Glidden (paints)

Glidden (paints)

The Glidden Company was a Cleveland-based company founded in 1875 by Francis Harrington Glidden, Levi Rackett and Thomas Bolles, initially as a varnish-making business, which later diversified into the production of chemicals and foodstuffs. Today the brand-name "Glidden" is owned by Imperial Chemical Industries.


Nineteenth century

The Glidden Company was started in 1875 when Francis Harrington Glidden (1832-1922), Levi Rackett, and Thomas Bolles founded a Cleveland varnish-making business, which they called Glidden, Brackett & Co. The business produced 1,000 gallons of varnish every week and made deliveries via horse and wagon. As partners retired over the years, the company's name went through several changes until 1894, when it became The Glidden Varnish Company. By that time, Glidden employed 18 workers in its factory and was turning out a variety of industrial finishes for furniture, pianos, carriages, and wagons.

In 1895 the company introduced Jap-A-Lac, a color varnish for the home market. Gradually gaining market share, Jap-A-Lac became one of the better-known varnish brands in 1903, when Glidden established a $60,000 advertising account for the product.

Twentieth century

At the age of 85, Francis Glidden retired from the business, turning the company over to Adrian D. Joyce and his associates after a public sale. Joyce became president of The Glidden Company when it was incorporated in 1917, a position in which he would remain until 1950, when his son, Dwight P. Joyce, succeeded him. Within the first two years of his career as the head of Glidden, Adrian Joyce oversaw the acquisition of ten paint and varnish companies across the country. The companies, some of which had been established as early as the 1850s, included the Adams & Elting Co., American Paint Works, T.L. Blood & Co., Campbell Paint & Varnish Co., Forest City Paint & Varnish Co., Heath & Milligan Manufacturing Co., Heath & Milligan Manufacturing Co. of California, Nubian Paint & Varnish Co., Twin City Varnish Co., and A. Wilhelm Co.

Glidden spent the 1920s integrating vertically through the acquisition of chemical and pigment companies. In 1921, Glidden formed the Chemical & Pigment Co., a subsidiary that was supplanted with the 1924 purchase of Euston Lead Co. in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Two years later, the National Barium Company and St. Louis Lithophone Company were added to the roster of companies, and in 1927 Glidden formed the California Zinc Company. Afterthought Zinc Mining Company and The Metals Refining Company in Hammond, Indiana rounded out Glidden's chemicals and pigments purchases for the decade.

This nine-year buildup brought Glidden into the ranks of the leading producers of lithophone, a white pigment produced through the combination of barium and zinc ore derivatives. The substance was widely used in the paint, rubber, and linoleum industries. The company's Chemical & Pigment operations also produced: pigments for ceramics, printing ink, and automotive industries. These operations allowed Glidden to supply the paint manufacturing business as well as several other industries.

Acquisitions continued throughout the 1920s with the purchase of The Chemical & Pigment Co., Inc., The Diamond Paint Co., Euston Lead Co., Metals Refining Co., and the Mamolith Carbon Paint Co. Inc. Glidden spent the years before the Great Depression developing lacquers and coatings of all types, for decoration and preservation of wood and metal surfaces.

The Glidden Food Products Company was formed in 1920. This subsidiary refined vegetable oils and produced oleomargarine. By the onset of the Great Depression, Glidden had formed a conglomerate that was able to purchase smaller companies disadvantaged by the economic turmoil of the time. In 1929 Glidden acquired the assets of Voco Nut Oil Products, Inc., Wisconsin Food Products Co., Troco Co. of Illinois, Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Co.'s vegetable oil refinery, and E.R. Dunham Manufacturing Co. The purchase of Durkee & Co., a leading manufacturer of salad dressings, meat sauces, pickles, spices, and condiments, for $1.8 million in mid-1929 precipitated a name change for Glidden's food subsidiary to Durkee Famous Foods, Inc. Durkee was widely known as the maker of Durkee Famous Sauce, reportedly a favorite of President Abraham Lincoln. Glidden and Durkee would enjoy a half-century of cooperation.

