Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 136,062 pages of information and 218,544 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Procter and Gamble

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c1940s/50s. Procter and Gamble staff. 2nd row standing, 4th from right - Leonard Arnold Watts.

William Procter, a candlemaker, and James Gamble, a soapmaker, formed distinct companies. The two men, immigrants to the USA from England and Ireland respectively who had settled earlier in Cincinnati, might never have met, had they not married sisters, Olivia and Elizabeth Norris.

Since both their industries used similar resources, the Panic of 1837 caused intense competition between the two and as a result it led to discord with the family. Alexander Norris, their father-in law decided to call a meeting where he convinced his new sons-in-law to become business partners. On October 31, 1837, as a result of the suggestion, a new enterprise was born: Procter and Gamble.

1930 Acquisition of the Newcastle upon Tyne-based Thomas Hedley and Co (1905). Procter & Gamble maintained a strong link to the North East of England after this acquisition. In addition, numerous new products and brand names were introduced over time, and Procter & Gamble began branching out into new areas.

The company introduced Tide laundry detergent in 1946 and Prell shampoo in 1950.

In 1955, Procter & Gamble began selling the first toothpaste to contain fluoride, known as Crest. Branching out once again in 1957, the company purchased Charmin Paper Mills and began manufacturing toilet paper and other paper products. Once again focusing on laundry, Procter & Gamble began making Downy fabric softener in 1960 and Bounce fabric softener sheets in 1972.

One of the most revolutionary products to come out on the market was the company's Pampers, first test-marketed in 1961.

2015 UK premises at Weybridge

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