During the second decade of the 19th century, the new economic opportunities brought about in the Adriatic trade basin by the end of Venice’s independence became increasingly evident. Additionally, the merely partial success of a previous steamship initiative in Trieste convinced a group of wealthy local traders to attempt something that had only been successfully done once in Europe: founding a navigation company that was entirely based on mechanical navigation.
Technically, Lloyd Austriaco was founded as the “second section” of an existing company, created a few years earlier with the intention of gathering the most accurate and up-to-date trade information available on the market and making it available to its members. In fact, the amount of capital invested and the ambitious task entrusted to the new section meant that, from the onset, it would be far larger than the original company, and destined to grow in the coming years. The influx of new funds from Vienna and the political importance of the new maritime links would give Lloyd a certain long-term security over the years, even in the face of the difficulties associated with a business that was not yet fully fledged.
Francesco Taddeo de Reyer
Founder and president
of the Austrian Lloyd (1836-1845)
Giovanni Guglielmo Sartorio
President of Austrian Lloyd’s First
General Directorate (1836)
In 1836, a group of leading Triestine businessmen and traders decided to found a company dedicated to mechanical maritime transport. Giovanni Guglielmo Sartorio and Francesco Taddeo Reyer had accumulated extensive capital during the Napoleonic era, when they managed to circumvent the Continental Blockade. In the following years, they diversified their investments in the insurance and steamship sectors. The young, enterprising manager Karl Ludwig von Bruck also contributed to the founding of Lloyd, especially thanks to his technical and organisational skills. Finally, Marco Parente was the Trieste-based agent of a family network involved in innumerable commercial and financial initiatives, in close contact with the Rothschilds of Vienna.
Less well known, but equally worthy of mention, are the other 123 shareholders who contributed to the foundation of the second section. Some of them only invested very small sums, but they were nevertheless important because they linked Lloyd’s activities in the service sector to a vast network of interests, helping Lloyd acquire its first clients.
The name of the oldest existing shipping company is inextricably tied to Trieste’s history, and draws its origins from a “coffee house” established in London in 1688 by the Welshman Edward Lloyd (1648-1713).
As it was located near Tower Bridge, where sailing ships transporting goods to and from England docked, most of its patrons were shipowners, captains, and shipping agents.
Edward Lloyd’s patrons would ask him for “assurances” as to the reliability of a given ship or her captain, the professionalism of a shipping agent, or whether a certain client paid his bills on time.
Lloyd’s Coffee House became a hub for closing deals related to maritime transport. Patrons increased exponentially, and Edward Lloyd began keeping a “Lloyd’s register”, where he would write down confidential information and rated the reliability of ships, captains, traders, and so forth. Starting in1696, his notes became a printed bulletin published three times a week called “Lloyd’s News”. After his death in 1734 it became “Lloyd’s List”, the world’s oldest – and still the leading – daily providing information on the shipping sector.
President of the Austrian Lloyd (1840-1876)
20th April 1833: the articles of incorporation
Laying ceremony of the first stone of the new company headquarters
«For many years, Trieste’s insurance companies have acknowledged the need to establish a meeting place to pool their resources and acquire the most relevant shipping information for their operations. With the increasing trade in Trieste, demand for insurance has risen, and a number of new insurance companies have emerged, extending their reach to other regions. The need to develop a wider network of contacts having become indispensable, two years ago they established the joint premises of the United Insurance Companies.
In the knowledge that these premises could only be a pale imitation of London’s colossal model, known worldwide as “Lloyd’s”, which has already existed for 60 years and has become the hub for all of the countless shipping and trade operations performed in that metropolis. Such a shining example was bound to stimulate a natural desire to imitate it.
«In light of the above, and in the hope of contributing to the greater good of the city and the interests of the esteemed merchant class, the insurance companies propose the establishment of an Austrian Lloyd in Trieste.»
«The Permanent Commission of the Central Premises of the United Insurance Companies, appointed by the General Congress held on 30th July 1832, takes it upon itself to urge the circulation of the above-mentioned plan for subscriptions. The establishment of “Lloyd Austriaco in Trieste” aims at providing merchants and insurance agents with the most reliable information on trade and shipping in the most important hubs in Europe, the Levant, and beyond through its own correspondents and through the best newspapers and books on the subject.
Trieste, 25th April 1833»
- Angelo Giannichesi
L’ADRIATICO BANCO D’ASSICURAZIONI
- Marco Parente
LE ASSICURAZIONI GENERALI
- Carlo Ludovico de Bruck
- Giovanni Guglielmo Sartorio
IL BANCO DI MARITTIME ASSICURAZIONI
- Giovanni Battista Siverio
IL BANCO ILLIRICO D’ASSICURAZIONI
- Giuseppe Padovani
LA COMPAGNIA DEGLI AMICI ASSICURATORI
- Cesare Cassis Faraone
LA SOCIETÀ ORIENTALE D’ASSICURAZIONE