Hercules Inc.

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Hercules Incorporated
IndustryChemistry
Fate
Company Information
Successor
Founded1912 by T.W Bacchus
HeadquartersHercules Plaza,
Wilmington, DE, USA 19894
Key peopleCraig A. Rogerson, President and CEO
Allen A. Spizzo, VP and CFO
Paul C. Raymond III, VP and President, PTV
John E. Panichella, VP and President, Aqualon
Edward V. Carrington, VP of HR
Productschemical
 
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Hercules Incorporated
IndustryChemistry
Fate
Company Information
Successor
Founded1912 by T.W Bacchus
HeadquartersHercules Plaza,
Wilmington, DE, USA 19894
Key peopleCraig A. Rogerson, President and CEO
Allen A. Spizzo, VP and CFO
Paul C. Raymond III, VP and President, PTV
John E. Panichella, VP and President, Aqualon
Edward V. Carrington, VP of HR
Productschemical

Hercules, Inc., was a chemical and munitions manufacturing company based in Wilmington, Delaware, which was formed as the Hercules Powder Company. Hercules Powder Company was formed in 1882 by DuPont and Laflin & Rand Powder Company[1] to finance construction of a dynamite plant on land adjacent to San Francisco Bay owned by DuPont subsidiary California Powder Works.[2] Hercules Powder Company was founded by T. W. Bacchus in 1912 as a gunpowder company and sold for $10 million in 1914.[citation needed] Hercules was spun off from DuPont as a result of U.S. federal government actions in the field of antitrusts. Hercules, Inc., operated under this name until 2008, when it was merged into Ashland Inc.

Hercules, Inc., was one of the major producers of smokeless powder for warfare in the United States during the 20th century. At the time of its spin-off, the DuPont Corp. retained the processes and patents for the production of "single-base" nitrocellulose gunpowders, whereas Hercules, Inc., was given the patents and processes for the production of "double-base" gunpowders that combined nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine.

History[edit]

Hercules Inc. was started by T. W. Bacchus in 1912. They made a lot of different products, and when World War I came along they made a lot of material for the war effort. T.W. has a school named after him in Bacchus, Utah. Hercules Powder Company ranked 65th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[3]

By the 1960s, the community was experiencing the first signs of a suburban transition. The Hercules Powder Co., once a small dynamite manufacturing firm, had begun producing rocket motors at its Bacchus Works south of the Magna community, named after 1912 founder T.W. Bacchus. The increased jobs were one factor encouraging subdivision development in the Magna, Kearns and West Valley areas.

Display showing Hercules products in the 1950s

Hercules, Inc. was the defendant in a 1989 lawsuit stemming from a 1976 contract with Brown Machine after James Miller, a Hercules employee, injured himself using a trim press used to make Cool Whip bowls. Miller originally sued Brown directly, as it was the manufacturer of the equipment. Brown settled the suit for nearly $160,000 before it went to trial. It subsequently sued Hercules to recover the cost of the settlement with Miller, alleging that the original contract contained an indemnification clause. Brown prevailed against Hercules at trial, but Hercules successfully appealed.[4]

By the end of the 1990s, Hercules, Inc., had sold off a significant number of its divisions that had not been profitable for the company. This has caused the price of shares of common stock in Hercules to rise above 70 dollars. Also, several successful cost-savings programs were implemented in addition of corporate buying its own shares. Also at that time, Hercules had a significant amount of assets available for possible purchases of other corporations. Hercules, Inc., had a Paper Technology Division (PTD) whose products were slowly becoming commodities. In order to survive, this division needed to obtain new products.

First, Hercules, Inc., tried to purchase the Allied Colloids Company, but this was not successful. Next, Hercules bought the Betz-Dearborn Corporation. Betz-Dearborn produced mostly chemicals for paper processing, and the Hercules PTD produced mainly functional chemicals for paper. According to some business analysts, Hercules, Inc., paid about three times as much for Betz-Dearborn as compared with its actual value.

