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Our history 

Arkema Inc. was officially launched in 2004 but has been producing industry and specialty chemicals since the 1800s.

Our history since 1850



  • Five Philadelphia Quakers establish the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company to produce lye. Over the next several decades, the company develops into a manufacturer of various chemicals for a range of industries.


  • Pennsylvania Salt shipped 500 barrels of oil to London, the first refined petroleum exported from the United States.


  • Theodore Armstrong, one of the principals of the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company, purchased the "Wyandotte" property in Riverview, MI for an operating facility. The 100-acre property contained large salt deposits, estimated as able to supply 180,000 tons a year for 150 years. The first product manufactured at this facility was caustic soda (lye) and chlorine as a byproduct. In addition, salt was also mined and sold to the meatpacking industry.


  • Th. Goldschmidt of Germany and the American Can Company form a joint venture, Goldschmidt Detinning Company, which is the first to produce liquid chlorine in the United States. Goldschmidt Detinning needs chlorine gas from the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company’s facility in Wyandotte, Michigan, and chooses this location for their site.


  • Home of the Wire Mills Production Department, the Homer, NY plant of R. H. Miller Company began operations. 


  • Goldschmidt Company sells its U.S. holdings, which becomes Metal & Thermit, named for the Thermit® process that the company uses for welding.


  • Pennsylvania Salt opened its caustic soda and liquid chlorine plant in Tacoma, WA.


  • In Monrovia, CA, Pennsylvania Salt began manufacturing post-harvest agrichemicals. Pennsylvania Salt acquired the Cornwell Heights, PA plant.

  • A division of the Rohm and Haas Company begins manufacturing Plexiglas® acrylic resins in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania Salt constructed a plant in Portland, OR to produce chlorates and commodity chemicals.




  • Pennsylvania Salt began operations in the Houston, TX area.


  • A plant in Memphis, TN began manufacturing hydrogen peroxide, with a capacity of 14 million pounds per year.

  • Pennsylvania Salt starts up its Geneseo, New York, facility, which manufactures a wide range of organic peroxides.


  • Pennsylvania Salt acquires Index Chemical Company of Houston, Texas, and becomes the first U.S. company with commercial production of synthetic organic sulfur compounds, including ethyl and methyl mercaptans.


  • Pennsylvania Salt enters the refrigeration and aerosol propellant markets.
  • H.D. Justi & Son, Inc., acquires the polymer and related dental products business of Wallace A. Erikson Company of Chicago, Illinois. The company reorganizes, changes its name to Specialty Resins, Inc., and relocates to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


  • Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company changes its name to Pennsalt Chemicals Corporation.
  • Specialty Resins, Inc. changes its name to Sartomer Resins, Inc.


  • Pennsalt constructed a plant in Portland, OR for the production of ammonium perchlorate for solid propellant used in missiles. The company also increased hydrofluoric acid facilities in Calvert City, KY by 50% and began its industrial lubricant operations in Oakville, Ontario.
  • Metals and Thermit Company opened a plant in Carrollton, KY producing organotin chemicals.




  • Production facilities for organic sulfur chemicals expanded at Pennsalt's Houston, TX plant.
  • Pennsalt's technical service laboratories were transferred to King of Prussia, PA with the completion of the first unit of a new $9 million technology center.


  • Metal & Thermit becomes M&T Chemicals Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Can Company.


  • Pennsalt completed plant for the production of Kynar® polyvinylide fluoride resin at Calvert City, KY.
  • Racon, Inc. began refrigerant manufacturing operations in Wichita, KS.


  • Two Pennsalt specialty resin units located within the Equistar Chemicals complex in Channelview, TX began production of SMA® resins.


  • Pennsalt acquired R.H. Miller Company, Homer, NY a leading supplier of wire drawing lubricants.


  • The Rohm and Haas Company begins manufacturing Plexiglas® acrylic resins in Louisville, Kentucky.


  • Wallace & Tiernan Inc. and Pennsalt Chemicals Corporation merge and become Pennwalt Corporation, which is a major supplier to the pharmaceutical and equipment industries.
  • Viking Chemical Company began operating the epoxidized resin plant in Blooming Prairie, MN.



