Our heritage

As a provider of high-quality and innovative offerings in medical compression therapy, we are proud to look back at a successful track record of 160 years. For today and tomorrow, we commit ourselves, through continuous development and innovation, to solutions that help people feel their best. Every day.

Our heritage

2021 to date

2021: Win at the German Brand Award


SIGVARIS GROUP is one of the winners of the German Brand Award 2021. For the global Sigvaris product brand relaunch, the company receives a "Special Mention" for outstanding brand work in the category "Excellence in Brand Strategy and Creation" in the Health & Pharmaceuticals sector. This award is an acknowledgement of the fact the Sigvaris brand puts customers at the center of all its activities, and it inspires to consistently pursue this path.



As of June, Dr. Suk-Woo Ha is SIGVARIS GROUP's new Group CEO. Dr. Ha brings along almost 30 years of experience and passion in the healthcare and medical device industry. Dr. Ha joins the company from Philips AG, where he held the position of the CEO Switzerland. Prior to Philips, Dr. Ha was CEO of Promedical AG, CEO of the Packaging and Medical divisions of Cellpack AG, and held various leadership positions at the IVF Hartmann AG as well as the R&D senior positions at JOMED AG and Boston Scientific Europe.

Dr. Suk-Woo Ha

The opening of the Oedema Institute by SIGVARIS GROUP in Melbourne (Victoria), Australia, marks a milestone in SIGVARIS GROUP’s mission to help people with edema. The purpose of the Oedema Institute is to serve the community as a highly specialized hub for the treatment of lymphedema and lipedema. Practitioners at the Oedema Institute strive for excellence in quality care. By combining their wealth of experience with the latest & most advanced lymphedema treatment technology, they can deliver the highest standard of care to all patients.

One company, one world: As of beginning of 2021, the global rebranding of the company and product brands is rolled out in all markets and on all websites. Wherever in the world an individual gets in touch with Sigvaris products, physically or digitally, they will experience a unique and consistent brand world.
Sigvaris products with a globally consistent look and feel for the first time in history.

At the end of this demanding year, SIGVARIS GROUP is proud to be featured in Swiss Life’s latest campaign in Switzerland, «The 156 year-old start-up». The number one provider of comprehensive life and pensions and financial solutions in the country has been working with SIGVARIS GROUP as a business customer for more than 100 years. The two companies share the same goal: Helping people being independent and live their lives in a self-determined way.

Swiss Life launches a print and social media campaign in Switzerland with their oldest business customer SIGVARIS GROUP.

Since SIGVARIS GROUP is not able to meet key opinion leaders in person on fairs due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, a new format is developed. The «Medical Online Hub» (MOH) presented by SIGVARIS GROUP uses state-of-the-art digital technologies to showcase the latest vascular challenges with Covid-19 and the thrombotic effect of the disease, tapping into the knowledge of world class professionals.

The first edition takes part in May 2021, and is followed by two more with different topics in the same year. Several markets pick up the initiative to launch regional MOH webinars. The new format will be further developed, kept alive also after the pandemic and expanded into its own MOH brand with independent branding in 2022.

Medical Online Hub (MOH) presented by SIGVARIS GROUP.

As of February, the Covid-19 pandemic hits the western world. The global lockdowns also affect SIGVARIS GROUP, but we remained operational and continue supporting our customers, intensely focusing on employee health and safety. But the company is quickly reflecting on its innovation DNA: The production plants in Poland, France, Brazil, and USA start manufacturing high-quality hygiene masks to help protecting people in their everyday lives – customers’ as well employees’.

Some SIGVARIS GROUP markets launch innovative telehealth formats, and all of them commit to do everything in their power to support customers, consumers, other stakeholders and, of course, their own workforce. Meanwhile, the digital transformation of SIGVARIS GROUP that has already been initiated in the years before receives a tremendous boost.

The Covid-19 pandemic also changes the ways of working.


SIGVARIS GROUP owners Stefan und Christian Ganzoni have been awarded as “Entrepreneurs Of the Year 2019” in the category Family Business in Switzerland. 

