MCGEAN-ROHCO, INC., a manufacturer of industrial and proprietary chemicals for the plating and metalworking industries, was founded as McGean Chemical Co. in May 1929 by John A. McGean and his son, Ralph L. McGean. With offices in the B.G. Keith Bldg. at Euclid and E. 17th and a factory at 2910 Harvard Ave., the company became a leader in the manufacture of anodes and electroplating chemicals, as well as, during World War II, a key provider of napalm for the war effort and nickel plating for the Manhattan Project's atomic bombs. In 1954, the company opened a second plant in Detroit to take advantage of the automotive industy's postwar boom. By 1964, McGean had 300 employees at its two facilities in Detroit and Cleveland, and annual sales of more than $15 million. In 1965 McGean was bought by the Chemetron Corp. of Chicago. In 1968, Chemetron reorganized its holdings and established a new Inorganic Chemical Division, which consisted of McGean, Cee-Bee (a heavyduty industrial cleaner provider based in Downey, CA, with growing markets in the aviation industry), and Northwest (a Detroit-based maker of cleaners for the plating industry). In 1974, a group of investors led by Dickson L. Whitney and John D. Little, purchased the Inorganic Chemical Division from Chemetron for $6 million and formed the new McGean Chemical Corp. By 1982, McGean Chemical had acquired Rohco, Inc., of Cleveland. Rohco, founded as R.O. Hull & Co. in 1947 by chemist Richard L. Hull, manufactured electroplating chemicals and equipment for plating zinc, cadmium, copper, and chromium. The company had several locations before moving to 3203 W. 71st St. in 1963 where it employed 20-30 people. As a LUBRIZOL CORP. subsidiary from 1973-78, R.O. Hull & Co. saw its sales increase to $18 million in 1978. In a management buyout, R.O. Hull left Lubrizol in May 1979, changed its name to Rohco, Inc., and by 1982 was part of McGean Chemical.
Whitney retired following the McGean-Rohco merger, leaving Little as president and chairman of the newly former company that would have have annual sales of $52 million in 1984. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, McGean-Rohco continued its global expansion through a series of acquistions, joint-ventures, and licensing agreements. By 2004, McGean-Rohco continued to maintain its corporate headquarters at 2910 Harvard Ave.