|Description||The firm of Chesebrough-Ponds Inc. was formed on 1 July 1955 through the merger of two separate New York businesses: the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company Consolidated and the Pond's Extract Company. The UK business of Chesebrough-Ponds Ltd was created through a corresponding amalgamation of the UK counterparts of these American parent companies on 31 December 1955; the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company Ltd changed its name to Chesebrough-Ponds Ltd and the business of Pond's Extract Co. Ltd was transferred to this company.|
The Chesebrough Manufacturing Company Consolidated was founded by Robert Chesebrough, who by 1870 had perfected a product he called petroleum jelly based on the substance formed on steel rods of oil pumps. The brand name for this product, Vaseline, was registered as a trademark in 1877 in the UK and 1878 in the US [For further details concerning the history of Chesebrough Manufacturing Company Consolidated see Introduction to EFL/CP/CH].
The Pond's Extract Company dates back to 1846 when Theron T. Pond set up business to manufacture Pond's Extract; in 1872 the Pond's Extract Company was formed with offices and a factory in New York and a distillery in Connecticut. Pond's Cold Cream and Vanishing Cream were introduced in America in 1907 and Europe in 1915. In the 1930s and 1940s the company branched out into cosmetics including the Dreamflower and Angelface ranges [For further details concerning the history of Pond's Extract Company see historical information sheet]
EXPANSION AND ACQUISITIONS
At the time of the merger the two companies were producing a wide range of products in the US and internationally. Pond's manufactured 16 products in the cosmetics field, whilst Chesebrough produced 25 toiletries and medicinal products under the Vaseline trademark. Following the merger of the two firms a series of further acquisitions were made that greatly expanded the new company's brand portfolio.
1958 - The first of these was the acquisition of Prince Matchabelli Inc, the fragrances and toiletries division of Vick Chemical Co., associated with fragrances such as Cachet, Pastale and Aviance on 30 September 1958.
1959 - The Aziza division of Mauvel Ltd, an eye cosmetics manufacturer which had initially specialised in theatrical make-up, was bought and its operations were amalgamated with those of Prince Matchabelli.
1960 - The Northam Warren Corporation was acquired, adding two major brand names to the company's list: Cutex nail care range and Odorono deodorant. Cutex cuticle remover had been developed by Northam Warren as a new product in 1911. As demand increased Warren had added nail polishes to the Cutex range, introducing the first liquid nail polish in 1916. In 1928 Northam Warren had bought another revolutionary product, a deodorant called Odorono that had been developed by a doctor wishing to clear perspiration from his hands whilst performing operations.
1962 - The firm of Q-Tips Inc., manufacturer of the ready-to-use cotton swabs after which the company was named, which had first been developed in the 1920s, was bought by Chesebrough-Ponds in 1962.
1964 - Chesebrough-Ponds Ltd brought its various manufacturing and distribution operations under one roof, after a new extension was completed at the company's Willesden factory.
1966 - Faichney Instrument Corporation, Ballo Thermometer company (leading markers of Mercury fever thermometers), and Lily White Sales Co. Inc. (makers of various hospital supplies) joined Chesebrough-Ponds.
The Erno Laszlo Institute Inc., manufacturer of high-quality skin treatments, skin creams and lotions, was acquired.
1968 - Ragu Packaging Co. was acquired and the company moved into the packaged food business.
1973 - The company's product line broadened to encompass children's clothing with the acquisition of Health-Tex Inc.
1974 - Adolph's Ltd was added to the company's fast growing packaged food division.
1978 - This July, with the acquisition of G H Bass & Co of Wilton, Maine, the company moved into the casual footwear business.
1981 - On 5 May production ended at the UK Alfreton factory, and all manufacture in the UK was transferred to Willesden. The Willesden site was refurbished to cater for the production of Prince Matchabelli products. The company in the UK was realigned from the Anglo-African area to the Chesebrough-Ponds European area. In the same year Cutex nail polish production was moved to a factory in Monaco.
1982 - This year saw the acquisition of Prince Manufacturing Inc, the makers of Prince Tennis racquets.
1984 - The Polymer Corporation, a manufacturer of engineered plastic was acquired, as well as the Imperial Reading Corp, a maker of children's clothing under the Brittania label.
This February Chesebrough-Ponds acquired the Stauffer Chemical Company. This company originated in 1886, when John Stauffer refined discarded cliff stone ballast from San Francisco Bay for industrial use.
ACQUISITION BY UNILEVER
The firm of Chesebrough-Ponds was acquired by Unilever on 10 February 1987 and integrated into the business of Elida Gibbs. At the time of this acquisition the business of Chesebrough-Ponds was organised into two divisions: Health and Beauty Products, and Cosmetics and Fragrances, each with their own selling teams. The best known UK brands at the time of the acquisition included Vaseline, Pond's, Rave, and Cutex. The company had plants in London, Welwyn Garden City, Bedford, and Lawford Manningtree (Essex).
In 1988 a new unit was launched for the purpose of promoting Chesebrough-Ponds fragrances and cosmetics, whilst Chesebrough-Pond's toiletry brands, including Pond's and Vaseline, were to be integrated into the Elida Gibbs business.
Towards the end of 1989 Chesebrough-Ponds lines were in the process of being moved from the old Willesden factory to the Elida Gibbs site at Seacroft, Leeds. The Willesden factory was finally closed in 1990.
In 1998 the sale of the Cutex range to Carson Inc. marked the decision for Chesebrough-Pond's to exit the cosmetics business in order to concentrate on core brands in Oral, Hair, Deodorants/Male toiletries and Skin Care.