The Entrepreneur Of The Year™ is highly respected award recognizing the achievements of entrepreneurs. The program is run by EY, currently spread to over 70 countries, and was organized for the 22nd time in Switzerland in current year. A total of 45 Swiss entrepreneurs participated in the 2019 competition. These 45 companies represent the categories  “Services/Trade”,  “Emerging Entrepreneur”,  “Family Business”, and  “Industry/High-tech/Life Sciences”.

The entrepreneurs went through an intensive process with interviews and company visits, leading up to the announcing and awarding the winners for each of the four categories.

The new segmentation and refreshed appearance of the product brand for medical compression products, Sigvaris, will also make the new orientation of SIGVARIS GROUP visible and tangible for consumers from the middle of the year. The newly designed product packs arrive at the points of sale in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and France. With the motto «Live your life. Be yourself.», Sigvaris products enable their wearers to live a self-determined, active life, staying true to their own style. Without compromise.

A portion of the shares will be transferred to the next generation – a big milestone with the goal of keeping the company in the family in the long-term.

Heritage image shares to next generation

As of January 2019, the name SIGVARIS GROUP stands for the company all over the globe, and it clearly differentiates from the product brands. This structure also allows the integration of future brands to diversify and complement the companys offer even further. From now on, all solutions will be centered around patient and consumer needs. 


Thanks to solid growth, particularly in the North and South American market, 2018 has been an exceptionally successful year for the SIGVARIS GROUP: the company will be able to record historic record sales. 

2018 is an exceptionally successful year for the SIGVARIS group.

After a good 2 years of planning and construction, the factory expansion in Peachtree City is officially inaugurated in March 2017. The doubling of the production capacity now allows all operational processes at the North America headquarters to be brought under one roof and provides the space needed for further growth. 

From left to right: Andreas Schönenberger, CEO SIGVARIS GROUP, Stefan Ganzoni, owner, Christian Ganzoni, owner, Scot Dubé, President & CEO North America.

BiaCare is known as innovation leader in the development, production and marketing of short stretch velcro wraps as well as other compression solutions for patients suffering from venous and lymphatic disorders. With the acquisition of BiaCare, SIGVARIS further strengthens its position in a rapidly growing market. BiaCare is renowned for its high medical standards and enjoys the trust of many physicians and therapists. BiaCare’s novel range of compression products designed to treat lymphedema, lipedema, chronic venous insufficiency and other complex edemas immediately broadens the SIGVARIS offering.  

2016 Biacare CompreFlex LITE
BiaCare CompreFLEX-LITE

The full acquisition of the Färberei Kronbühl AG dye works by SIGVARIS AG as a minority stakeholder is an important and positive step. It allows optimization of future processes and creates synergies. Both companies will continue to operate independently on the market; the interfaces will be minimized and optimized. As a result, SIGVARIS AG gains greater flexibility and more room for maneuver in controlling important work steps even more efficiently. 

2016 Combany building of newly acquired Faerberei Kronbuehl in Switzerland
Färberei Kronbühl, Wittenbach, Switzerland

Early 2016, the SIGVARIS group is launching a new site in Silea, Treviso, thereby reinforcing its market position in Italy. With the new location, the company is creating another high-growth platform in Europe with which it can develop new markets as a competent partner, establish customer relationships and grow with an innovative product portfolio.

2016 New company building of Sigvaris Italy in Silea

The Board of Directors of the SIGVARIS Holding AG appoints Andreas Schönenberger, present head of the country group Central, Northern and Eastern Europe based in St. Gallen, as new CEO of the group. Andreas Schönenberger succeeds Urs Toedtli as of June 1st.

Andreas Schönenberger studied Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Basle and graduated as lic.rer.pol. in 1988 and has many years of management experience and extensive know-how of the health care business. He worked successfully as CEO of SIGVARIS AG in St. Gallen since June 2014. In his function he was responsible for the markets Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe as well as Australia and the Middle and Far East.

Prior to joining SIGVARIS, Andreas Schönenberger worked for various pharmaceutical and consumer health care companies such as Sanofi, Bayer and Roche national and international (Spain, Germany and the USA). 

