941

Von Roll production of extracted iron ore reaches a peak of 312,000 tons.

1945

Construction of a modern high-voltage laboratory for testing in Breitenbach.

1946

Neutral Switzerland benefits from the financial rebound and expansion of the world economy.
SIB and all its production facilities become part of the international Isola Group.
Isola Group creates Elektro-Finanz AG, a holding company.

1947

Isola Group founds the Società Italo-Svizzera Metalli Iniettati (SIMI) company in Milan, Italy.

1949

French scientist Jacques Bardet discovers a water-based mica treatment for creating mica pulp.

1950

Production of mica paper in a newly built factory in Valdoie, France.
Continued development due to an increasing need for iron in the country.

1951

Isola Group creates the company’s first sales offices in the USA due to the worldwide success of mica paper.

1960

Implementation of the new customs tariff for the domestic iron industry.

1962

The integration of the Ludwig von Roll Zurich results in seven subsidiaries.

1966

Von Roll begins to restructure the company into product groups and departments:

  • Steel products
  • Cast products
  • Pipes
  • Machines and materials-handling technology
  • Environmental technology


1978

US-based Essex Group acquires Schweizerische Isola-Werke AG.

1980

Purchase of the Monteforno steelworks in Tessin and its subsidiaries.

1988

Von Roll acquires Schweizerische Isola-Werke AG from US-based Essex Group.

1995

Von Roll acquires the site in Schenectady, New York.

1998

Creation of Von Roll India Pvt Ltd.

2003

Creation of the Electrical and Industrial business units.
Schweizerische Isola-Werke AG and associated companies celebrate their 100th anniversary.

Additional acquisitions

  • Dielektra, Germany
  • Mica paper production facility in Brazil from Brown Boveri
  • Von Roll Isola Calidus in South Africa, a distributor of insulation systems
  • Ferrozell, composite manufacturer in Augsburg, Germany
  • A minority share in Austral Von Roll Isola Inc., USA
  • Increase shares in the winding wire plants Pearl Insulations Ltd. and Pearl Metal Products, Bangalore Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, India

Creation of joint ventures

  • Von Roll Isola Asia Pte Ltd in Singapore
  • Isola Composites in  Düren, Germany


2005

Schweizerische Isola-Werke AG is renamed Von Roll Schweiz AG.

2007

Purchase of John C. Dolph Company, Monmouth junction, NJ, USA

2008

New acquisitions

  • Shenzhen Mica, China
  • Elco Transformers, Israel


2013

New acquisitions

  • Albesiano Sisa Vernici Srl, Trofarello, Italy.  Liquids business


2014

Sale of Von Roll Transformers, Israel (former Elco Transformers)