History of the Glidden Company's Soya Products / Chemurgy Division

by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi

A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and
Soyfoods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s


©Copyright 2004 Soyfoods Center, Lafayette, Californi
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The Glidden Company's Soya Products Division was a pioneer in solvent extraction in America, installing a German hexane plant in 1934. In 1935 they produced America's first commercial isolated soy protein, named Alpha Protein, which was used industrially in paper coatings. Then in 1939 they introduced Albusoy, America's first food grade isolate, an enzyme modified product that was sold as a whipping agent. Glidden was one of America's earliest manufacturers of soy lecithin, the first to make granular soy lecithin, and the first in America to produce sterols and sex hormones from soy oil. In the late 1930s Glidden developed and patented the earliest known process for texturizing soybean meal; they used an expeller, and the product was used in canned dog foods.

During the mid-1950s Glidden developed Promine, the first isolated soy protein to find widespread commercial use in foods, and Pro-70, a very early soy protein concentrate. Glidden was acquired by Central Soya in 1958, and thereafter greatly strengthened that company's work with soy proteins and lecithins.

It is surprising that no history of Glidden Company has ever been written, despite its many pioneering activities in the soybean and soyfoods industries. Much of the following history has been reconstructed from three sources: the excellent memory of Ed Meyer, with help from Dale Johnson, Sidney Circle, and Ed Oberg; the company's annual reports; and an excellent 1949 article by Fortune magazine titled "House that Joyce Built."

Founding and Early Years (1875-1929). In 1875 Francis Harrington Glidden founded Glidden, Brackett & Co., in Cleveland, Ohio. With the help of one assistant, he produced 1,000 gallons of varnish a week in two 150-gallon kettles. In 1895 Glidden became the first company to make a colored varnish. The new product, called Jap-A-Lac, had become a household word by the turn of the century. In 1906 Glidden pioneered in the use of tung oil to produce faster-drying, harder, more durable, waterproof and lower cost varnishes (Glidden Coatings and Resins 1984). Yet Glidden remained a small, regional paint and varnish company, with only one plant. It had no involvement with soybeans in any way.

In 1917 Adrian D. Joyce and associates formed a syndicate and the company and its venerable trademark for $2.5 million, forming The Glidden Company. Joyce, an ex-Iowa farm boy, had begun his business career working for Swift & Co. in Chicago. He developed a new scheme for converting wastes (meat residues) into a salable product (fertilizer). In 1917 at age 45 and successfully entrenched as general sales manager of the internationally known Sherwin-Williams Co., Joyce had decided to build a business of his own. When Joyce acquired Glidden, he took with him Robert J. Horsburg, the comptroller of Sherwin-Williams and ten years Joyce's junior. From 1917 on, Glidden, now a publicly owned company??, issued an annual report each year. Joyce soon proved to be a highly skilled entrepreneur; instead of a business he built an industrial empire. By 1919 Joyce had acquired 11 additional paint factories, strategically located throughout the country. One of these, located on LeClaire Avenue in Chicago, would later figure prominently in the development of Glidden's work with soy. Glidden was on its way to becoming one of the largest US coatings manufacturers. In 1920 Joyce hired William J. O'Brien (formerly with the USDA) as the company's first major research chemist. During the next few decades Glidden introduced many innovations to the paint and lacquer industry.

In 1929 Glidden got into the food business by acquiring in swift succession seven good-sized food companies. It bought margarine producers in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and California, then paid $1.8 million for the plant and facilities of the long-established E.R. Durkee & Co., of Elmhurst, Long Island. One of the oldest names in the US food industry, Durkee was founded before 1860. Thereupon the Glidden food division was blanketed under the well-known trade name of Durkee Famous Foods, along with Durkee's mayonnaise, salad dressing, Worcestershire sauce, and spices (Fortune 1949; Glidden Coatings and Resins 1984).

