Heinrich Kuhn originally came from Rüti-Rain, and was one of six children. His parents’ farm could not provide a livelihood for all the offspring, so Heinrich and two of his brother sought alternative employment.
After completing an apprenticeship as a metalworker with Heinrich Bosshard in Bischofszell, Heinrich Kuhn managed to secure a place at the Technology College in Winterthur. The course of study, which lasted for six semesters, was not easy, as he had to work in order to pay back his parents for his board and lodging. Heinrich had to lead the cattle to pasture at 4am, clean the stables, and then catch the train to Winterthur – where he must often have felt like falling asleep at his desk.
In 1898, with his diploma in his pocket, Heinrich Kuhn emigrated to the Alsace. Here, the mechanical engineer became a mining engineer. Before the war, the German region was ceded to France, and the deep drilling company «gute Hoffnung», owned by the Société de Sondages, was renamed «Bonne Espérance». Kuhn’s work was utterly destroyed during the first world war; even the life insurance policies he had taken out were made worthless by inflation.