  • Pennwalt moved its corporate headquarters to a new building at Three Parkway in Philadelphia.


  • Rilsan Industrial, Inc., a subsidiary of Elf Aquitaine, opens a new plant in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, to produce Rilsan® polyamide 11.
  • M&T introduces Durastrength® 200 impact modifier, which soon becomes the leading impact modifier in the rapidly growing rigid PVC siding and window profile markets.
  • Pennwalt opened a new plant for the production of low-temperature polymerization initiators in Geneseo, NY.


  • A major expansion of Pennwalt's Houston mercaptan plant was completed.


  • Pennwalt acquired Ozark-Mahoning, Tulsa, OK the largest producer of fluorspar in the U.S.and manufacturer of fluorine-bearing specialties.


  • Pennwalt starts up a methyl and ethyl mercaptans plant in Beaumont, Texas, and becomes the world's leading producer of these chemical intermediates.

  • Pennwalt starts up the industry’s first continuous process for manufacturing peroxydicarbonates at its plant in Geneseo, New York.

  • Pennwalt formed a thio and fine chemicals division in recognition of the growing sales specialization needed to penetrate vital growth markets.

  • The Rohm and Haas Company began manufacturing Plexiglas® acrylic resins in Kensington, CT. (In October 1992, Rohm and Haas and Elf Atochem S.A. became partners in the AtoHaas joint venture for the manufacture of Plexiglas acrylics. In 1998, Elf Atochem became the sole owner of the Plexiglas® business).


  • Elf Aquitaine acquires M&T Chemicals Inc.


  • Pennwalt starts operations in Mexico by founding Petroquimica Pennwalt, S.A. de C.V.
  • Pennwalt announced plans for a new 10-million-pound continuous process peroxyester facility at Crosby, TX. The plant was completed in 1979.

  • New mercaptan plants at Beaumont, TX and at the Pennwalt Holland B.V. subsidiary were completed.



  • M&T Chemicals Inc. opens its Mobile, Alabama, plant to manufacture plastic additives.
  • Elf Aquitaine starts operations in Mexico as Quimica Franco Mexicana, S.A. de C.V.


  • M&T Chemicals Inc. and Mitsubishi Rayon of Japan form a joint venture, establishing Metco North America to produce acrylic impact modifiers in Mobile, Alabama.


  • Elf Aquitaine forms Atochem Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary and maker of industrial and specialty chemicals.


  • Operations begin in Matamoros, Mexico, for the production of Poly(methyl methacrylate) cast sheets or PMMA by Rohm and Haas. 


  • Elf Atochem S.A. and Air Liquide S.A. began hydrogen peroxide operations in Bécancour, Québec, Canada as Oxychem Canada, Inc.


  • Elf Atochem S.A. and Air Liquide S.A. begin hydrogen peroxide operations in Bécancour, Québec, Canada, as Oxychem Canada, Inc.
  • Ato Peroxidos de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. begins operations in Veracruz, Mexico, producing Luperox® organic peroxides
  • A division of the Rohm and Haas Company began manufacturing Plexiglas® acrylic sheets in Matamoros, Mexico.



  • Atochem Inc. purchases Racon Incorporated, operator of a refrigerants plant in Wichita, Kansas.
  • Pennwalt merges with M&T Chemicals Inc., and Atochem Inc. to form Atochem North America, Inc. on December 31. 



  • Orkem, the parent of Sartomer Company, Inc., is split between Total S.A. and Elf Aquitaine as required by the French government. Sartomer becomes part of France-based Total S.A.
  • Atochem North America and Engelhard Corporation form M&T Harshaw, a metal-plating joint venture in Somerset, New Jersey. 


  • M&T Harshaw was formed as a 60/40 joint venture between Atochem and Englehard Corporation in the metal plating business.


  • Atochem North America, Inc. changes its name to Elf Atochem North America, Inc.
  • Elf Atochem S.A. and Rohm and Haas form a global joint venture, AtoHaas, to produce and sell acrylic and polycarbonate sheet products and acrylic molding resins.

