Corporations in the Ottoman Empire were established relatively at a late date. Before the Tanzimat – Era of Modern Reform, inan and mudarebe companies [commenda] were part of the Ottoman trade system. After the Tanzimat, unincorporated companies were also formed. Corporations were quite common in the European trade system before the 1800s. In Ottoman times, the first Corporation – Şirket-i Hayriye (The Auspicious Corporation) was established in 1850. The establishment of corporations was based on the Commerce and Trade Code announced the same year. In the years 1882 and 1887, the corporation law underwent certain reforms; however, only nine corporations were established before 1908. The number of corporations increased dramatically after 1908, reaching 130 in the year 1918.

1- Mahmutpaşa Slope (Yıldız Albums)

The list below consists of 65 corporations. A considerable number of them were owned by foreigners. To put it more explicitly, the companies were based in European cities, and had affiliates in Istanbul. They mainly carried out business in the banking, insurance, transportation and mining sectors. There were many other industrial or commercial corporations active in various sectors as well.

Table Annex 2- Some incorporated companies established in Istanbul (1887-1918)

Name of the Corporation

Year of Establishment

The Business Sector and Field of Activity

Dersaadet Buz Osmanlı A.Ş.


Producing and selling ice in Eyüp, Galata, Üsküdar and Biga.

Şirket-i Hayriye A.Ş.


Operating steam ferries between Sarayburnu and Harem Port along both coasts of the Bosphorus up to Rumeli Kavak and Anadolu Kavak.

Osmanlı Sigorta Şirket-i Umumiyesi


Carrying out all types of insurance operations, especially covering fire damage and damage during land and marine transportation in addition to offering life insurance.

İstanbul Menba Suları Şirket-i Osmaniyesi


Transfering the famous spring water in and around Istanbul to sell in the city.

Türkiye Milli Bankası


Carrying out operations for the development of trade and industry, exploiting mines, loan transactions such as granting loans on security.

Haliç Vapurları Şirketi


Operating steam ferries in the Golden Horn.

İtibarı Mali-i Osmanî A.Ş.


General operations in financial, commercial, mineral, moveable and real estate properties; opearations in reconstruction, banking and credit.

Tenmiye-i Sermaye Osmanlı A.Ş.


Carrying out all types of commercial operations, making concession agreements for reconstruction projects.

Hamızı Karbon İmalına Mahsus Osmanlı A.Ş.


Establishing and operating a carbonic acid factory, which produced and sold carbonated products and mineral water.

Türkiye Ticaret ve Sanayi Bankası


Operating in the fields of financial operations, finance, trade, agriculture and mining.

Paşabahçe Kiremit ve Tuğla Fabrikası Osmanlı A.Ş.


Buying and selling tiles, bricks and products as such; operating factories.

Ticaret Osmanlı A.Ş. Umumiyesi


Carrying out all types of commercial and industrial operations. Establishing or buying factories or establishing partnerships for the production of medical equipment.

Meadin Osmanlı A.Ş.


Obtaining, operating and transferring mining, waterspring and quarry licenses or concessions; buying and selling ore and metalware; carrying out relevant industrial and commercial activities.

Hilal Osmanlı Anonim Vapur Şirketi


Operating ferries and operating in marine transportation both within the Ottoman territories and abroad.

Taşocakları Osmanlı A.Ş. Umumiyesi


Operating Malta-stone (holystone) quarries and managing commerce and industry in this field.

Osmanlı İp ve Keten Eşya Şirketi


Establishing and managing a factory for the production of thread, string, rope, canvas, linen and products made of flax.

İstanbul Bankası


Carrying out all kinds of exchange, commerce and public works.

İnşaat A.Ş. Osmaniyesi


Carrying out all kinds of construction and excavation, realizing commercial and financial operations.

Osmanlı A.Ş. Müteşebbisesi


Negotiating real estate transactions, lending in exchange for pawned goods and security, operating all kinds of reconstructional, industrial and agricultural operations.

Osmanlı İttihat Seracılık A.Ş.


Producing, importing and selling greenhouse material.

Beyoğlu Tuhafiye Mağazaları A.Ş.


Carrying out all kinds of industrial operations concerning fashion and clothing.