2016 Andreas Schönenberger, CEO SIGVARIS GROUP
Andreas Schönenberger, *1962

With the acquisition of Pani Teresa Medica, SIGVARIS strengthens its position in a rapidly growing market. Pani Teresa Medica is renowned for its high medical standards and enjoys the trust of many customers in Eastern Europe. As part of its portfolio expansion, SIGVARIS continues to focus on traditional local products which are firmly established in their markets. The application of joint know-how provides the company with the platform for growth potential in the Eastern European market which allows it to exploit new markets as a competent partner. 

2015 Company building of Pani Teresa in Poland
Pani Teresa Medica, Poland

The Winterthur-based group counts 1400 employees worldwide and incorporates its own quality-guaranteed production plants in Switzerland, France, Brazil and the US as well as subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, UK, Canada, China, Australia and Mexico. They supply around 70 countries globally. 

2014 Logo for the 150-year celebration of Sigvaris company
150 years anniversary logo: Every day a step further.

The new corporate design, as well as all subsidiaries’ name change to SIGVARIS in 2011, is a success. The newly launched stocking lines WELL BEING and SPORTS sell well. It seems that it is now possible to cut the Gordian knot of diversification.
The site in Shanghai, China, founded in 2012, is developing accordingly. Plans are in place for new distribution companies in Australia and Mexico. 

2013 Sigvaris employee at the UIP world meeting in Boston
From stocking manufacturer to medical service supplier: SIGVARIS at the International Union of Phlebology (UIP) World Meeting in Boston (2013).

In 1994, the SIGVARIS group has produced 2.83 million pairs of stockings, employs 690 staff, and net sales have reached 85.4 million Swiss francs. Now, 18 years later, SIGVARIS group produces 7.2 million pairs of stockings, had 1’365 employees, and net sales reached 221 million Swiss francs. 
The newly emerging markets in Brazil and the USA are very dynamic and still have lots of potential. Medical compression stockings are responsible for nine out of ten Swiss francs made in sales. 

2012 Erich Krieg medal for Stefan Ganzoni
High honors: Erich-Krieg medal for Stefan Ganzoni (2010).

As a long-term executive member of the globally oriented Sefar Group, a Swiss family-owned company founded in 1833, Urs H. Toedtli, thanks to his analytical and intercultural skills, is armoured perfectly for his most important job at SIGVARIS, i.e. strengthening the group functions.
His most challenging job includes merging company areas with different directions and philosophies and to provide them with a new strategic alignment. He succeeds brilliantly.
With the handover of group management to the experienced manager Urs Toedtli, the “congruence between ownership and operational management” that has been practised since the company was founded, ends. Not least in order to give the group new momentum.
In 2011, the high-tech covering department in Andrézieux, France, is opened. 

2010 Urs Toedtli, first extrafamilial CEO of Sigvaris
Urs H. Toedtli, *1962.


To quote an excerpt from the annual report: “If the basic conditions do not change, we can continue as before.”
With over 60 percent, France is the motor of the Ganzoni Group, which entails risks. The growth in other markets is therefore supposed to be sped up significantly, to achieve more balance within five years.
Also in 2008, the French customer service and logistics takes up work at the new center in Huningue, France. The most important challenge of the future was to “leave the shadow of standardized wooden legs”.
In 2009, the product line SIGVARIS SPORTS is launched. 

2008 Sigvaris logistics center in Huningue
Logistics center in Huningue, France, opened in 2008.

To quote an excerpt from the annual report: “If the basic conditions do not change, we can continue as before.”
With over 60 percent, France is the motor of the Ganzoni Group, which entails risks. The growth in other markets is therefore supposed to be sped up significantly, to achieve more balance within five years.
Also in 2008, the French customer service and logistics takes up work at the new center in Huningue, France. The most important challenge of the future was to “leave the shadow of standardized wooden legs”.
In 2009, the product line SIGVARIS SPORTS is launched.

