Sunday, April 15, 2012

"If we knew what it was we were doing,

it would not be called research, would it?" ~Albert Einstein

You never know where research will take you. I am currently reading my students' research papers...our culmination of a semester working with the phrase "forbidden fruit." I love to look something up and be amazed by what I discover. And...that brings me to today's tidbit. I have boxes of treasures that I have never unpacked...those box lots from auction that you just tuck in the shed. Well, I have started my archaeological digs, and here is a find!Based on research, I discovered that in 1865, Robert H. Dicks and Elmer Wiggim began producing sealing wax for food-canning out of Dicks' garage in Dayton, Ohio. In those days before refrigeration and commercially prepared foods, canning was a widespread practice and demand for their product was high. In 1906, Dicks bought out Wiggim and joined with George Pontius, incorporating their partnership in 1913 as the Dicks-Pontius Company.
When Robert Dicks died, his son John entered the business and expanded it to include putty and caulk manufacturing in bulk form. (You have to wonder how he got from sealing wax on jars to putty and caulk...those kids...always thinking of silly things!)

The Dicks-Pontius Company revolutionized the home repair products market in the 1940's and 50's through its marketing and product development including moving the industry to marketing caulks and sealants in disposable cartridges. Through the 1950's, the company grew through several acquisitions, including a merger with the Chicago-based Armstrong Company in 1957. The resulting entity was renamed Dicks-Armstrong-Pontius, which was eventually shortened to the brand name DAP. The company continued its path of innovative growth, introducing new products and expanding its reach. In 1964, DAP pioneered the development of latex caulking compounds followed with acrylic latex technology breakthroughs in 1970 and advanced acrylic latex technology introductions in 1984.

Through innovation and acquisition, the company continued to expand its product line. DAP entered into an exclusive marketing agreement with the worldwide leader in silicone technology in 1980 to market a full line of silicone sealants. In the mid 1980's, Weldwood® branded adhesives came into the fold. Subsequently, the Plastic Wood® brand was integrated into the DAP portfolio of products in the 90's. Finally, the first decade of the twenty first century led to an exclusive marketing agreement with the worldwide leader in antimicrobial technology, Microban International, as well as the integration of the Phenoseal® brand of adhesive caulk.

See...American companies do exist...and to go from canning wax to an industry leader in sealants is an accomplishment. So, the next time you caulk that window or shower door, you are supporting a company with a long history...and do you notice how all these American companies start in garages??? (Think Microsoft, Google, Apple...) Maybe we need to build garages not offices!

"An invention has to make sense in the world it finishes in, not in the world it started." Tim O'Reilly

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