The Birth of the First
The origins of modern sugar
making in the southwest Moravia
In 1829, the brothers Tomas and Frantisek Grebners in Kostelni Vydri near Dacice founded the first sugar factory of the modern era in the western part
of the monarchy of Habsbourg. In spring 1828 they planted sugar beet on a field of about 3ha and started manufacturing the yields in a sugar factory in
the autumn using knowledge obtained in France.
The sugar factory in Kostelni Vydri was set up in the building of a farm brewery. In the ground floor there were a stable for oxes driving a horse gear,
then a room for horse-gear and a large hall with all simple machines of the sugar factory: slicer powered by the horse gear, whitening machine or
masticating mill, screw and wedge presses, in the soil buried tanks for collecting pressed juice, 3 boilers for collecting sugar with direct heating, 2 small and
2 big evaporating pans with direct heating. The machines were made mostly from wood, some parts only were in iron.
The manufacturing was following: sugar beet was grated in small pieces, these were pressed in order to obtain a juice. Juice was warmed up and clarified
in boilers, the warm juice was drained to evaporation tanks into which formed syrup which was purified. Then three weeks crystallization followed, after
formation of massecuite and drying. By the way was obtained crude sugar which had to be refined. Wastage was used as food for sheep and syrup for
using in production of spirits. About 1000kg of sugar-beet were worked up everyday, this quantity gave 30 kg of sugar and 30 kg of syrup. During the
first sugar-beet season were manufactured 11200 kg of crude sugar, sugar was taken away only by shop keepers in Dacice. The sugar factory ended
sugar making already in 1832, or the soil near Dacice was not proper for growing sugar beets (altitude about 500m) and the sugar factory missed a quality
raw material. Anyhow this sugar house became a sample for other businesses in Bohemia and Moravia.
The First Sugar Refinery in Moravia
in 1833 Frantisek Grebner picked up again the tradition of sugar factory in Kostelni Vydri and supported by money of J.B. Puthon, banker from Vienna,
he set up a refinery directly in Dacice. The refinery was situated in the house no. 4 in Square Palacky (now arts center), later extended to neighboring
buildings 2, 3, and 5. At first only cane was manufactured, cane was transported in a cart to Dacice through Vienna from the Italian port Trieste. It
became the first refinery of cane sugar in Moravia and after 1844 only sugar beet from local resources were used. The sugar refinery brought to the city
economic recovery, drew to Dacice many experts and new jobs were created. In 1839 the refinery got into financial troubles and all decisions as for the
refinery fell to Grebners associate who called in Spring 1840 a new director- Jakub Krystof Rad from Vienna, a native of Rhreinfelden in Switzerland.
Jakub Krystof Rad, inventor of the first sugar cube
The new Director extended manufacture spaces in 1841 by annexing a new refinery building in the court of house no. 4, he provided new machines and in
1842 he put into production the first steam engine in the city. Under the new direction the refinery prospered and besides officials and auxiliary staff,
about thirty manual workers were engaged. The sugar from Dacice supplied the southwest Moravia, south and east Bohemia, and Austrian borderland.
Sugar was sold also in storehouses of the refinery established in Vienna, Pest, Lvov, and Brno. For better use of some products of the refinery and to
improve its work director Rad established in 1841 in Dacice a manufacturing plant of candied fruit, sweets and chocolate and he involved in this job his
wife, Juliana. The shopkeepers in Vienna, Prague, Pest, Linz, and Lvov but also in smaller cities in southwest Moravia, in southern Bohemia, western
Bohemia, and in the territory of Slovakia of nowadays were buying sweets from Dacice like boiled sweet, gingerbread and chocolate.
In convenient shapes of sugar manufactured till up to this time. Forms like Loafs, Hats, made Jakub Krystof Rad to invent the cube of sugar.
"Cherchez la femme" everywhere
Also housewife Missus Juliana Rad, when she wanted to put a little bit of sugar in the meal, had to use the chopper to cut off a little piece from a big loaf
of sugar. A short while of inattention was sufficient to cause injury. One day in August of 1841 it happened to Missus Juliana who, cutting a loaf of sugar,
she hurt her finger. After, during a lunch she addressed her husband and other officials of the refinery present at the lunch, and appealed to them to find a
way to eliminate difficult cutting and splitting loafs of sugar. She herself suggested to manufacture sugar in forms of cubes that are easy to count and stock.
It was certainly a nice surprise for her to receive from her husband in august of the same year a little box. There were 350 white and red cubes of sugar
inside. The cube of sugar was born. Rad fabricated a press and the 23rd of January 1843 he obtained a privilege to fabricate cube sugars in Decice. In
autumn of 1843 the refinery in Dacice started to make cubes of sugar for business. For the first time, cube sugars appeared in Vienna called "tea sugar".
A little parcel containing 250 cubes weighed one pound and suggested a box with Chinese Tea. There were original labels on the box presenting refinery
buildings in Dacice and was sold for 50 Kreutzers. The patent for the fabrication of cube sugar was bought soon by Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria,
Switzerland and England A Perfected form of Rad's invention is used by sugar refineries all over the world.
The text below is from a pamphlet handed
out at the sugar museum in Dacice.
Series For Birth of
First Sugar Cube