2004 Chinese woman representing China as an emerging market for Sigvaris
Challenge: future market China

Group management is reorganized and positioned centrally in the newly founded SIGVARIS Management AG in Winterthur, Switzerland. A new motto is supposed to provide orientation. Objectives include lowering the manufacturing costs by 20 percent and investments from capital resources.
A last attempt to save the newly launched support stocking line Ariosa, by renaming it SIGVARIS Wellness, fails. Distribution is discontinued. Traditional compression and support stockings did well in almost all markets. 

2003 Sigvaris factory building in Brasil
New factory building in Brazil (2003).

70 percent of the customers receive their SIGVARIS product within a day. Just a few years ago, it was barely 50 percent. With the first group-wide marketing plan and the traveler sock Traven being introduced in several markets simultaneously, the new millennium starts with a bang. 

2000 Sigvaris products for Russia and France
Future market Russia. (Compression stocking as WELL BEING product)

The consolidated accounts are a milestone, revealing a completely healthy company with a proprietary capital quota of 69.6 percent and assets surpassing the value of long-term loans tenfold.
Growing competition is leaving its mark. In Germany, balance sheet restructuring is required. Switzerland remains a happy island with a SIGVARIS market share of well over 50 percent, considerably surpassing that of 1993.

2001 Sigvaris France product Diaphane
Diaphane is a great success in France (2001).

SIGVARIS Inc. has been moderately successful since 1988. To react quicker on the market, it is decided to build a factory in Peachtree City near Atlanta, Georgia that will open its doors in 1997. Main objective: profits. Long-term objective: products and concepts developed in the USA might become important in Europe’s “pillar markets”.
Expansion also in Brazil: a new factory opens in São Paulo. Several requests of large company groups addressing the “small niche player” Ganzoni are rejected. Competition increases on all markets.

1996 Sigvaris knitting hall in Peachtree
Knitting hall of the new building in Peachtree City, Georgia, USA.

To make better use of synergies, the two-company-culture as practiced for decades is abandoned. The first international management meeting is an expression of this new understanding. The new group management presents a 25-pages strategy paper. There is quite some room for optimization in the field of production but hardly any potential in the marketing area. In the «main business medical», the countries are summarized in country groups for the first time ever. 

1995 Sigvaris products Samson and 503
The 500 series represents SIGVARIS; support stockings complete the range.

With the image brochure “Insight”, published in six languages, the group is represented as a global, family-owned company with a new concept. Motto: “Wir von SIGVARIS sind da.” (SIGVARIS is here for you). While St.Gallen is able to maintain its “admittedly high price”, Ganzoni experiences in France its first decline in sales after 27 years of continuous growth. 

1993 Sigvaris compression product for athletes
Compression for athletes, new market for SIGVARIS.

After he enters Ganzoni St. Gallen in 1992, he introduces the SAP system into the European sections of the company. Until 2000, he is responsible for parts of Ganzoni St. Gallen and for SIGVARIS do Brasil.
Starting in 2002, the consistent entrepreneur is responsible for the country group led from St.Gallen. At the end of 2008, he retreats from operational activities, and at the beginning of 2011, sells his shares to Stefan Ganzoni and Christian Ganzoni.
In 1991, trends towards isolation in the run-up to the vote on Switzerland's accession to the European Economic Area (EEA) are worrying in St. Gallen. “If we remain in splendid isolation, soon nothing worth marveling over will be left with the exception of our alps bathed in morning gold and evening glow”, is an excerpt taken from the annual report. Business booms in France and only the sports product line under the brand TEF remains considerably below expectations.

1991 Caspar Ganzoni
Caspar Ganzoni-Rechsteiner (*1959) works at Ganzoni and SIGVARIS Group until 2008.


After training and schooling as a textile engineer, Stefan Ganzoni starts at Ganzoni Saint-Louis in 1986. He will be CEO of SIGVARIS France from 1993–1996.
Starting in 1994, he manages the SIGVARIS group together with his nephews Christian and Caspar Ganzoni. At the end of 2010, he passes on his operative responsibility to Urs Toedtli. Today, Stefan Ganzoni is a shareholder in the family-owned company and a board member – and he loves music.
 In 1989, an expert committee comes into existence in the European Union, also including the EFTA-states. Its function is to harmonize the standards for compression stockings. This raises fears of decreased sales, boosted by stagnating sales in almost all importing countries (France and Switzerland, one million pairs each).
Also in 1989, the operational building in St. Gallen is expanded. The 125th anniversary of the company celebrated with anniversary celebrations and the publication of the company history.

