The history of the family company, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, begins in 1858, when the Heilbronner family founded their soap factory at Laupheim near Ulm. The company’s first liquid soap was to be found soon to be found in many public washrooms throughout Germany. Emanuel Heilbronner, later to be the founder of Dr. Bronner's, was born in 1908, the third generation to learn the craft of soap making, in which he received the master's certificate.
In 1929, Emanuel Heilbronner emigrated to the USA, partly in pursuit of his own ideas and partly because of the looming takeover by the National Socialists. In protest against the political situation in Germany, he dropped the first syllable of his surname and called himself Emil Bronner.
Although he continued to develop his family recipes, in the US Emil Bronner devoted himself not just to soapmaking: he was strongly committed to a nonviolent world without war. He now saw his life's work as showing humanity the way to peace and living in harmony with nature, trying to promote his philosophy with lectures and readings but never forgetting his roots. In 1948, he founded his own company, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, in California where he developed his famous peppermint soap. These soaps were distributed during his lectures. To reach his listeners effectively, he had a simple but ingenious idea of printing messages on the bottle labels. Even today, his "Moral ABC" and many of his other beliefs, "ALL-ONE: our world, our nature, our mission" can be found on the labels.
At a time when chemical products were flooding the market, the environmental friendliness of Bronner's soaps raised them above the crowd. Emil Bronner consistently applied his philosophy of life in his company, renouncing synthetic foaming agents, thickeners, preservatives and providing good social conditions for his employees. During the 60s of the last century, Dr. Bronner's natural soaps began to triumph. Today, the brand has fans from all strata of society, including Sandra Bullock, Drew Barrymore and Eminem.
Sustainability and protection of the environment are assured: the packaging materials are 100 percent recycled and the soap is completely biodegradable. Numerous certificates confirm the high quality of the products, including the German BDIH Bio-Siegel. In December 2010, Öko-Test magazine rated the natural soaps with "very good".