Balcı Kardeşler Anonim Ticaret Şirketi Osmaniyesi


Carrying out all kinds of commercial operations, establishing factories, carrying out construction business.

Çimentodan Tuğla ve Bilcümle Levazım-ı İnşaiyye İmaline Mahsus İstera Osmanlı A.Ş.


Producing construction material and carrying out related commercial operations.

Koru ve Yalova Hamamları Osmanlı A.Ş.


Distributing parcels; establishing hotels, night-clubs, clubs, theaters, thermal baths, sea baths, and stores; constructing electric tramways; operating buses and cars until the completion of the tramline.

Umur-ı Ticariye Sanaiyye ve Maliye Osmanlı A.Ş.


Granting loans, issuing business papers, discounts, general securities, buying and selling commercial goods, reconstruction operations, issuing mining concessions, buying concessions from third parties. Operating railway and tramway transportation, founding industrial enterprises.

Mütekaidin-i Askeriye Ticaret A.Ş.


Carrying out all kinds of activities concerning trade, industry and reconstruction; establishing fee-paying schools and providing educational services.

Mebde-i Servet Anonim Osmanlı Ticaret Şirketi


Carrying out credit operations and acting as intermediary between industrial enterprises and customers; buying and selling supplies, articles of merchandise and textile products.

Manifatura Ticareti Osmanlı A.Ş.


Carrying out all types of commercial activities independently, establishing partnerships with similar corporations, establishing facilities for the production of textile products.

Tetkikat-ı Madeniye ve Sınaiyye Osmanlı A.Ş.


Operating in the fields of trade, industry, finance, agriculture, marine, public works and municipal works, and establishing companies to manage related operations.

Dersaadet Peynirci Osmanlı A.Ş.


The shareholders of the Corporation consisting of cheesemongers only, trading cheese products.

İstanbul Emlak Şirket-i Osmaniyesi


Constructing, renting, selling buildings; buying on its own real estate within the limits of Istanbul.

Büyükada Levazım-ı İnşaiyye Anonim Osmanlı Şirketi


Engaging in the trade of construction materials only; trading in heating fuel, grains and food if need be in the future.

İntibah-ı Ticaret Osmanlı A.Ş.


Carrying out all types of commercial operations (This Corporation was active particularly in drapery).

Anadolu Millî Mahsulat Osmanlı A.Ş.


Buying and selling domestic products such as grains, angora wool, sheep, fleece, leather and opium, and brokering in these goods.

Osmanlı İtibarı Millî Bankası


Carrying out all kinds of banking operations.

Nakliyat-ı Umumiye Osmanlı A.Ş.


Operating steam buses, trucks, omnibuses, automobiles, and transporting household items and commercial goods by means of rail, ferry and trailer.

Mustafa Şamlı Mahdumu Müessesatı Ticaret A.Ş. Osmaniyesi


Carrying out all types of commercial operations, establishing factories, working as commission agents for import and export, signing agreements with other companies as an acting partner.

Osmanlı Anonim Lastik Şirketi


Importing and selling rubber and latex products, producing commercial goods, constructing and managing factories and working as commission agents for domestic and foreign companies.

Dersaadet Ticaret ve Ziraat Sanayi Şirket-i Osmaniyesi


Constructing roads, planting forests, irrigation, drying out swampy lands, operating farms by leasing, establishing and managing factories, carrying out foreign trade.

Millî İthalat Kantariye A.Ş.


Buying and selling grocery and weightage items and dealing with brokering operations for these items.

Vesait-i Nakliye Osmanlı A.Ş.


Constructing and operating sailing and steam ships, carrying out all kinds of marine and land transportation, trading in coal.

Mehmet ve Ahmet Abut Müessesatı Millî Ticaret A.Ş. Osmanisi


Buying business establishments for the purpose of carrying out diverse commercial operations, establishing factories and organizing partnerships with other corporations of the same kind.

Yeni Ticaret A.Ş. Osmaniyesi


Selling all types of crops and industrial products and granting advance on commercial goods, constructing factories.

Islah ve Terakki-i Ziraat Şirketi Osmaniyesi


Selling and providing operating instructions for agricultural implements, establishing factories, seed and animal breeding, etc.