1989 Stefan Ganzoni
Stefan Ganzoni-Stähli (*1948) works at Ganzoni Saint-Louis and SIGVARIS Group until 2010.

After intense training in the USA and Brazil, amongst others, the business economist starts working for the company in 1984. In 1993, he takes over operational management from his father Werner Ganzoni-Schwarzenbach. He helps build the group structure and its internationalization.
In 2002, he becomes responsible for industrial projects and human resources on group level at SIGVARIS Management AG, Winterthur. This shareholder is gifted in languages and has been a member of the board since 2011, concerning himself with special tasks.
In 1988, Ganzoni takes over all the T. E. F. shares; the company is integrated into the group. In 1989, an administration unit is added to the factory in Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert built in 1986; in 1991, covering is centralized.
Business is doing great. Within five years, Ganzoni France has doubled its profit to 100 million Francs; in St.Gallen, turnover increases by roughly 20 percent within a year. 92 percent of the products are compression and support stockings.
Overseas, SIGVARIS Inc. in Bradford, Connecticut, USA and SIGVARIS Corp. Saint-Laurent, Québec, Canada, are founded in 1988.

1988 Christian Ganzoni
Christian Ganzoni-Wettmer (*1955) works at Ganzoni St. Gallen and Sigvaris Group until 2010

Ganzoni Saint-Louis starts cooperating with Tricotage Élastique du Forez (T. E. F.) in Saint-Rambert. The French family-owned company with 67 years of experience contributes its know-how, Ganzoni contributes its strong brand Sigvaris and an excellent marketing competence. Ganzoni acquires 50 percent of the T. E. F. shares, with the option to increase. This cooperation lays the foundation for later success in France.
The same year marks the beginning of building the production company Sigvaris do Brasil in São Paulo.

1988 Sigvaris factory building in Sao Paulo
Sigvaris do Brasil in São Paulo, 1988.

At the same time, St. Gallen draws level with the same product under the brand names Samson and Delilah. Later on, anti-embolism stockings follow, as well as knee caps and elastic sports bandages from the French production. After a few years, however, sales of the same is discontinued due to a lack of demand. It is one of many attempts to distribute the risk with a broader program. 

1988 Sigvaris factory building in Brandford
Sigvaris Inc. in Branford, USA (1988).

90 percent of the production of St. Gallen is exported to 40 countries – a great challenge, which requires the setup of independent companies in the more important markets.
Sigvaris Vienna is founded in 1971; then in 1975, the chief agency located in Memmingen, Germany, since 1961 is upgraded to distribution company. Currency fluctuations create problems for both markets, leading to red numbers despite an increase in turnover. 

1986 TEF factory in Saint-Just
T. E. F. factory building in Saint-Just (1986).

On the occasion of the 50-year anniversary, the president of the chamber of commerce in Mulhouse praises the company as an exemplary family-owned company. Great plans are in place; the company wants to expand their export significantly. But within 15 years, export will decrease from 20 to 5 percent, all the while the domestic market increases continuously. The “ceintures chauffantes” in particular, items which sold well in North Africa, were not as high in demand. 

1973 Day nursery for Sigvaris emplyee's children
Sigvaris day nursery in St. Gallen

After years of “unbearably little space”, a functional and expandable new building is erected in St.Gallen. During the following decades, the building will be expanded several times.

1972 Sigvaris building St. Gallen
New company building for St. Gallen

Sigvaris is the brand name mentioned most often in the respective literature. Turnover had increased sixfold; 200’000 pairs of compression stockings are manufactured. Half of them are sold in the Federal Republic of Germany, one fourth in Switzerland, the rest all over the world. The number of employees has increased from 43 to 103. Since 1968, the stockings are hemmed and checked by a specialized company in Hundwil AR, Switzerland. 

1973 2CV Sigvaris labelled company car
Company car, 1973.


