Paul Julius Reuter

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Paul Julius Reuter, 1869

Paul Julius Reuter, from 1871Baron von Reuter(Baron Reuter; * July 21, 1816 in Kassel, Electorate of Hesse; † February 25, 1899 in Nice; actually Israel Beer Josaphat) was a German entrepreneur. He is best known as the founder of the news agency “Reuters Telegraphic Comp. Incorporated”.


He was born in 1816, the son of Samuel Levi Josaphat, a Jewish merchant and rabbi from Witzenhausen, and his wife Betty, née Sanders. He grew up in the old town of Kassel. His birthplace was on the corner of Druselgasse and Mittelgasse. In Kassel he began a commercial apprenticeship, became a banker, met the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss in Göttingen, who supported the physicist Wilhelm Eduard Weber in his experiments, which were a prerequisite for the development of electrical telegraphy. In 1840 Josaphat moved to Berlin, and in 1845 he converted to Christianity in London: he was baptized in the German Lutheran St. George’s Church and took the name Paul Julius[1] and took the name Paul Julius Reuter.

Statue of Paul Julius Reuter in London

In Berlin he married the banker’s daughter Ida Maria Magnus. He bought into a respected publishing house with a bookshop – “Reuter und Stargardt”. Due to the publication of democratic writings during the failed bourgeois revolution of 1848/49 Reuter was threatened in Berlin, he evaded the grasp of the Prussian police by emigrating to Paris.

Commemorative plaque on the founding building of the Reuters news agency in Aachen, Pontstraße 117

While telegraphy was developing, Reuter founded a news agency in Aachen in 1850, which transmitted news between Brussels and Aachen with carrier pigeons. This was the missing link between Berlin and Paris. Carrier pigeons were much faster than the stagecoach, so Reuter had faster access to news from the Paris Stock Exchange. In 1851 the carrier pigeons were replaced by a telegraph line.

A telegraphic link was also established between Great Britain and the continent through the English Channel. In 1863, the line was extended to the port city of Cork in the southwest of Ireland. Ships arriving from America threw canisters of messages overboard as they passed off the coast. Fished out of the water, taken to Cork and telegraphed on, the messages reached London before the ships. This again gave Reuter’s messaging a crucial time advantage. After the development of telegraphy, he provided all the important cities of the world with his own correspondents and agencies and ultimately had a news monopoly with his joint-stock company Reuters Telegraphic Comp. Incorporated, he had a monopoly on news. In 1871 he was raised to the hereditary peerage of a baron by Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Two decades later, he received the title of Baron from Queen Victoria of Great Britain.

In 1872 he obtained from Naser al-Din Shah a concession for the economic development of Persia, which included the exclusive right to build all railways and dams, to regulate rivers for agricultural use, and to exploit mineral resources (except gold and silver mines). Reuter was also promised a preference in regard to a concession for the establishment of banks and factories of all kinds. However, Reuter was unable to raise the capital needed to implement this concession after the British government refused to provide a corresponding financial guarantee for the investments in Persia. The concession was revoked in 1873 due to Russia’s protest. As compensation, Julius Reuter received a concession to establish the Imperial Bank of Persia, which, in addition to its general activities as a commercial bank, also took over the issue of Persian banknotes until the establishment of an Iranian central bank.[2]

In 1940, William Dieterle made a film biopic under the titleA Dispatch from Reuters(A Man of Imagination) with Edward G. Robinson as Paul Julius Reuter.

The Paul Julius Reuter Innovation Award was established at the University of Siegen on the 100th anniversary of the death of Paul Julius Reuter, the founder of the company, on 25 February 1999.[3] The Paul-Julius-Reuter-Schule in his birthplace Kassel is named after him.[4] The Paul-Julius-Reuter-Berufskolleg in Aachen bears his name.[5]


  • Gerd Kulle et al: Paul Julius von Reuter. Pioneer of worldwide news. Kassel meets, Kassel remembers in the Stadtsparkasse. Deutscher Sparkassenverlag, Stuttgart 1978.
  • Ludwig Julius Fränkel: Reuter, Paul Julius Freiherr von. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Vol. 53, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1907, pp. 319-321.
  • Stefanie Schuschmel: From Aachen into the World: Paul Julius Reuter (1816-1899). In: Paul Thomes, Peter M. Quadflieg (eds.): Unternehmer in der Region Aachen – zwischen Maas und Rhein. Aschendorff Verlag, Münster 2015, ISBN 978-3-402-13107-7, pp. 132-152.
  • Bernd Sösemann:Reuter, Julius Baron de. In: New German Biography (NDB). Vol. 21, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-428-11202-4, p. 471 (Digitalisat).

Web links

Individual references

  1. Encyclopedia of World Biography 2004
  2. Rouhollah K. Ramazani: The foreign policy of Iran. University Press of Virginia, 1966, p. 66ff.
  3. Paul Julius Reuter Innovation Award 2006(Memento of the Originals of April 15, 2012 in the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/
  4. History of the Reuterschule Kassel(Memento of the Originals february 24, 2013 on the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this note.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/
  5. Paul-Julius-Reuter-Berufskolleg, Aachen