Jacob Muschong (1868–1923)

Jacob (or Iacob) Muschong was a highly successful manufacturer of bricks and tiles who became one of the richest people in Romania.

He came from a family of brickmakers and potters at Lugoj in western Romania. When he was aged 20 he married Margarethe Bohn, the daughter of a German industrialist, Stefan Bohn, who began his brickmaking business in the 1850s and owned several brick and tile works. The centre of Bohn’s operation was at Jimbolia in Romania, also known as Hatzfeld or Zombolja. His brick and tile works were the largest in the Austro-Hungarian empire.

The successor company was founded in 1880 under the name M. Bohn as a family business. Jacob Muschong became co-owner of this company with Margarethe’s brother Michael (who was married to Jacob’s sister Marianne) and Margarethe’s brother-in-law Jakob Schaaf. Michael Bohn ran a factory at Kikinda while Muschong redeveloped the factory at Jimbolia with great success.

In 1906 Muschong acquired the spa of Bad Busiasch with 100 hectares of forest in Romania. He developed a resort with a spa, hotel, villas, public gardens and a branch railway and he began exporting bottled mineral water under the names Phönix and Muschong. He also acquired a hotel in Lugoj.

When the Bohn company split in 1907 Jacob Muschong kept the brick and tile factory at his home town of Lugoj, which he redeveloped under a new company name, J. Muschong. He built additional factories in the same region and another at Budapest. In 1910 he employed around 350 people. His main product was high-quality roof tiles that were exported throughout Austria-Hungary and beyond, stamped with his name and an icon of an elephant.

In 1918 the unification of Romania gave Muschong political difficulties and he was investigated for his tax affairs. He died of a heart attack at the age of 55.