Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Nalco Chemical Co.
Nalco Chemical Co.

Nalco Chemical Co.

In 1920, Herbert A. Kern founded the Chicago Chemical Co., which sold water-treatment chemicals such as sodium aluminate. Two years later, P. Wilson Evans started the Aluminate Sales Corp. In 1928, a merger between these two companies created the National Aluminate Corp., based in Chicago. Annual sales neared $4 million by the end of the 1930s, and the company continued to grow thereafter. By 1959, when the company's name changed to Nalco Chemical, annual sales approached $50 million. Sales rose to $400 million by the mid-1970s, when Nalco—now a Fortune 500 company operating on a global scale—had about 1,700 workers in the Chicago area. In the 1980s, still specializing in the production of water-treatment chemicals, the company built a large new technical center in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. At the end of the 1990s, Nalco was purchased by Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, a French company. Shortly thereafter, the company's name was changed to Ondeo Nalco, reflecting the name for its parent company's water-treatment divisions. As of the early 2000s, Nalco maintained its Naperville headquarters and continued to be a world leader in its field.