Soon after the purchase of Betz-Dearborn, the price per share of stock in Hercules, Inc., had dropped from above $70 to below $10 (ten dollars). It has been also speculated that Hercules, Inc., was close going bankrupt after this failed purchase operation. Afterwards, several senior managers were forced out of the company because of this failure, however significant amount former PTD´s senior managers were able to keep their position within Hercules. The price of stock shares in Hercules, Inc., has never recovered from this debacle. Finally, Hercules, Inc., was sold off to the Ashland Corporation.

As of July 11, 2008, Hercules was to be acquired by Ashland Inc. for $3.3B.[5] The acquisition was completed on November 13, 2008.[6]

The history of Hercules Inc. was recently the subject of the song "Hercules", by San Francisco-based poet and rapper George Watsky who, in the song, claims he is an heir.

Product lines[edit]

Commercial gunpowders[edit]

WWII poster from Hercules

Some of the more recent gunpowders marketed to reloaders include the brand names "Bullseye", "2400", "Reloader", "Unique", and "Red Dot".[7] These gunpowders are still being manufactured by the Alliant Powder company in Radford, Virginia.

Powders inherited from DuPont in 1912[edit]

Powders developed by Hercules Powder Company[edit]

Solid-fuel rocket motor production[edit]

Beginning in 1959, Hercules, Inc., began to diversify into the production of large solid-fuel rocket motors, and it soon became a primary producer of these, especially for the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army - and to a lesser degree for the civilian National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1961, the company hired contractors C.H. Leavell & Company, Morrison-Knudsen, and Alaskan Plumbing and Heating Company to expand the existing Bacchus Works site. The contractors added "Air Force Plant 81" adding 97 buildings, including a 97,000 square foot administration building.[12] One of its major solid-fuel rocket products was the third-stage engine for the four-stage solid-fueled Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the U.S. Air Force, of which 1,000 were made and deployed at Air Force Bases in several northern states during the 1960s. In addition, all of the missiles of the Minuteman I series were removed from service and replaced with the Minuteman II and Minuteman III series of more-advanced ICBMs. Hence, the Minuteman ICBM program was a huge project and a major source of revenue for Hercules, Inc.

Hercules, Inc., also produced the solid-fueled rocket motors for the two-stage Polaris missile system of intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) for the U.S. Navy in its 41 for Freedom series of 41 George Washington class ballistic missile submarines. These nuclear submarines carried 16 Polaris missiles apiece for a grand total of 656 missiles. In addition, the Polaris series consisted of the successively-improved Polaris A-1, Polaris A-2, and Polaris A-3 missiles. The early Polaris submarines that had been armed with the Polaris A-1 were upgraded to the Polaris A-2; and then all that had been armed with the Polaris A-2 were upgraded to the Polaris A-3.

For some of the early Polaris submarines, the Polaris A-3 was the end of their upgrades, but a large number of them (about 31) were further rearmed with the more-advanced and longer-ranged two-stage Poseidon C-3 missile. Hence, the Polaris missile submarine program was also a huge project and a major source of revenue for Hercules, Inc.

During the 1960s, Hercules, Inc., also made solid-fuel rocket motors for hundreds of the U.S. Army's Honest John missile, a mobile tactical missile for carrying tactical nuclear weapons for U.S. Army divisions. The Honest John missile was mostly deployed with the U.S. Seventh Army in West Germany as part of the American commitment to NATO to defend Western Europe against aggression from the Warsaw Pact, using nuclear weapons on Eastern Europe, if necessary. None of the Honest John, Minuteman, Polaris, or Poseidon has ever been used in combat, and the threat of nuclear war has been sufficient to deter aggression and to obviate the need of the use of nuclear weapons for defense.

During the 1970s and 80s, the Honest John missile was removed from deployment, scrapped, and replaced by the more-advanced Lance missile by the U.S. Army in Europe. Of all of the missiles mentioned above, only a reduced number of the Minuteman missiles remain in service at Air Force Bases in the United States, with all of the others having been removed from deployment and scrapped, along with all of the Polaris and Poseidon submarines.

