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Marijn Cochius (1874–1938)

Better known as P.M. Cochius (Petrus Marinus), here we have a man that I run into in connection with Farwerck frequently. The two had much in common, but Cochius was Farwercks senior by 15 years. It is time to dedicate a few words to Cochius.

Cochius was born as the son of the major of Rijswijk. There was a glass factory in the family as well and that is how Cochius came into the business. I have already devoted some text to this factory in which Farwerck (and fellow Theosophist Tenno Selleger (1876-1967) to whose sister Cochius was married) was involved too.

One movement that Farwerck and Cochius shared was Theosophy. In the Dutch Theosophical periodical Theosofia of April 2008 there is a nice biography from which much information in this little text comes.

Theosofia states that Cochius lead the Theosophical Society lodge in Arnhem from 1905 until 1923. Besides having been active in Theosophy, the biography also says he was Freemason (more about that later), priest of the Free Catholic Church (a Theosophical Church so to say) and Rotarian. Like Farwerck, he was involved in the Order Of The Eastern Star until Jiddu Krishnamurti dismantled the organisation in 1929.

Cochius has progressive social ideas for his time. He helped to accomplish the disabandonment of child labour and night shifts in the factory in 1911. In the year he became director he realised employee participation, something which was unseen at that time and something which Farwerck lays claim to himself. In 1917 a staff association follows. I’m not sure when Farwerck joined the glass factory team, but he claims several of these social reforms for himself too. My guess is that he and Cochius worked on such ideas together. Another guess is that the glass factory was the ‘test environment’. Some of these reforms have found their way to Farwercks carpet factory, but perhaps Cochius pushed a bit harder to realise them.

Cochius wanted to have the factory make modern products and he hired people who would be famous such as architect Berlage and artist Mondriaan (Theosophists). I wouldn’t be surprised if these was also the circle in which Farwerck met Schlesinger, but I haven’t found anything to support that idea.

When Cochius laid down his function as the glass factory late 1930, Farwerck gave the goodbye speech.

Farwerck was shortly a member of the vegetarians union, but it was Cochius who gave a lecture about vegetarianism at the Rotary Club (see below).

Cochius was a Freemason. In spite his heavy Theosophical leanings, he was not a member of Le Droit Humain. My guess is that the reason for this is that he had already joined before mixed gender Freemasonry existed in the Netherlands. I have not been able to find out when Cochius was initiated into the Grand Orient of the Netherlands and in which lodge, but in 1908 he was published in the internal magazine De Vrijmetselaar, so my guess is he had been a member for a while by then. He appears to have been a member until his death or at least close before. It is likely he was part of the group of Theosophical Freemasons around the lauded Denier van der Gon, but Cochius was not prominent enough to receive an In Memoriam when he passed away.

In a way this is interesting. Farwerck and Cochius knew each other well. Farwerck often quotes Denier van der Gon with approval and it is not unlikely that he actually knew Denier van der Gon through Cochius (and/or Van Ginkel, who appears to have been part of a Theosophical circle of Freemasons that went beyond the Grand Orient)

Cochius and Farwerck were both there when the Rotary Club in Hilversum was founded in 1927. The periodical of the club is available online and in reports it shines through that Farwerck and Cochius knew each other well. Once he noted the rest of the group the reason for Cochius’ absence. He was ill and stayed in Switzerland for his health.

Also in these Rotary days it becomes clear that Cochius and Farwerck did not agree on everything. In 1935 a Rotary committee headed by Farwerck investigated political events in Italy. Cochius found the report thin and easy. In 1936 Cochius was even one of the Rotary members who were of the opinions that National Socialists should leave the club. Apparently his friendship with Farwerck had cooled.
Or not, since Farwercks regards to the club from Cochius who was absent because of his health, were only from 1938! It seems that in spite of their differences, the two remained in contact.

The little information gives the impression that Cochius and Farwerck have worked together on a number of levels, in business with social ideals, but also ‘spiritually’ to some extend. They may even have been friend.

As said, Cochius was Farwercks senior by 15 years and passed away already when Farwerck was 45. Still, he may have been an inspiration to some of Farwercks actions.

Source of the image.

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