  • Oxychem Canada, Inc., Elf Atochem's joint venture with Air Liquide at Bécancour, Québec is renamed Chemprox Chemical, Inc.


  • Elf Atochem acquires Engelhard’s interest in the M&T Harshaw joint venture and Schering’s electroplating business. These businesses are combined to form Atotech.
  • Elf Atochem North America moved its headquarters from Three Parkway to 2000 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

  • Elf Atochem North America completed the multi-purpose unit (MPU) facility at the Crosby, TX plant.


  • Elf Atochem North America, Inc. and Nippon Shokubai of Japan form a joint venture, American Acryl, to produce acrylic acid in Pasadena, Texas.
  • Elf Atochem North America completed the construction of its largest plant for the manufacture of Forane® 134a refrigerant in Calvert City, KY.


  • Elf Atochem S.A. acquires Rohm and Haas’ share of AtoHaas. The new division is named Atoglas.
  • Elf Atochem acquires Air Liquide’s share of the hydrogen peroxide joint venture Chemprox Chimie (formerly Oxychem Canada, Inc.).
  • Elf Atochem purchases DuPont’s hydrogen peroxide plant in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Elf Atochem North America, Inc. announces the creation of ATO Portland.


  • TotalFina S.A. purchases 95 percent of the shares of Elf Aquitaine.



  • TotalFina and Elf Aquitaine reorganize to form TotalFinaElf, the world’s fourth-largest oil company. The chemical operations combine to create Atofina, and Elf Atochem North America becomes Atofina Chemicals, Inc.


  • Total announces a plan to spin off a portion of the Atofina chemical business and unveils the new company’s name: Arkema. Arkema Inc. is the company’s subsidiary in North America.
  • Atoglas takes on a new name and becomes Altuglas International, a subsidiary of Arkema Group


  • Total and its affiliates donate $1 million to the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Katrina effort.


  • On May 18, Arkema’s IPO on the Paris stock exchange marks the official birth of the company.


  • Arkema acquires the blending and distribution assets of U.S.-based Odor Tech Inc.
  • The company celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Plexiglas® acrylic sheet and resin brand.



  • Arkema completes the acquisition of two businesses: Dow acrylic acid and esters plant, based in Pasadena, Texas, and its specialty latex business in North America.


  • Arkema completes the acquisition of Total’s specialty resins businesses, which includes Cray Valley, Cook Composites & Polymers, and Sartomer.
  • Arkema Inc. moves its headquarters from Philadelphia, PA to its R&D facility in King of Prussia, PA in order to more closely align business with research.


  • Arkema finalizes the divestiture of its tin stabilizer and catalyst businesses to PMC Group.
  • The Group acquires a production plant for acrylic emulsions and additives from Resicryl in Brazil.


  • The company announces the successful start-up of its acrylic acid capacity expansion at its Clear Lake plant in Pasadena, Texas.


  • Arkema’s start-up of a methyl acrylate production facility in Clear Lake, Texas, strengthens the company’s position in acrylics in the U.S.


  • Arkema acquires Bostik, the world’s third-largest adhesives company, with its North American headquarters in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and 13 plants in the Americas.
  • The company celebrates 50 years of the Kynar 500® PVDF resin brand.


  • Arkema acquires Den Braven, including Siroflex, an adhesives producer based in Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Arkema celebrates its 10-year anniversary with events held around the world at all Arkema and subsidiary sites.


  • Arkema’s flagship Rilsan® polyamide 11 brand celebrates its 70th birthday.

    Arkema announces expansion of fluoropolymer (Kynar® PVDF) production capacities in Calvert City: The expansion is fueled by strong demand in the new energies and water management markets.

  • Arkema celebrates the 70th birthday of the flagship Rilsan® polyamide 11 brand.

  • The Arkema Clear Lake, Texas acrylics facility is upgraded.


  • Bostik completes the acquisition of XL Brands, a leader in flooring adhesives in the U.S.
  • Arkema opens a 3D Printing Center of Excellence at its Sartomer site in Exton, Pennsylvania.


  • Arkema acquires ArrMaz, based in Mulberry, Florida, a leader in specialty surfactants for crop nutrition, mining, and infrastructure markets.