Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Union Carbide Corporation

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1898 The Union Carbide Company was formed

1917 Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation was incorporated, acquiring Linde Air Products Co. (the US subsidiary of Linde AG), National Carbon Co., Inc., Prest-O-Lite Co., Inc., and Union Carbide Company.

1919 George Curme filed the first patent for commercial preparation of ethylene.

1920 Union Carbide established Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Corporation; also, the first commercial ethylene plant was completed at Clendenin, West Virginia.

1923 Started to build a commercial scale plant at South Charleston, W. Va.

1939 Bakelite Corporation merged into Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation.

1941 Chemical production began at Texas City, Texas.

1947 Union Carbide purchased plant in Institute, W. Va., which it had previously built and operated for the government for the production of butadiene and styrene

1954 Chemical production began at Seadrift, Texas.

1957 Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation changed its name to Union Carbide Corporation.

1959 Formation of the Union Carbide Consumer Products Co.

1960s Established several new divisions - Electronics, Hydrocarbons, Ferroalloys, Mining and Metals Division.

Acquired Jennat Corporation, producer of latex.

1977 Announced UNIPOL Process technology for making polyethylene.

1978 Sold nearly all of its European petrochemical operations to BP Chemicals Ltd.

1981 Sold part of the metals business.

1983 The UNIPOL Process technology was expanded to include polypropylene.

1984 In December, a gas leak at a plant in Bhopal, India, resulted in tragic loss of life.

Union Carbide divested a number of businesses: films packaging, major portions of metals business, battery products, speciality polymers and composites, home and automotive products and agricultural products business.

Purchased Amerchol Corporation from CPC International.

1988 Allied-Signal and Union Carbide formed the UOP joint venture. UOP provides process technology, catalysts and adsorbents to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, gas-processing and energy industries.

1989 The Carbon products and industrial gases businesses become subsidiaries. The Carbon products business was renamed UCAR Carbon Company and the industrial gas business was called Union Carbide Industrial Gases Inc. On July 1st Union Carbide Corporation becomes a holding company, owning these two subsidiaries plus Union Carbide Chemicals and Plastics Company, Inc.

1990 Urethane polyether polyols and propylene glycol business were sold to Arco Chemcial Co. UCC purchased Triton surfactant and alkylphenol business from Rohm & Haas.

1991 Mitsubishi Corporation acquired a 50 percent stake in UCAR Carbon; UCAR Carbon later becomes a publicly traded independent company.

1992 Union Carbide Industrial Gases was spun-off as an independent company. Its name was changed to Praxair, Inc.

1994 Alberta and Orient Glycol Company Ltd. opened an ethylene glycol plant at Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. Alberta & Orient Glycol is a joint venture between Union Carbide (50%), Far Eastern Textile Ltd. (25%) and Mitsui & Company Ltd. (25%).

1995 UCC acquired ethylene oxide and derivatives businesses, including facilities in the United Kingdom, from ICI.

Union Carbide became a partner in Polimeri Europa S.r.l., a 50-50 ethylene/polyethylene joint venture between Union Carbide and EniChem S.p.A. to produce polyethylene for the European market.

Union Carbide formed Asian Acetyls Company, Ltd. a joint venture in Korea with BP Chemicals and Samsung Fine Chemicals Company to manufacture vinyl acetate monomer.

Union Carbide and two partners (Petrochemical Industries Company and Boubyan Petrochemical, both of Kuwait) formed Equate Petrochemical Company. The new firm would build and operate a petrochemicals complex in Kuwait; products include ethylene, polyethylene and ethylene glycol.

1996 Purchase of the polypropylene assets and business of Shell Oil Company.

1997 Union Carbide and Exxon Chemical Company launched a joint venture, Univation Technologies, for the licensing of polyethylene technology and for research, development and commercialization of metallocene and other advanced catalysts for the production of polyethylene. The venture is also the licensing agent for Union Carbide's UNIPOL Process technology for polypropylene.

1998 UCC and Petronas (the national oil company of Malaysia) formed a joint venture to build a new petrochemical complex in Malaysia. The planned complex would include an olefins cracker and have facilities for production of ethylene oxide and its derivatives and oxo-alcohols and oxo-derivatives, primarily serving solvents and intermediates end-uses.

2001 Union Carbide Corporation became a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Union Carbide history