From rose fields near Leipzig to a global presence

Future-oriented flavours and fragrances are born from pioneering creativity and state-of-the-art facilities in an area which, in the 19th century, was dominated by rose fields. It is through the focus on technology, innovation, research and development that we have secured our leading position in the industry until today. Discover the history of our company and browse through three eras of fragrances and flavours.

Company Milestones

Bell’s roots are inextricably linked to the origins of an entire industry. Find here a selection of important milestones from the founding of Schimmel & Co. in 1829 to the 30th anniversary of Bell Flavors & Fragrances GmbH in 2023.


Pioneers of an Industry

At the end of the 19th century, a group of resourceful chemists and pharmacists realised times were changing and began to use their expertise to move the company forward into the industrial era. The technologies developed by Schimmel for the extraction of essential oils now represent the standard for an entire industry. Not even the expropriation after the Second World War destroyed this innovative power.

Establishment of the Spahn Büttner company by Leipzig chemists Ernst Ludwig Spahn and Gottlob Eduard Büttner

Renaming to “Spahn Schimmel” with the joining of Friedrich Edmund Louis Schimmel

Acquisition of the subsequently renamed “Schimmel & Co.” company by Hermann Traugott Fritzsche

Foundation of the Fritzsche, Schimmel & Co. branch in New York

Publication of initial trade reports, later referred to as Schimmel Reports

Establishment of the first chemical test laboratory for essential oils

Extraction of the first rose oil in Miltitz

Construction of the extensive factory complex with adjoining housing estate in Miltitz

Nobel Prize for Prof Dr Otto Wallach, then working at the company

Merger with Leipzig company E. Sachsse & Co. to form a family-owned company

100-year company anniversary

Expropriation by the Soviet occupying power

1956 – 1992

The Heart of an Industry

As an association of almost all cosmetics companies in the GDR with almost 3,000 employees, the “VEB Chemische Fabrik Miltitz” supplied almost the entire soap, perfumery and detergent industry in the GDR with fragrances and about 70 per cent of the flavouring industry. In fact, the expertise gained during that time contributed to the former Schimmel factory being considered an attractive location for the production of flavours and fragrances in 1993. The company founded in Chicago in 1912 by William M. Bell recognised this potential, took over the facility and established an independent branch.

Conversion to VEB Chemische Fabrik Miltitz

Opening of the first “Haus Exclusiv“ in Halle

Establishment of VEB Chemisches Kombinat Miltitz as the leading company in the sector with up to 11.000 employees working in 16 state-owned companies throughout the GDR

Launch of a central raw material supply

Commissioning of a dedicated production building for fragrances

Errection of a research building with a pilot plant for synthetic fragrances and flavours

Completion of new distillation and synthesis facilities

Commissioning of a modern flavour production facility with extraction facilities and fruit juice plant

Sale tender for Duft und Aroma GmbH

1993 – today

Global Network

The 1993 takeover by the American Bell Flavors & Fragrances Inc. marked the beginning of a new era for this historic location. Thanks to substantial strategic investments, the owner-managed company quickly developed into an internationally active manufacturer of fragrances and flavours. Today, the facility in Leipzig/Germany, with its 200,000-square-metre surface area, is among the largest and most modern production sites for flavours and fragrances in Europe. The logistics centre, completed in 2017 – one of Bell‘s largest single investments in Germany – has not only laid the foundations for optimal cargo handling, but also expanded the reach of quality assurance, ensuring that the highest of standards will continue to be met going forward.

Acquisition by Bell Flavors & Fragrances Inc (more on the history of Bell in the US).

Relocation of administration and research from the old factory to the research building

Resumption of trade relations with Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Vietnam

Introduction of the XAL business software

Inauguration of the originally reconstructed Schimmel Library

Establishment of a subsidiary in Moscow, Russia

Commissioning of the first pastillation plant and expansion of fragrance production

Opening of a sales office in Pszczyna, Poland

Establishment of a subsidiary in France

Opening of a sales office in Kiev, Ukraine

Foundation of a subsidiary in the UK

Expansion of flavour production

Modernisation of the research building

Opening of sales offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Introduction of a document management system (DMS)

Expansion of the site to 200,000 square metres

Foundation of a subsidiary and opening of a sales office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Acquisition of a company in India

Modernisation of the synthesis and distillation facilities

Introduction of the ERP system (AX)

Inauguration of the new logistics centre

Opening of a culinary centre in the UK

Establishment of a subsidiary in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Commissioning of a production facility in Sri City, India

Anniversary: 30 Years Bell Flavors & Fragrances GmbH