The GLIDDEN COATINGS & RESINS DIV. (IMPERIAL CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES), revolutionized the coatings world with chemical research that had applications in food technology as well as paint. The division was founded by Francis Harrington Glidden as the Glidden Varnish Co., and with the addition of partner Levi C. Brackett, it became Glidden & Brackett. The partnership bought the newly organized Forest City Paint & Varnish Co. in 1875, modifying the name to the Glidden & Joy Varnish Co., which became known for its lacquer, Jap-a-lac. When the firm was purchased by Adrian Joyce in 1917, he renamed it the Glidden Co. Within 2 years Joyce acquired 11 paint manufacturers and distributors, which expanded the company's expertise in pigments, dry colors, chemicals, and metals. Seeking to utilize both the edible and inedible components of oil, the company acquired vegetable oil-processing plants and food processors in the 1920s. By 1934 Glidden owned the E.R. Durkee Co. which made condiments, spices, and sauces, and 6 other companies that produced over half of its sales volume. The company also built a $1 million soya protein plant in the 1930s, and by 1939 it was one of the largest soybean processors in North America and also ranked as one of the largest margarine manufacturers in the world.

Glidden maintained its headquarters and much of its paint and varnish manufacturing in Cleveland, as well as the research and development for the paint and resins division. Food research for its Durkee Famous Foods line was in Chicago. The paint factory was located at 11001 Madison Ave., while the research center, which developed interior latex (1948), exterior latex (1957), and insulating paint (1978), was on Elmwood Ave. in LAKEWOOD until it moved to Sprague Rd. in STRONGSVILLE in 1966. Glidden distributed paints and related products under the Glidden and Spred Satin brands through company-owned outlets and independent dealers and successfully marketed a line of industrial coatings. The company merged with SCM (Smith Corona Merchant), manufacturer of office machines, and data-processing equipment in the mid-1960s, and within a decade the Glidden-Durkee Division of SCM accounted for two-thirds of its sales. The division's aging paint plant in Cleveland was phased out in 1976, although the headquarters for coatings and foods remained. When SCM itself was acquired by Hansen Trust PLC in 1986, the new owner retained Durkee Foods but sold the Glidden Coatings & Resins Division to Imperial Chemical Industries. At the time of the sale in 1995, the Glidden name belonged to ICI, along with other prominent names in the paint industry. In 2008, Amsterdam-based Azko Nobel acquired ICI. In 2013, Pittsburgh, PA-based PPG Industries purchased Azko Nobel and Glidden branded paints thus became part of PPG's extensive architectural coatings products.

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