The 1930s. Glidden did very well financially. From 1930 on, the company never had an unprofitable year. By 1933 (or was it 1917-18??) the company had become a publicly owned corporation, with Joyce as president; dividends were paid yearly from that year on. The company's 1933 annual report showed that profits were a respectable $1.4 million and the Durkee Food Products Division had just acquired a modern vegetable oil refinery in Louisville, Kentucky. The company's slogan and logo read "Glidden: Everywhere on Everything."

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Joyce made a number of research trips to Europe, accompanied by W.J. O'Brien as technical advisor. There he first became interested in soybeans. In Germany he learned about the latest technology for soybean processing and quickly saw its potential applications for Glidden's paint business. He spotted a process that extracted from soybeans a protein that could be substituted for the expensive casein required by Glidden in making water-based paints. "Joyce bought not only the process, but also parts of the plant and equipment, and shipped them to Chicago" (Fortune 1949 Really?? From whom??). Later he found that soy oil could be used as an extender for linseed oil, in those days before resins took over the paint industry, and that soybeans could also be made to yield a host of other unexpected products with wide-ranging applications.

Upon his return in about 1932, he and his co-workers (including young Ed Wilhelm) began to do some experimentation in Cleveland, Ohio (Glidden's headquarters) on isolating soy proteins for use in paints. They found that the typical US soybean meals, produced by expeller or hydraulic systems, were not suitable for obtaining a protein that would have the desired color, purity, adhesion, and viscosity. Meal processed at a lower temperature, as with a solvent extraction system, was seen as the solution to the problem (Barnard 1936).

In the depths of the Great Depression, Joyce decided to get firmly into the soybean processing business and to construct modern facilities in Chicago on the property adjacent to the Glidden paint factory, at 1825 North Laramie Ave. In 1934 Glidden purchased from Germany a $650,000 double Hildebrandt hexane solvent extraction plant, with a capacity of 130 US tons (Meyer says 250 tons??) of soybeans a day. The designer and consultant for the unit was Extractochemie A.G. of Zurich, Switzerland; it was built by Harburger Eisen- und Bronzewerke of Hamburg, Germany. Also in 1934 Glidden installed America's first full-scale soy protein isolation plant (to make industrial soy protein products based on a 1934 patent by Cone and Brown) and a German-built soy lecithin plant. The lecithin was manufactured using Hansa Muehle patents. The solvent extraction plant began full operation on 15 December 1934, followed by protein and lecithin plants in January 1935 (Glidden Annual Report 1934; Bur?? Farmer 1935).

The Glidden Co. created a separate division called the Soya Products Division to encompass all the new soy-related work. Its first director was Eric Wahlforss. From Glidden's headquarters in Cleveland, Adrian Joyce watched the new division with great interest and W.J. O'Brien was vice president of R&D, responsible for the Soya Products Division. During 1936 O'Brien published several papers on soy proteins.

Glidden was a pioneer in solvent extraction in America, and their plant was one of the first in the nation. Like most pioneers, they learned as they went along and paid dearly for their mistakes. On 7 October 1935, their solvent plant (which had been in operation for only 10 months) was totally destroyed in a disastrous explosion from a hexane vapor leak. It leveled a city block, including the adjacent soy protein and lecithin plants and the nearby research laboratory, killing 11 people and injuring 45 more (Annual Report 1935; Price and Brown 1936; Fortune 1949). This tragedy slowed the introduction of solvent extraction to America. Fortunately the entire operation was well covered by insurance. After finding the cause of the accident, Glidden boldly rebuilt the crushing plant to embody the last word in safety, buying two new Hildebrandt units of the same size, plus a bank of Anderson Expellers. In place of the full-scale protein plant, however, they built only a large protein pilot plant. By the spring of 1936 the system was back in operation.

Glidden was spending $3 to $4 million a year to buy soybeans and was actively promoting the use of soybean products by industry, as part of the larger chemurgic concept that emerged in the 1930s. Products from the Soya Division were advertised as being used in paints, shortenings, paper coatings, dog food, confections, baked goods, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, automobiles, packaging, and plastics (Glidden 1936).

