The business had already changed address several times before settling in Ivoryd ale, St. Bernard, along the Mill Creek, where our Cincinnati site has been located since the mid-1880s. The company was later named Emery Chemical Company, and subsequently, in 1887, the Emery Candle Company, setting in motion a legacy in manufacturing of renewable-based solutions we are known for today.
When the company’s first full-time chemist, Dr. Ernst Twitchell was hired in 1886, the Emery company was already known for its successful manufacturing of sturdier candles, Elaine oil (oleic acid) and sweetwater (glycerine). Dominating also the wool lubricants business, it had an enviable international business that saw it selling more candles in Germany than in the state of Ohio. After Jack Emery came on board, he consolidated the Emery Candle Company, Twitchell Process Company and Duratone Company into Emery Industries Inc. in 1935.
While the company was growing and changing through mergers and acquisitions, a different set of events was unfolding in Holthausen, Germany. Another family-owned empire started its first fatty acid/ hydrolysis plant based on the Twitchell Process on December 18, 1909. The Henkel Group went on to establish its presence and manufacturing plants in, among others, Düsseldorf, Loxstedt and Malaysia. In 1989, Henkel KGaA, the holding company for the Henkel Group, acquired the Emery division from Quantum, strengthening its leadership in oleochemical-based materials.
In 2005, the entity was called Cognis, and it entered into an equal joint venture with Golden Hope Plantation (later Sime Darby Plantation) and became Cognis Oleochemicals (M) Sdn Bhd (COM). The manufacturing sites at Cincinnati, Düsseldorf, Loxstedt, Toronto and Malaysia were transferred to COM, transforming it into the biggest oleochemical player in Malaysia and second largest fatty acid producer in the world. In 2008, Goldman Sachs sold its shares to PTT Global Chemical, starting another era of this evolving brand.
Capitalizing on the company’s rich heritage, shareholders Sime Darby Plantation and PTT Global Chemical rebranded the company to “Emery Oleochemicals” in 2009 and the Emery name reemerged once again.
Read more about our history of Expansion & Growth in the Global section of our 175th Anniversary commemorative publication titled “Evolution of a Legacy ”.