Late in 1929, the operations of the Portland Vegetable Oil Mills Company were incorporated into Durkee's business, and in 1933 the Van Camp Oil Co. was rescued from bankruptcy and added to Durkee's long list of operating companies. All of Durkee's assets were later acquired by Glidden in 1936, when the subsidiary became a division. In the meantime, Glidden's Chemical & Pigment business continued to grow, via the 1932 acquisition of Nelio-Resin Corp., manufacturer of a patented combination of turpentine and resin. A joint venture with Metal & Thermit Corp. of New York to form American Zirconium Corp. in 1933 further enhanced these operations. Nelio-Resin was brought into Glidden as a division in 1935, and in 1936 the Chemical & Pigment Co. was reorganized as a division. Glidden's pre-World War II chemicals acquisitions were rounded out in 1938 with the purchase of pine tar and turpentine producer Southern Pine Chemical Co.

Glidden also branched out into the soybean business, building a soybean oil extraction plant in Chicago in 1934. The operations were incorporated as Glidden's Holland Mills, Inc. subsidiary three years later. The versatile soybean business complemented both the paint and foods operations: soybean oil was used in the production of paint and linoleum as well as in margarine. Furthermore, Glidden was one of only two American companies licensed to use a German process for producing lecithin, a soybean oil byproduct used by paint and rubber as well as candy and margarine makers. Soybean flour and proteins were used in the production of plastics, paper coatings and sizings, and synthetic resins. By the mid-1940s, Glidden had developed a full line of soy-protein and water-based paints. In 1938 Glidden was able to reorganize Holland Mills as a division, but just one year later, the plant was destroyed by fire.

The company emerged from the Great Depression with $50.17 million in sales and $1.73 million in net income in 1940. During that decade, Glidden expanded the operations of its three divisions through the acquisition of the Yadkin Valley Ilmenite Co., a mining concern that supplemented the Chemicals & Pigments Division, and the remaining interest in the American Zirconium Corp. joint venture. The soybean business was eventually rebuilt through the acquisition of Standard Cereal Co.'s Indianapolis plant, and the construction of a hydrogen plant in New Jersey enhanced Durkee's vertical integration for the production of hydrogenated oils.

By the end of World War II, Glidden was a leading manufacturer of margarine. Its spreads were sold under the Durkee, Troco, and Dinner Bell tradenames. Margarine sales made up a substantial portion of the Durkee division's total revenue. The acquisitions of the 1930s and 1940s tripled Glidden's sales from $50.17 million in 1940 to over $170 million in 1945.

The Glidden brand is now owned by ICI.

oy Products Division

At a daily output of 40 tons, the Soy Products Division was at that time the most profitable at Glidden. Food-grade soy protein isolate first became available on October 2, 1959 with the dedication of Central Soya's edible soy isolate, Promine D, production facility on the Glidden Company industrial site in Chicago. An edible soy isolate and edible spun soy fiber has also been available since 1960 from Ralston Purina Company of St. Louis, which had hired Robert Boyer and Frank Calvert. In 1987, PTI became the world's leading maker of isolated soy protein. In 2003, Central Soya's (Bunge) Protein Division, joined/merged with DuPont's soy protein (Solae) business, which in 1997 had acquired Ralston Purina's soy division, Protein Technologies International (PTI), St. Louis, Missouri. In 1958, Central Soya of Fort Wayne, Indiana acquired Julian's Soy Products Division (Chemurgy) of Glidden Company, Chicago, Illinois. Eighth Continent, an ersatz milk derived from soy, is a combined "venture" product of DuPont's Solae, protein isolate and General Mills with a production facility in Minneapolis.


-Glidden is the official jersey sponsor of the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

External links

* [ Glidden home page]
* [ ICI Paints home page]
* [ company history]

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