Calgon Carbon Company History Timeline

(22 Jobs)

In 1942, the Company produced an activated carbon product using bituminous coal, and that was the beginning of the firm now known as Calgon Carbon Corporation.

In 1942, Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical produced an activated carbon product using bituminous coal, and that was the beginning of Calgon Carbon.

The United States government commissioned Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical to develop a new filtering agent for use in military gas masks in 1942.


McConomy had grown up in the Pittsburgh area, earned a chemical engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 1955, gone to work for Calgon Carbon's predecessor, and begun making his way up the ranks of management.

Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical introduced their "Pittsburgh pulse bed" system in 1955, which was one of the first activated carbon systems to decolorize sugar.


In 1956, Fortune Magazine ranked Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical as No.


The company's activated carbon division developed new water treatment methods in 1960, and two years later the division installed 40,000 pounds of their carbon for the Virginia-American Water Co, a notable contract for the company.


Now called the Pittsburgh Activated Carbon Company, the business was acquired by Calgon Corporation in 1965, where it retained its autonomy, responsible for its own manufacturing and marketing.

In 1965 the Calgon Corporation acquired Pittsburgh Activated Carbon.


When Calgon Corporation was restructured in 1967 and split into six autonomous divisions, the Pittsburgh Activated Carbon Company division began operating its own marketing and manufacturing.


The unit changed corporate parents in 1968 when Calgon Corporation was acquired by pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc.

Calgon Corporation was then acquired by Merck & Co. in 1968.


In 1970 the company formed Chemviron Carbon, S.A. in Brussels in order to market its products, engineering services, and water pollution systems in Europe.


Later in the decade Calgon Carbon looked to the Far East, in 1978 creating a joint venture with Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. to serve markets in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and later on in China.

Calgon Corporation formed a joint venture with Mitsui Chemicals and Mitsui & Co in 1978, branching into Japan.


And Merck said, this is not our business." Calgon Carbon's sales hovered around the $100 million mark, and in 1982 net income totaled $6.6 million, a far cry from the 15 percent on gross assets that Merck's management desired.


As of 1985, Calgon Carbon was operating as a subsidiary of Merck and Co.


Teachers agreed, the other lenders acquiesced, and in 1987 Calgon Carbon made an initial public offering (IPO) of stock.


As described by Forbes in a 1988 article, "Coal is 'activated' by heating it to temperatures as high as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which opens up the coal's minute pore structure.

About $40 million in sales came from the 1988 purchase of Degussa AG, a West German charcoal producer.


As the company manager at the time, Thomas McConomy, recalled in a 1991 Executive Report interview, "Newspapers were full of all this being required, who was in compliance, who wasn't.

Under our agreement, beginning [1991], they could have forced the company to buy those warrants and that stock from them.

Revenues reached $308 million in 1991 and then began to slip.


Colin Bailey, a member of the management team that bought Calgon Carbon from Merck, was named CEO in 1994, while McConomy stayed on as chairman.


A better fit was another 1996 acquisition, Charcoal Cloth (International) Ltd., a U.K. manufacturer of cloth-infused activated carbon.

Bailey also tried to grow the company through acquisitions, completing three deals in 1996.

In 1996 it purchased the various operations of Vulcan Peroxidation Systems in Arizona and Solarchem Enterprises in Ontario, both of which produce perox-pure.


In 1997 Calgon Carbon Asia was formed as a marketing subsidiary in Singapore, serving much of Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand.


Bailey resigned suddenly in late February 1998, citing philosophical differences with the board, and McConomy stepped in as CEO on an interim basis.

Calgon Carbon Corporation's CEO resigned in February 1998, reportedly over differences with the board of directors over company direction, and Calgon Carbon hired the firm Morgan Stanley for advice on a possible company sale.

Also in 1998, the company developed a process to inactivate pathogens such as Cryptosporidium in drinking water, using UV disinfection.


A new CEO, Jim Cederna, was hired in July 1999; he also would replace McConomy as chairman.


During Cederna's tenure, Calgon Carbon began offering consumer products in 2000, some of which were sold on QVC Inc.'s Home Shopping Network.


In 2002 the company opened a manufacturing plant in China.


Cederna resigned in February 2003, replaced as acting chairman by McConomy and acting CEO by John Stanik, a 12-year veteran of the company.

Gannon, Joyce, "Pittsburgh-Area Calgon Carbon CEO Makes Quick, Quiet Exit," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , February 26, 2003.

Seven new products were introduced in 2003, which flowed out of the new Business Development Organization.

The company's business rebounded somewhat in 2003, as the company returned to profitability on sales of $278.3 million.


The company had to contend with rising costs and competitive price pressure, yet enjoyed another year of improved performance in 2004, when sales reached $336.6 million and income totaled $5.9 million.

Calgon Carbon also developed a three-year plan to grow the business and acquired a company, Waterlink Specialty Products, in a deal that was completed in 2004.

Waterlink Specialty Products (Sutcliffe Speakman in Europe and Barnebey Sutcliffe in the United States) was acquired in 2004.


Calgon Carbon entered in a joint venture with C. Gigantic Carbon (Gigantic) in 2006, forming Calgon Carbon (Thailand) Ltd. to expand into Thailand.


In 2007 the company secured its first contract for its FLUEPAC product, a form of powdered activated carbon for treatment of mercury in flue gas streams.


Calgon Carbon acquired the firm Zwicky Denmark and Sweden in 2010, which had long been a distributor for Chemivron Carbon, and Calgon Carbon also purchased the stock of Hyde Marine, a company that manufacturers equipment using filtration and UV disinfection to treat marine ballast water.


In 2011, the company formed by the venture of Calgon Carbon and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, called Calgon Carbon Japan KK (CCJ), was fully acquired by Calgon Carbon Corporation.

Also in 2011 the company announced a contract with Phoenix, Arizona to provide reactivation services, and Calgon Carbon began construction on a new facility in Arizona.


Randy Dearth became Calgon Carbon's CEO in June 2012, after his predecessor John Stanik retired.

Also in 2012, Seth Schofield was appointed independent chairman of the board.


Calgon Carbon products are distributed by Brenntag Canada in Canada, and in September 2013 they signed a near $30 million contract for Calgon Carbon's FLUEPAC product, which is a powdered activated carbon that can filter mercury.


As of February 2014 the company sold 50 million pounds of GAC annually to municipalities to be used for treatment of drinking water.

The United States Department of Commerce imposed tariffs in November 2014 on activated carbon imports from China, doubling the average import tax.


In February 2015 the company announced a 10% increase in fourth quarter profits, citing increased demand for activated carbon for mercury removal and industrial water treatment.

At the time, the EPA recommended activated carbon as the best available "control technology for mercury removal." Calgon Carbon predicated that when the policies are implemented in April 2015, the demand for activated carbon might double.

As of 2015 Calgon Carbon operates fifteen facilities for manufacturing, reactivation, and equipment in the US, Asia, and Europe, and employs around 1,100 people.


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Company Founded
Moon, PA
Company Headquarter
Thomas McConom
Company Founders

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