Paint Companies

Allentown Manufacturing Company

Alfred J. Breinig started making and selling paints in 1855 in Philadelphia. Two years later, after fire destroyed the Philadelphia plant, Breinig moved to nearby Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he went into business with T.G. Helfrich. They incorporated the Allentown Manufacturing Company in 1877; their primary products included ready mixed paints and bone phosphate fertilizers. The Helfrich family, and later the Stulb Paint Company, continued to produce paint at the facility until the business closed in 1995.

Armstrong & McKelvy Lead and Oil Company

In 1870, the Armstrong & McKelvy Lead and Oil Company established the Keystone White Lead Works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By 1876, they were producing two thousand tons of white lead annually. In 1891, Armstrong & McKelvy, along with a number of other lead manufacturers, incorporated as the National Lead Company, which went on to develop the Dutch Boy brand of white lead paints in 1907. In 1971, the National Lead Company changed its name to NL Industries.

Averill Chemical Paint Company

D.R. Averill of Newburg, Ohio developed a breakthrough in the paint industry when he patented the first ready-mixed paint in 1867. Available in over one hundred different shades, this ready-to-use liquid paint promised convenience, durability and beauty. Print advertisements featured customer testimonials, including that of famed businessman P.T. Barnum, who proclaimed Averill paint “far superior to any paint in use.” In fact, however, this first generation of ready-mixed paints, including Averill and its many imitators, were prone to uneven pigmenting and streaky coverage.

Bridgeport Wood Finishing Company

The Bridgeport Wood Finishing Company, makers of paints, stains, varnishes and related products, was incorporated in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1876. Granville M. Breinig (son of Dr. David Breinig, who had invented Wheeler's Patent Wood Filler) expanded the business, developing its Lithogen Silicate Paint in 1883. The paint contained silex (finely ground silica), which the company claimed made the paint resistant to tropical climates, salt air, salt water, and fire. The Bridgeport Wood Finishing Company remained in the Breinig family until 1917, when it was acquired by the DuPont Company.

Devoe & Raynolds Co., Inc.;
F.W. Devoe & Co.;
F.W. Devoe & C.T. Raynolds Company

Devoe Paint originated in 1754, when William Post opened a paint shop along the East River in New York City. Nearly a century later, Charles T. Raynolds became a co-owner in 1848, and Frederick W. Devoe, a young clerk, joined the firm in 1852. It was Devoe who became the driving force of the company. In addition to house paints, the firm also manufactured artists' paints and supplies. In the 20th century, the company pioneered the development of epoxy coatings. Devoe Paint became part of PPG Pittsburgh Paints in 2015.

DuPont Company

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, the chemical company more commonly known as DuPont, was founded by Éleuthère I. du Pont in Delaware in 1802 to produce gun powder and explosives. Starting in 1917, DuPont began to enter the paint and coatings market when it purchased Harrison Brothers Paint Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. DuPont acquired five more paint companies in the next four years, including the Bridgeport Wood Finishing Company and the New England Oil Paint and Varnish Company. In the following decades, DuPont developed automotive and industrial coatings, specialty coatings such as Teflon, and Lucite acrylic house paints. In 2015, Dow Chemical Company and DuPont announced their merger to form DowDuPont.

George D. Wetherill & Company

In 1807, John Wetherill and Samuel Budd established a paint factory and wholesale spice, drug and chemical business on the banks of the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When John Wetherill retired in 1816, his nephew George D. Wetherill (who later helped found the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1821) continued the business under his own name. By the 1880s, George D. Wetherill & Company had become primarily a paint manufacturer, developing its well-known Atlas brand of ready-mixed paints. In 1971, George D. Wetherill & Company was acquired by the Grow Chemical Corporation.