He enters the company as a junior partner and textile specialist and remains there until 1960. 1973, shortly after his father’s deadly accident, he returns. He turns the export-oriented company into an internationally active corporation. The talented piano player is a consistent and persistent entrepreneur. 

1969 Werner Ganzoni
Werner Ganzoni-Schwarzenbach (1926–2002) works at Ganzoni St. Gallen until 1993.

Within a short period of time, Sigvaris has become market leader. The problems of the band weaving department still producing red figures, however, remain. After difficult negotiations with the owner families, the company changes based on the model of St.Gallen. Apart from compression stockings, the only item that remains in the program are the well accepted “ceintures chauffantes” (heating belts); by 1970, production of the same will have increased from 20’000 to 100’000. 

1966 Sigvaris and Finella products
Sigvaris and Finela: Two brands are conquering the world.

On its 100thanniversary, Ganzoni is once again a specialized, export-oriented company. The following excerpt is taken from the anniversary brochure: “…finally achieved the breakthrough, which has been pursued for so long, and achieved an always creative, but now also successful economic program”. In Saint-Louis, new products are added to the assortment, but the biggest changes are yet to come. 

1964 Japanese leaflet for Sigvaris products
9 of 10 francs are earned with compression stockings

After a business assessment, it becomes apparent that Ganzoni has no chance of survival with a wide, constantly changing assortment. The only solution is to specialize in medical compression stockings.
Production radically changes, the elastic band weaving department is sold to a competitor and moved to Gossau SG, Switzerland. Most of the employees are taken over. The number of Ganzoni employees drops from 79 to 30. 

1962 Luca circular knitting machine
In St.Gallen, Sigvaris stockings are manufactured on Lucas circular knitting machines (1965).

During an international physicians’ convention in 1961, a latex-based medical compression stocking is presented under the brand name Sigvaris. The compression stocking has been in development since 1959, in cooperation with phlebologist Karl Sigg. It offers a continuously decreasing compression, starting at the ankle, going up toward the thigh. In Finela Forma, launched later on, only synthetic yarns are used. 

1962 Billboard with product assortment
Billboard with product assortment.

Despite the close financial ties with St.Gallen, the principle remains to treat each other like independent companies. High investments into machinery don’t lead to profits. In 1959, the production of wide fabrics in St.Gallen is discontinued. This after the corset industry as the most important customer is following new fashion trends. “I do not foresee us celebrating our 100-year anniversary”, writes Werner Ganzoni. 

1962 Sigvaris lettering
1962, Werner Ganzoni creates the SIGVARIS lettering.

Stagnant exports, decreased sales in Switzerland and a wide product range that includes shoe rubber, starting rope and rubber stockings, make Werner Ganzoni wonder whether the company is still taken seriously.
A loss of 90’000 Francs in 1955 can only be counteracted by a loan provided by shareholders. The production site in Winterthur is abandoned. It is hoped that the remaining production can be continued “without concession to a modern management, as is now requested”. 

1951 Ganzoni Samsolatex rubber products
Samsolatex stocking (left, 1951): precursor of the SIGVARIS rubber stocking.

The oldest of Paul Ganzoni-Bidermann’s four children enters the company in 1950. The textile expert acquires management knowledge at the Centre des Jeunes Patrons (CJP). From 1967 onwards, he carries the sole responsibility.
The takeover of Tricotage Élastique du Forez (T. E. F.) in 1988 is a crucial step to the expansion of SIGVARIS in France. The heart of this music lover and violin player beats to the sound of French savoir vivre.
In 1947, Haggenhalde is inaugurated. The residential area near the factory’s premises in St.Gallen has been established in cooperation with a non-profit housing association. Ganzoni purchases six single family row houses to be rented out to staff, a model following examples from Saint-Louis and Winterthur.

1947 Peter Ganzoni
Peter Ganzoni-Morel (1925–2020) works at Ganzoni Saint-Louis until 1993.

The problem that has started already in 1944 soon becomes existential. It is solved in 1946 following the Washington Treaty between Switzerland and the USA. Only one year later, Ganzoni Elastic reports record sales. Hope is sprouting. But all this improvement is based on the need for catching up — and was short-lived. The situation is similar in Saint-Louis in 1947/1948; after a brief boom, the tide changes. 

