When William Procter and James Gamble married sisters in Cincinnati, Ohio, it’s unlikely they had any idea just how big their futures would be. But at the behest of their father in law, the men went into business together.
Procter & Gamble, which they started in 1837, would go on to become an international force, supplying products to millions of consumers across the globe. The company had 2015 sales of $76 billion.
The company, which would become commonly known as “P&G,’’ won a contract to supply soap and candles to the Union Army during the Civil War. A couple decades later, the company developed one of its most famous brands, Ivory soap.
In the ensuing years, numerous other products would emerge, brands so powerful they would become household names: Tide detergent, Prell shampoo, Crest toothpaste, Charmin tissue paper, Downy fabric softener, Pampers diapers. The company was also well known for its sponsorship of serial shows on radio and, later, daytime television.
Along the way to becoming an international powerhouse, the company has drawn praise both for its research and development and its pioneering attitude to worker benefits, including shorter work weeks and profit sharing.
By Bob Warren