The History of Colgate Company


Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company’s growth from a minor candle and soap processor to one of the most powerful consumer products giants on the planet is the result of aggressive acquisition of other firms.

In 1806, a 23 year old English immigrant to America, William Colgate launched a tiny manufacturing facility and retail shop making and selling starch, soap and candles. The following year, Francis Smith joined him in business and the little facility was renamed Smith and Colgate.

In 1820, Colgate began experimenting with starch as a low cost filler in his hand soap to bring down cost and he soon became the largest starch manufacturer in the country.

In 1866 Colgate & Company introduced a line of perfumes and essences, and only in 1873 did they introduce toothpaste.

As its name suggest, Colgate Palmolive-Peet was the product of mergers. Its nucleus the B. J Johnson Soap Co. of Milwaukee, which was founded after civil war.

In 1926, the Johnson Co. acquired Kansas City-based Peet Brothers, which had been in operation since 1872.

Finally, in 1928, the acquisition of Colgate completed the formation of Colgate-Palmolive-Peet.

The company first expanded into Europe in the 1930s with purchase of several French and German soap makers.

It them moved into Asian during the 1950s.

In 1995, Colgate enters Central Europe and Russia, expanding into fast-growing markets. Colgate acquires Kolynos Oral Care business in Latin America and launches market-leading Sorriso toothpaste.

In 1996, Bright Smiles, Bright Futures oral health education program expands to reach 50 countries with in-school programs and mobile dental clinics.

In 1997, Colgate Total toothpaste is introduced and quickly becomes the market leader in the U.S. Only Colgate Total, with its 12-hour protection, fights a complete range of oral health problems.

In 2004, Colgate completed is purchased of privately owned European oral care company, GABA for $841 million.

Today, Colgate focuses on four core businesses: Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition. Colgate now sells its products in 222 countries and territories worldwide.
The History of Colgate Company
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Reuters: Business News