Setting Sail for Hamburg
Jules Guillaume Fester, fresh off his 24th birthday, is self-confident, and yet nonetheless brimming with nervous excitement, as he arrives in Hamburg after a long journey in the year 1876. He is used to the sea air, as his trip has taken him from Antwerp, familiar seat of the Fester family, to Hamburg, with the purpose of planting another milestone in the long history of the Mund & Fester Insurance Company.
The young Fester has travel, so to speak, in his genes.
“You are going to free and happy Belgium,” were the words used by Jules’ grandfather to send his son, Emil Fester, on his way as he left Frankfurt in 1840 for Antwerp, with its great similarity to an old German city. There, Emil’s son Heinrich, Jules’s elder brother, founded, together with Adolph Mund, the company Mund & Fester in Place Verte 33 with the purpose of creating insurance policies as agents for various Insurance companies.
And now, the task of establishing his own branch of Mund & Fester in Hamburg, has been designated to Jules, and it is one which he goes on to accomplish with great success. The move and opening of the new company are, however, anything but fly-by-night schemes, as they have been well prepared by carefully groomed contacts to the Hamburg law firm of Georg Duncker. Duncker had developed excellent connections to Hamburg’s various shipping companies. He also takes up the position of authorized underwriter in the newly formed firm of Mund & Fester.
Our First Office
Jules Fester initially shares the rooms of the Duncker firm in the “Afrika Haus” in the Kleinen Reichenstraße 14. The working conditions here are rather “adventurous”: Work is done until well after 8 in the evening by the light of petroleum lamps, and there is but a single typewriter which only Herr Corinius, the private secretary, can operate. All other paperwork is done by hand and then copied by a copy press.