In 1935 Joyce began to put together a top-flight team of research, production, and sales people for Glidden's Soya Products Division. Many of these men made important, pioneering contributions in the field of soy proteins over the coming decades. Arthur A. Levinson, formerly with Shellabarger Grain Co. in Illinois, arrived in 1935 as sales manager. With him came Bernie Malter, a researcher from Shellabarger. Roy Brett was plant manager (in charge of production for all three plants) and Harold Klatt was head of the expeller group. In August 1936 by Dr. Percy Julian was hired as Director of Research. An brilliant black chemist, with a special interest in alkaloid chemistry, he was formerly a relatively obscure research associate at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Julian was so astonished by Joyce's $4,000-a-year offer, that he was slow to respond. The story goes that while he was preparing his acceptance speech, Joyce raised the ante. Dr. Julian immediately began to assemble a small group of able young scientists. First he hired Ed Meyer, a chemist with whom he had worked at DePauw, and Donald Payne, a chemical engineer from Purdue. In 1937 he hired E.B. Oberg, a young PhD from Northwestern University, formerly a researcher on water-based paints with the US Gypsum Co. In 1938 Ed Wilhelm, a chemical engineer arrived. In the late 1930s Art Levinson hired Walter Bayne, an expert on the paper industry and paper coatings from Crown Zellerbach, to head the industrial protein sales and technical service group.

Glidden was among! (who else??) the first to undertake the commercial production of isolated soy proteins for both industrial and food uses--a project best with difficulties from the start (Glidden 1948). The company had purchased from the I.F. Laucks Company the rights to several of the Cone and Brown patents (including the famous 1934, patent No. 1,955,375 which others??) for extracting soy proteins from soybean meal using sodium hydroxide or sodium sulfite, then precipitating and isolating the proteins to give a product of uniform viscosity that could substitute for casein. Glidden's full-scale industrial soy protein plant began production of isolates in 1935 using the basic Cone and Brown process and Glidden's solvent extracted flakes. These isolates were intended for commercial utilization by the paper and paint industries, but the process was not a viable one and quality of the resulting isolates was completely unsatisfactory. It is not clear whether or not any of the product was ever sold.

The destruction of the plant by the explosion in October 1935 may have been a blessing in disguise. It was rebuilt in 1936 as a large pilot plant and continued operation at that scale for several years making industrial-grade purified protein called "Alpha" Protein, a term coined by Art Levinson prior to mid-1936 and registered as a Glidden trademark. The term soon became so popular in the industry, and Glidden was so careless in its handling of its trademark, that a number of companies began to write it in lower case letters as a generic term for "isolated soy proteins." Eventually Glidden's lawyers rectified this. From 1936 until the late 1950s (when the company was sold), Glidden was the world's leading manufacturer of isolated soy proteins.

In 1936 Dr. Julian and his small research team of Meyer, Malter, and Payne began working to improve the quality of Glidden's isolates. They worked closely with Dr. B.W. Rowland of the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton, Wisconsin, on using soy protein as a sizing and coating adhesive for paper. In 1937 the team finally developed an improved process for extracting and isolating pure soy protein on a volume basis. Late that year they began to build a commercial isolate plant based on the new process. Glidden's 1937 annual report noted that "we have spent large sums during the past year on research, sales, and advertising with the result that our products are well established in the markets of the country. Our new units are functioning perfectly and prospects are favorable."

The first isolate unit went into operation in late 1938 and began commercial production of the "Alpha" Protein, an isolated soy protein for industrial uses. George Brett was the plant manager and George Walker was the chemical engineer (Glidden 1948; Smith and Circle 1972, p. 8). The main uses of the isolate were in paper coating and paper sizing. Research continued on using the isolates in water-based paints. In May 1938 B.W. Roland was issued U.S. Patent 2,116,768 (assigned to Glidden) on a process for making a paper sizing called Prosize from Alpha Protein. In 1938 Glidden also developed its first enzyme modified industrial isolate named Mulsoya. Hydrolyzed with Rhomzyme-brand (sp??) enzyme, it was used as a sizing for silk and cotton fibers during weaving to given added strength, then later washed off.

