To what extent is a family business the outcome of a business family?
Are inventors working on their own or relying on a wide array of associates?
What is the impact of world politics on multinational companies?
Do they "think global and act local" or do they proceed the other way around?
This book intends to address these and other questions by shedding light on the history of the chemical company Solvay through 150 years of historical change and turmoil. The Solvay company was created in 1863 as a start-up enterprise manufacturing soda ash with a new industrial process. Its main founder, Ernest Solvay, was in his early twenties and had no formal training in chemistry. Against all odds, the business rapidly grew out as one of the world's largest multinational chemical companies. In this book, the Solvay family business becomes a window enabling to see the unfolding of a century and a half of world history.