Detail from the coat of arms granted to Nathan Mayer Rothschild by the English College of Heralds, 1818 (The Rothschild Archive).
The gathering pace of industrialisation across Europe brought new involvements for the Rothschild businesses.
The French took a major interest in the mining of base metals – in particular copper and nickel – and in England the Rothschilds backed a new venture, The Exploration Company, to seek out mineral sources throughout the world. With the provision of funding for the creation of De Beers in 1887, Rothschild also turned to investment in the mining of precious stones, in Africa and India. For a time too, along with the Nobels, they were at the forefront of developing oil fields, in Baku and Batoum in south-west Russia.
Away from business, new family interests grew. In 1895, Edmond de Rothschild, youngest son of Baron James, visited Palestine for the first time. In the years to come he was to support the founding of a number of Jewish colonies. His interest in the development of the country continued until his death in 1934. In England, Walter, son of the first Lord Rothschild (the first Jewish peer, created in 1885) began his interest in zoology, which was to produce one of the world's great collections of specimens, while his cousin Henri was becoming a leading French expert on infant nutrition.
In 1901, with no male heir to take it on, the Frankfurt House closed its doors. After more than a century, the Rothschild family severed their business link with their town of origin. It was not until 1989 that they returned.
© 2011 Rothschild