In 1938 Ed Meyer was asked to head a new research project on soy phosphatides (lecithin). Although he reported to Dr. Julian, his research was paid for by Joe Eichberg of the American Lecithin Institute. At the time Glidden was making so-called "natural" grades of lecithin (containing 30-40% soy oil, as opposed to refined, oil-free grades). It was sold through the American Lecithin Company mostly to the confection industry as a viscosity modifier for chocolates, a plasticizer for chewing gums, and a base for coconut-butter, which was in turn used in chocolates. Meyer began America's first research on granular phosphatides/lecithin, and soon developed America's first such food-grade product, which was commercialized in the early 1940s.

In the late 1930s Glidden became the first company in America to do research on enzyme modification of isolated soy proteins to produce whippable products for use in foods. In 1939 the company began small-scale production of America's first food-grade isolated soy protein. An enzyme-modified isolate called Albusoy, it was made by hydrolyzing clean soybean meal with alkali, precipitating the soy protein at the isoelectric point, neutralizing the protein to pH 7, adding to the slurry papain (a proteolytic enzyme) equal in weight to 1% of the weight of the isolate, allowing it to stand at 120*F, stopping the hydrolysis at the appropriate stage with hydrogen peroxide, then drying it on a Devine drum dryer. A fat-free product, it was sold as a whipping agent for use in place of egg whites in confections. Its weakness was that it was not denatured by heat. If the whip was put in or on a pie then baked, instead of setting up like egg whites, it would collapse. But it did work well in candies as a whipping agent. Over the next five years or so several tons a year were produced, largely to replace egg white, much of which (surprisingly) came from China in dried form. Art Levinson played a key role in advancing this modified isolate work. In 1945 Levinson, Julian, and Engstrom were granted US Patent 2,381,407 (assigned to The Glidden Company) on their process for making whipping proteins. Ed Kruger, an old-time candy maker, was in charge of the product's sales, and it was quite successful throughout the 1940s, in part because large imports of egg albumin from China had been cut off. After about 1950 Albusoy was made for Glidden by Gunther Products.

A Glidden ad from mid-1939 showed the company to be selling four types of soybean meal and flakes. There were two types of "new-process" (solvent-extracted) meals containing 44% protein; one (4 Hi) was browned and toasted and one (Diamond G) was light in color. Diamond G "new process" flakes also contained 44% protein, while the "old-process" (expeller) Diamond G meal contained 41% protein. The company was also using large quantities of soy oil in the production of their Soyalastic Paints and their Durkee's Vegetable Margarine.

In the late 1930s Glidden sold large quantities of solvent defatted soybean meal to the pet food trade, and especially to Morel, which had a large plant in Ottumwa, Iowa, making a popular canned dog food. This was a good source of income for Glidden. To give it a unique texture, the meal was run through an expeller, which had a choke (not a die) on the exit end that produced a hard cake. The cake was then broken into bits to give it a texture. The textured soy protein kept its integrity quite well during retorting. Levinson and Engstrom were issued a patent on the process, but unfortunately they did not use the term "texturize" to describe their process or product. Nevertheless this was one of the earliest attempts to produce a textured soy protein product in America, a forerunner of the textured soy flours (such as TVP) of the 1960s.

By the late 1930s Glidden's Soya Products Division was breaking new ground in many fields, yet it was only a relatively small part of the total Glidden Company, with sales accounting for probably less than 10% of the company's total of roughly $45-55 million. Being largely a commodity operation, with its main sales from soy oil and soybean meal, during the late years of the Great Depression, it operated on narrow margins and was not always profitable. Its profits were generally below Glidden's expectations. There was a constant struggle to make money on Alpha Protein and to get it into the paper trade.