H.W. Johns Manufacturing Company;
H.W. Johns-Manville Company;
Johns-Manville Corporation

H.W. Johns Manufacturing Company, established 1858 in New York City, New York, manufactured asbestos building materials for roofs, walls, pipes, etc. "ASBESTOS" became the company’s trademark, with the letters designed to resemble the fibers of asbestos in its natural state. In 1874, the company began manufacturing liquid paints. The company's 1884 catalog advertised that "the U.S. Capitol at Washington is painted exclusively with H.W. Johns’ Asbestos Liquid White." In 1901, H.W. Johns merged with Manville Covering Company, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to form H.W. Johns-Manville Company. In 1926, the company became known as Johns-Manville Corporation.

John Lucas & Company

John Lucas & Company began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1849 as an importer of white lead and other raw materials used for making paint. The company soon began making its own products, establishing the Gibbsboro Paint, Color and Varnish Works in nearby Gibbsboro, New Jersey. The outstanding reputation of John Lucas & Company attracted the attention of the Sherwin Williams Company, which acquired control of Lucas in 1930. Although the Lucas name continued to appear on labels for many years, John Lucas & Company was eventually dissolved, and the Gibbsboro plant finally closed in 1978.

John W. Masury;
John W. Masury & Son

At the age of 22, John W. Masury started working as a clerk in a paint store in Brooklyn, New York in the 1840s. A skilled inventor and businessman, he built a thriving paint business with several partners. In 1870, he became sole owner of the business, which he operated under his own name, and in 1875 he changed the company name to John W. Masury & Son. Masury’s many innovations included the patented thin metal lid which could be easily removed from the paint can. In the 1940s, the Masury manufacturing operations were moved from Brooklyn to Baltimore, Maryland. In 1979, the Valspar Paint Corporation purchased the John W. Masury Paint Company, and the Masury brand was discontinued.

Longman & Martinez Paint Company

(see Wadsworth, Martinez & Longman)

Lowe Brothers Company

The Lowe Brothers Company was founded in 1872 by Henry C. and Houston Lowe in Dayton, Ohio. Their trademark was a blue flag with the letters H.S. (High Standard). The Sherwin Williams Company bought the Lowe Brothers Company in 1929, and continued to market Lowe Brothers products until the 1960s.

Martin Senour Company

(see Senour Paint Company)

Murphy Varnish Company

The Murphy Varnish Company was founded by Civil War veteran Franklin Murphy in Newark, New Jersey in 1865. Murphy's approach was to make a high quality varnish to compete with varnishes that previously had to be imported from England. The company expanded between the 1880s and the 1910s to include a wide variety of finishes. As his business prospered, Franklin Murphy pursued his true passion, politics, serving as governor of New Jersey from 1902 to 1905. The Murphy Varnish Company closed in 1950.

New England Oil Paint and Varnish Company

The New England Oil Paint and Varnish Company manufactured its products in Everett, Massachusetts, an industrial city just north of Boston. The company marketed their brand of paint, New England’s Best 100% Pure Paint, as containing 20% more pure white lead than any other ready mixed paint available. In 1918, the company sold its interests to the DuPont Company for $650,000.

Ohio Varnish Company

The Ohio Varnish Company was established in Cleveland in 1881, but did not gain prominence until it introduced its "Chi-Namel" brand name in 1901. Widespread advertising and in-store demonstrations promoted Chi-Namel products for coating almost every surface within the home -- walls, floors, furniture -- as well as exterior surfaces including motor boats, automobiles and airplanes. The Ohio Varnish Company was liquidated in the 1930s; however, Chi-Namel products continued to be offered under the banner of the Chi-Namel Paint and Varnish Company until at least the early 1950s.

Patton Paint Company

The Patton Paint Company was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by James E. Patton in 1855. The phrase “Patton’s Sun-Proof Paints,” registered in 1897, and the trademark smiling sun were widely used in the marketing of Patton products. In 1900, the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, wishing to expand into the coatings business, acquired an interest in the Patton Paint Company. The name 'Patton' was retained on products until 1920, when the Patton Paint Company completely merged with Pittsburgh Plate Glass; thereafter, the name ‘Patton’ was phased out. PPG Industries, today’s successor to the Patton Paint Company, still produces a line of “Sun-Proof” paints and stains, continuing the concept first developed by the Patton Paint Company in the 19th century.

Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company;
PPG Industries

The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company was founded in 1883 by Captain John Baptiste Ford and John Pitcairn, Jr., near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was the first commercially successful plate glass factory in the United States. In 1900, the company began its coatings business by acquiring an interest in the Patton Paint Company. It was a logical step, since glass and paints reached their markets through the same distribution channels. Continued growth led the company to change its name to PPG Industries in 1968. Today, PPG Industries is a leading global producer of paint, coatings, glass, fiberglass, and chemicals.

Senour Paint Company;
Senour Manufacturing Company;
Martin Senour

In 1878, Phillip and William Senour founded Senour Paint Company, a retail paint store in Chicago, Illinois. In 1884, they changed the company name to Senour Manufacturing Company, and began producing their own paints, such as the Monarch brand. By 1903, Zelotes E. Martin had become president and principal owner, and the company name was changed to Martin Senour. In 1917, the Sherwin Williams Company acquired Martin Senour. Today, Martin Senour remains part of the Sherwin Williams portfolio of brand name companies.

Sherwin Williams Company

Henry Sherwin started working in the paint business in 1866 in Cleveland, Ohio; with Edward Williams, he formed the Sherwin Williams Company in 1870. In 1877, Henry Sherwin patented the first metal paint can that could be resealed, revolutionizing the way that ready-mixed paint could be used and stored. In 1905, the company replaced its previous logo, the chameleon, with its now universally-recognized “Cover the Earth” logo. Throughout the twentieth century Sherwin Williams continued to grow and diversify, acquiring other companies, including John Lucas & Company, Lowe Brothers Company, Martin Senour, and Valspar Corporation. Today, Sherwin-Williams is one of the largest paint manufacturers in the world.

Valspar Corporation

The Valspar Corporation started as a small paint dealership in Boston, Massachusetts in 1806. It wasn't until 1906, however, that chemist L. Valentine Pulsifer developed a new clear spar varnish which he named 'Valspar.' Through a strong national advertising campaign, Valspar became a household name. It was used to coat The Spirit of St. Louis, which carried Charles Lindbergh on the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. In 1932, the Valspar Corporation was formed, taking on the name of its most successful product. In the following decades, Valspar continued to prosper through a series of mergers and acquisitions. In 2016, Sherwin-Williams announced that it agreed to acquire Valspar for $9.3 billion.

Wadsworth Howland & Company

Wadsworth Howland & Company, established by Samuel Wadsworth in 1845 in Boston, Massachusetts, produced paints, varnishes, and painters' supplies. The company was also a manufacturer, importer and dealer of artists' materials and drafting instruments. During the early 20th century, their logo of a pilgrim holding a bucket and paint brush was widely used to market their Bay State brand of paints and varnishes. In 1925, Wadsworth Howland became a subsidiary of F.W. Devoe & C.T. Raynolds Company.

Wadsworth, Martinez & Longman;
Longman & Martinez Paint Company

Daniel Wadsworth, Aristides Martinez and Walter Longman founded the paint manufacturing company Wadsworth, Martinez & Longman, which originated in Brooklyn, New York in 1852. In 1884, the company name was changed to Longman & Martinez. Their early paints were sold as a semi-paste to which consumers added their own linseed oil, thereby saving money. Longman & Martinez continued to operate at least through the first half of the 20th century.

Ziegler & Smith

Henry S. Ziegler and Jacob H. Smith founded the firm Ziegler & Smith, a wholesale drug, paint and glass company active in Philadelphia in the 1860s and ‘70s. At their factory, the Pennsylvania Lead and Color Works, they produced Pure Liberty White Lead, “...unsurpassed for whiteness, fine gloss, durability, firmness and evenness of surface.” In addition to lead, Ziegler & Smith also manufactured and imported a wide variety of other products, including zinc, colors, putty, oils, varnishes, glass, drugs, wheel grease, and wash powder.