A Swiss company, makers of chocolate and chocolate confections: also the company's founding family, who ran it through the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Jean Tobler opened his first confectioners' shop in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, in 1867, selling various candies of his own invention. In the beginning he used bought-in chocolate from other confectionery companies as a coating for his specialties, but as the years passed, these became so popular that he decided he needed more chocolate. However, his supplier, Rodolphe Lindt of Bern, who produced what Tobler considered the highest-quality chocolate then available, was unwilling to increase his company's output. Tobler therefore decided he would have to start making his own chocolate. In 1899, along with his one of his sons, Theodor Tobler, Jean opened his new factory, the "Fabrique de Chocolat Bern," operated by his newly formed company "Tobler & Cie". In subsequent years Jean Tobler acquired two other chocolate-making companies, Talmone and Compagnie Suisse, thereby nearly tripling his own company's output.

Business continued to go well for the Tobler family, with Theodor Tobler gradually taking over the management of the company from his father. In 1908, Theodor and Emil Baumann (the Tobler & Cie production manager, and Theodor's cousin), came up with an idea for a new confection that would combine chocolate, honey nougat and almonds. They gave the new product a distinctive design that some said was reminiscent of a small mountain range -- a row of blocky triangles, joined at the bases. In 1909 the Toblers registered the design and its packaging with the Federal Institute for Intellectual Property in Bern, making Toblerone the first Swiss chocolate confection to be patented.

In subsequent years, under Theodor's energetic direction, Tobler continued its expansion, opening a new factory in Bordeaux and licensing Toblerone production to companies in Belgium, England, Hungary and the United States during the 1920's. The company suffered from the increase of import duties on foreign goods in the USA, and also from the stock market crash of 1929, which left it hard pressed to pay back millions of Swiss francs' worth of loans.

The family remained in direct control of the company only until 1933, when Theodor Tobler stepped down from the company's board after a difficult period of restructuring. Years later, the company the Toblers had founded began to look around for partners who would assist in keeping it from becoming an easy acquisition target. In 1971 Tobler & Cie merged with the rival Swiss chocolate and confectionery firm Suchard to form Tobler Suchard, later known as Tobler Suchard (Interfood). In 1982, the firm Jacobs Kaffee joined the group, which became Jacobs Suchard Europe. In 1987, the group was joined by the Belgian chocolate firm Cote d'Or. In 1990, the group was acquired by Kraft General Foods International, now Kraft Foods International.

(after http://publicrelations.unibe.ch/unipress/heft108/beitrag3.html and other sources)

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