For space exploration and satellite launches by the U.S. Air Force and NASA, Hercules, Inc., developed and manufactured the two large, strap-on solid-fueled booster rockets for the otherwise liquid-fueled, and huge, Titan III and Titan IV rockets. These strap-on rockets were used on the Titan IIIC, Titan IIID, and Titan IIIE rockets, and on all of the Titan IV rockets that were ever produced.

After the end of production and firing of NASA's huge Saturn IB and Saturn V rockets, the Titan IV was the largest and heaviest unmanned rocket available anywhere in the world, and especially in the Titan IV-Centaur version. The Titan IV-Centaur was used for special launches of heavy space probes into the Solar System, such as the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn which was launched in 1997. The Titan IV is no longer manufactured, and the last one of these was fired during a launch in October 2005.[13]

Business Segments[edit]

In its later years, Hercules, Inc., manufactured and marketed worldwide specialist chemicals that were used in a wide variety of industrial, home, and office markets, and it and had over 4,500 employees. Hercules was composed of two major divisions: the Paper Technologies and Ventures (PTV) division and the Aqualon division. In 2005, the former accounted for 49% of its sales and 35% of its operating sales, with the latter producing 37% and 68% respectively.[14]

Aqualon Group[edit]

Aqualon produces products for physical property modification of aqueous systems which are sold into a wide variety of industries including personal care, food additives, and construction.

Paper Technologies and Ventures Group[edit]

Paper Technologies[edit]

Paper Technologies produces specialty chemicals to the pulp and paper industry. These products include functional, process, and water treatment chemicals for a wide variety of pulp and paper applications.

Functional chemicals can be divided in three main groups. Wet strength resins, Rosin sizes and AKD -sizes. Significant persons developing functional chemicals in Hercules could be mentioned: Dr. Keim on his efforts developing PAE wet strength resin, Mr Kai Kiviö on his efforts on developing cationic rosin size. Basis of AKD -technology Hercules acquired more or less voluntary from German BASF after the Second World War.

Ventures[edit]

Ventures produces specialty chemicals for a variety of markets, including adhesives and sealants, paints, inks, coatings, lubricants, rubber, plastics, and building and construction.

Hercules Incorporated, in collaboration with Professor Kaichang Li of Oregon State University and Columbia Forest Products, received a 2007 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for the Greener Synthetic Pathways category in developing and commercializing a formaldehyde-free adhesive made from soy flour and Hercules' unique polymer chemistries.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Laflin & Rand Powder Company". DuPont. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  2. ^ "History and Background". City of Hercules. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  3. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  4. ^ Brown Mach., Div. of John Brown, Inc. v. Hercules, Inc., 770 S.W.2d 416 (1989)
  5. ^ Ashland to Acquire Hercules, Hercules News Release, Accessed July 11, 2008.
  6. ^ Ashland Completes Acquisition of Hercules, News Release, Accessed November 26, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d e Davis, William C., Jr. Handloading (1981) National Rifle Association ISBN=0-935998-34-9 pp.33-38
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Sharpe, Philip B. Complete Guide to Handloading (1953) Funk & Wagnalls pp.146-151&160-178
  9. ^ a b c Landis, Charles S. Twenty-Two Caliber Varmint Rifles (1947) Telegraph Press pp.440-444
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Wooters, John Propellant Profiles (1982) Wolfe Publishing pp.51-71 ISBN=0-935632-10-7
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Hercules Reloaders' Guide for Hercules Smokeless Powders (1980) Hercules, Inc p.4
  12. ^ Staff. “From New Utah Plant . . . Rocket Motors for the Minuteman.” The Em Kayan, April 1962.
  13. ^ "Hercules Inc. Company History". FundingUniverse. 
  14. ^ Standard and Poor's 500 Guide. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2007. ISBN 0-07-147906-6. 

External links[edit]