1946 Ganzoni booth at the Foire de Lyon
Exhibition booth at the “Foire de Lyon” 1946.

Resources become increasingly sparse. The 1941 annual report states that the “manufacturing plan follows the rubber yarns”. A second welfare foundation for the staff in St.Gallen is initiated in 1942. A workers’ committee decides on the use of the funds. Gradually, the rubber content in the products has to be reduced. 

1948 Housing for Ganzoni employees: Haggenhalde in St. Gallen

Affordable housing for employees: residential area Haggenhalde St.Gallen (1948).


In May of 1940, shortly after the German invasion, the site resumes production and the staff becomes “entourage”. Contact with Switzerland is virtually lost.
A branch is opened in Lyon, which holds up surprisingly well, although the company is officially classified as "maison juive" (jewish house) by the Vichy government. 

1943 Ganzoni advertisment
Advertisement with elastic knitting «Ganzonitex» (1943).

Since 1928, exports have decreased by 85 percent. Ganzoni Elastic is also affected. The domestic market is not able to compensate for these deficiencies, particularly since the margins are cut in half.
The hope for an export impulse due to the inflation of the Swiss Franc by 30 percent in September is not met. Ganzoni survives only because of land sales and financial aid from the owner family.

1941 Group picture Ganzoni employees in St. Gallen
Ganzoni employees in St. Gallen (1941)

The French government under Léon Blum introduced the 40-hour week and a decreed increase of wages of ten percent lead to the introduction of a two-shift operation and a massive increase in production to maintain profits while margins keep declining. It is a tightrope walk that pays off in the end. Just prior to WWII, the company in Saint-Louis is on solid ground. 

1937 Letterheads of Ganzoni company
Letterheads from 1939 (top) and 1944 (bottom).

Wages have to be cut in St.Gallen and Saint-Louis. New products such as panties, braided belts for men, starting rope for gliders and cushioning devices for the aircraft industry were expected to boost domestic demand; however, in these troubled years, the capacities of the elastic industry were much too high, resulting in a rat race. 

1939 Ganzoni elastic starting rope for airplanes
Exhibition 1939: Advertisement for glider starting ropes.

The situation is different in St.Gallen, where the downfall of the stitching industry leads to thousands being unemployed. On October 8th, Ganzoni Elastic purchases the former stitching company Zähner & Schiess, located in St.Gallen’s suburb of Bruggen. Rubber braiding and knitting, as well as the production department, are relocated. The extent of the influence of a worker’s strike at the site of Winterthur in January on that decision is not known. 

1928 Samson, the Ganzoni product trademark
Samson Elastic: for years a trademark of the Ganzoni company.

To avoid dependence on few products, the product range is broadened significantly. Finer rubber yarns are used, and new, porous and wide elastic fabrics are used for the manufacture of belts, suspenders, socks and stocking suspenders. 
The brand name Samson is established on the Swiss market, and with the manufacture of circular knitted rubber stockings, new grounds are broken.

1932 Woman manufacturing in St. Gallen
Manufacturing studio in St. Gallen (1932).

In France, a 30 percent protective tariff inhibits a revival of business. It is decided to set up a production in Saint-Louis, a factory is built. Production starts in December 1924.
After initial problems, Ganzoni Frères actually benefit from the protectionism in France. Thanks to the protective tariff, ready-made articles become bestsellers.

1928 Ganzoni factory in St. Gallen
Factory in St. Gallen-Bruggen, in use from 1928 to 1972.

Sales collapse, there are high losses after an utterly successful year in sales. The company is reorganized. Realignment on the Swiss market is discarded due to low perspectives. Revival of the export business occurs with great difficulty due to protective tariffs, political confusion and inflation. 
30 employees work at the production site in Winterthur. A company foundation created in 1920 supports retired personnel and helps out in emergencies, which should prove itself several times in the years of crisis to come.