Ticaret ve İtibar-i Umumi Bankası


Granting loans on security for carrying out all kinds of banking, commercial and industrial operations.

Teşebbüsat-ı Madeniye ve Sınaiyye Osmanlı A.Ş.


Exploiting mines and quarries, exploring mineral water springs, obtaining licences and priviliges, operating industrial investments, buying and selling metal and ore products.

Millî Mensucat A.Ş.


Importing material used in the production of fabric and textile products, producing thread out of these materials, buying thread and carrying out all kinds of work in the textile industry.

Teşebbüsat-ı Sınaiyye A.Ş.


Trading in cotton, silk and wool, establishing factories for all kinds of textile products.

Kağıtçılık ve Matbaacılık A.Ş.


Carrying out all kinds of commercial and industrial operations along with stationary and printing businesses.

Terakki-i Sanayi Türk A.Ş.


Carrying out all kinds of operations in the jewellery, foundry and lathing sectors; establishing related factories, producing, importing and selling related tools and items.

Yerli Çimentoları Osmanlı A.Ş.


Establishing cement factories, operating in other sectors of industry and commerce.

Hanımlara Mahsus Eşya Pazarı Osmanlı A.Ş.


Producing and selling all kinds of items for the use of women, contracting agreements in sewing.

Ticaret-i Berriyye ve Bahriyye Osmanlı A.Ş.


Transporting people and goods by steam and sailing ships, barges and trailers; establishing factories for the construction of these vehicles, transporting by tram, bus and animals, operating coal mines, trading in coal, establishing storehouses, managing forests, etc.

Millî İnşaat-ı Bahriye Osmanlı A.Ş.


Producing iron and wood, constructing machines for the production of these materials; constructing factories, pools and slides for use in all kinds of reparation.

Duhan Osmanlı A.Ş.


Carrying out agricultural, commercial and export operations related to tobacco, establishing new corporations, establishing partnerships.

Karamürsel Mensucat ve Ticaret A.Ş.


Establishing factories for the production of industrial products including textile products and carrying out commercial operations.

Yerli Mensucat Osmanlı A.Ş.


Producing and selling textile products made of wool and cotton such as hodden and serge.

Orman İşletme Şirketi


Carrying out all types of operations related to forest tenancies in the Ottoman territory and wood-working industry, managing forests.

Türkiye Millî Sigorta Şirketi


Carrying out all types of insurance operations including life, fire and transportation.

Millî Orman ve İnşaat Osmanlı A.Ş.


Collecting taxes on forests, establishing factories, producing paper and timber, buying and selling materials made from forest products, trading in coal, carrying out operations buying and selling construction material, investing in transportation

İncir Çiftliği İmarat ve İnşaat Osmanlı A.Ş.


Constructing, selling and renting buildings such as houses, stores and storehouses; constructing roads, streets and highways around the buildings.

Sanayi-i Madeniye ve Makine İnşaatı A.Ş.


Operating in the sectors of metal industry, ship repair and machine construction.

Altın Yıldız Osmanlı A.Ş.


Establishing factories for the production of wool, fleece, cotton, silk and textiles made of these materials in addition to thread, string and sewing cotton, carrying out related commercial operations.

Osmanlı Millî Umum Sigorta Şirketi


Carrying out all types of insurance operations (Osmanlı Sigorta Şirket-i Umumiyesi, which was founded in 1892, was purchased by İtibar-i Millî Bankası in 1917 and traded under this name in 1918. It was renamed İstanbul Umum Sigorta Şirketi in 1920).

Osmanlı Teşebbüsat-ı İktisadiye A.Ş.


Renting real estate such as farms, forests and mines; exchanging this real estate with real estate needed by corporational activities in urban areas, carrying out reconstruction operations.

Ekonomik Kooperatif Osmanlı A.Ş.


Trading all types of food, household appliances, goods and articles.

*Reference: Ramazan Balcı and İbrahim Sırma (haz.), Ticaret ve Ziraat Nezareti: Memalik-i Osmaniye’de Osmanlı Anonim Şirketleri, Istanbul: İstanbul Ticaret Odası, 2012, pp. 49-343; Celali Yılmaz, Osmanlı Anonim Şirketleri, Istanbul: Scala Yayıncılık, 2011, pp. 75-433.

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.

Related Contents