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Background & History

The first soap company founded by the Wolf family in 1825, Germany, showing the five generation of the Wolf family. From left to right: Aaron Victor Wolf (great great grandfather and original founder), Victor Wolf (great grandfather), Max Wolf Snr (grandfather), Gerald Victor Wolf (father) and Max Wolf Jnr.

Max Wolf (Jnr), Chief Executive of Wolf Formulations Ltd, is the driving force behind the company’s innovative concepts. He is the fifth generation of a family that has been involved in the manufacture of personal care and household cleaning products since his great great grandfather, Aaron Victor Wolf, founded the soap manufacturing company, Victor Wolf Ltd, in Germany in 1825.

An invoice dated 1854 issued by Brother Wolf for the sale of three bars of soap.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, Max Wolf (Snr), built up the business greatly during the 1920’s and early 1930’s. This included the addition of a new custom built factory in Steinau an der strasse, Germany. With the approach of the second world war and growing antisemitism in Germany, the company was aryanised and the name Victor Wolf Ltd changed to Dreiturm Seife to obscure any Jewish connotations. In 1934, Max Wolf (Snr) saw the company confiscated when he was expelled from Germany after being tried for high treason for his political views and Jewish roots. Offered asylum in Britain, Max Wolf (Snr) relocated and established a new company called Victor Wolf Ltd in Manchester producing foundation chemicals such as fatty acids, glycerine and polymers for use in personal and household care products.

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An aerial view of the Dreiturm Seife factory (top); Gerald Victor Wolf representing Victor Wolf Ltd at a surfactants exhibition (bottom).

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A copy of a letter, dated 1935, by the Director of Unilever to the Secretary of State in support of Max Wolf’s (Snr) request for British asylum.

During the 1950’s Dreiturm Seife in Germany, was finally returned to the family and managed by Gerald Victor Wolf, son of Max Wolf (Snr), until it was gradually sold in 1970. In 1956, Gerald Victor Wolf also co-founded a separate company, REWO, in Steinau an der Strasse. This was later sold to the American company Emery which now forms part of Evonik Industries. Gerald Victor Wolf continued to develop the Manchester based businesses to make innovative chemicals and chemicals through novel processes. Under his management, Victor Wolf Ltd (UK) became hugely successful until it was sold to NL Industries towards the end of the 1980’s.
Today, Max Wolf (Jnr) continues the family tradition and after having sold his family interests, he developed products for the personal care and household sectors. He founded the Russian company 000Maxan in 2001, the first producer of wet wipes in Russia. From 2002 the company supplied its extensive range of products to customers both in Russia and in many EU countries. It established an excellent reputation for quality, which was based on their own formulations. After having sold his interest in 000Maxan, Max Wolf (Jnr) has spent the last few years developing his ideas for the more environmentally friendly concept of water soluble eco capsules which now forms the main focus of Wolf Formulations Ltd.

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Two published newspaper articles reporting on the successes and innovation of Victor Wolf Ltd Manchester.