1932 Ganzoni covering hall in Winterthur
Covering hall in Winterthur (1932).


The end of World War I does not lead to the anticipated state of normalization. Just the opposite, as England impedes the supply of raw material, saying that Ganzoni cooperates too closely with a “hostile company”. Several interventions at the British embassy in Bern are necessary before the issue is solved.

1919 Letterheads of Ganzoni company
Letterheads Ganzoni Winterthur (1924, top) and Ganzoni Saint-Louis (1932, bottom).

Werner Ganzoni’s younger brother could have become a musician. But he remains loyal to family tradition and builds, after extensive commercial and technical training, the French sister company. This also accomodates the rather different temperaments of the two brothers.
On September 6thin 1918, the workers in the elastic weaving department go on strike. It is finished after ten days; the agreement includes the following: “The company abstains from taking any measures against striking male or female employees.” For the case of a “return to normal production conditions”, a “wage regulation of the pay” is assured.

1918 Portrait of Paul Ganzoni
Paul Ganzoni-Bidermann (1899-1988) works at Ganzoni Saint-Louis until 1967.

Werner Ganzoni would have loved to pursue an academic career. But his father decides differently, so Werner turns his outer calling into an inner calling. In 1920, at the age of 28, he takes over the company and becomes a passionate patron for half a century. He also is fond of music, literature and art.
1914, after a setback at the beginning of World War I, business picks up due to an increase in domestic demand. Reduced hours caused by mobilization, as well as the procurement of raw materials, causes problems. Despite an increasing demand, production has to be narrowed down.

1914 Portrait of Werner Ganzoni
Werner Ganzoni (1892-1972) works at Ganzoni Winterthur and St. Gallen until 1972.

Between 1890 and 1910, sales in Austria decrease from one third to 3 percent, while Germany emerges from insignificance (1,3 percent) to the most important market (45 percent in 1906). 
Newly incorporated, wider elastic fabric saves Ganzoni from bankruptcy. In 1907, demand is so high that orders have to be turned down.

1900 Leaflet with corsages SIGVARIS GROUP
For decades, corsetry will be an important line of business.

After his years of learning and traveling, Moritz, at the age of 25, takes on the responsibility to guide the company through hard times. He is an exemplary employer and also active in public offices, e. g. as a commercial judge. With his soft and melodious baritone, he also has close ties with the Musikkollegium Winterthur, a Swiss symphony orchestra, for all his life.
In 1890,  a company health insurance is founded, and an employee’s right of say in the general meeting is introduced.
Protective tariff causes problems. In 1895, a branch opens in Dornbirn, Austria. Hopeful at first, but there is tough competition. The company ends in the red and, in 1900, is sold to the biggest competitor.

1890 Moritz Ganzoni, son of the founder of SIGVARIS GROUP
Moritz Ganzoni-Nadler (1865-1920) works at Ganzoni Winterthur until 1920.

A factory building is erected on Grüzenstrasse 44 in Winterthur (today a photo museum). 40 rubber band weaving looms are in use, powered by two transmission belts of a piston steam engine. A dressing shop is built since customers desire finer products.
The sewing supply store is sold, home weavers are not employed anymore. The distribution network includes almost all of Europe and even extends as far as North Africa and Argentina.

1874 Postcards with orders for Ganzoni products
Orders: Post cards from Sofia, Prague and Irun (Spain) from the 1890s.

The founder of the company is a talented gymnast. In 1864, he and his business partner Niklaus Barthelts (1837–1891) form a congenial leadership duo, laying a solid foundation for all the following generations. Moritz has deepened his commercial training by staying abroad, e.g. in Egypt. “Ganzoni und Barthelts” is founded as a sewing supply store in Winterthur, Switzerland.
As early as 1865, due to great demand, elastic bands for laceless halfboots, back then a very desirable fashion article, are manufactured on four weaving looms. In 1870, 20 weaving looms are in use and home workers are available in times of increased demand. 

1864 Moritz Ganzoni, Founder of SIGVARIS GROUP
Moritz Ganzoni-Sträuli (1830-1900) works at Ganzoni Winterthur until 1890.

Further reading



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