The 1940s. The advent of World War II provided a badly needed shot in the financial arm to Glidden's Soya Products Division. The soy oil, flour and protein isolates now all began to earn good money, with the isolates proving especially lucrative. The early 1940s, and especially the years during World War II, was a time of great activity and innovation at Glidden. Wartime policies favored soy in both food and industrial uses. New ideas abounded and Glidden researchers were issued a swarm of patents, mostly after 1940 and primarily related to industrial applications of soy proteins, including industrial isolation and modification processes, improvement of isolate color, isolates in water-thinned paints, paper coating adhesives, paper and textile sizings, and plastics. Patents on food-related applications included debittering and toasting of soybean meal, removal of acid-leachable soluble material, drying isolated curd, and use of water or sulfuric acid as a protein extractant (Brother, Smith and Circle 1940; Burnett 1951a, 1951b).

In the late 1930s Percy Julian had become very interested in a sterol (stigmasterol) in crude soy oil, first reported in Germany in 1933 by Dr. E. Fernholz, a researcher for I.G. Farben Industries. It was found that this sterol could be broken down to yield progesterone, the female sex hormone and a major building block for pharmaceutical hormonal material. Interest in soybean sterols gathered momentum and in 1940 a small pilot plant for isolating sterols was constructed and Glidden established a new Fine Chemical Division, with Dr. Julian as its director, while retaining his position as director of research for the Soya Products Division. The two divisions were closely interlocked and shared the same laboratories. During the 1930s, most commercial sex hormones (progesterone and testosterone) had been dependent on cholesterol, a sterol of animal origin. Dr. Julian was the first to make a real success of plant-derived hormones and to mass-produce them. The first pound of progesterone he made, valued at $63,500, was shipped to the buyer in an armored car! By 1940 Glidden was selling two (unnamed) sterol-derived products. They sold a crude progesterone to Armour Pharmaceutical Company for use in human hormonal therapy. The 1940 annual report noted ". . . heavy expenses incurred in connection with the research work in soya bean by-product manufacturing. . . the production of hormones and sterols has resulted in constantly increasing sales which should add materially to our profits in the ensuing year." From September 1940 until 1943 Ed Meyer was at Northwestern University, where he earned his PhD in steroid chemistry under a fellowship from Abbott Laboratories, Upjohn, and Glidden. In 1943 he began to work with Julian. Meyer was co-author of 18 articles on steroids between 1943 and 1955. A 1947 advertisement identified Glidden's two pharmaceutical products as follows: (1) Glidden Progesterone, Crystalline USP XIII--one of the important sex hormones in chemically pure form. It is synthesized from Soya Stigmasterol and is used in replacement therapy for endochrine deficiencies. (2) "Glidsad" -- sitosteryl acetate dibromide derived from Soya Sterols. "Glidsad" is of interest as a starting material in the synthesis of certain sex hormones.

By mid-1940 Glidden's Soya Products Division was offering "a complete line of soya products." The edible line included Soyalose Flour and Soyalose Grits (low fat, expeller), Soyarich Flour (full fat), and Soyafluff Flour (practically fat free, solvent extracted). The "technical" line included Alpha Protein ("a chemically isolated soybean protein"), Gamma Protein ("a mechanically treated soybean protein"), and lecithin. There were three types of soy oil (clarified, crude expeller pressed, and crude solvent extracted) and five feed products (meals, flakes, and new "4-Hi brand soybean oil meal pellets"). Chicago offices were now listed at 5165 W. Moffat St., a small street that ran from Laramie Ave. to Leclaire, dividing the Glidden property (Glidden 1940). By 1943 new products included: For household use, Durkee Soyarich Flour, Durkee Soya Bits, Durkee Oleomargarine, Durkee Worcestershire Sauce, and Durkee Salad Dressing; for confectionery use, Albusoy (a water-soluble whipping agent); for industrial protein use, Prosein (an adhesive or binder used in making paper, paint, floor coverings, and insulating board), Spraysoy (a sticker and spreader for agricultural sprays), Mulsoya (a water-soluble isolate for textile sizing), and Prosoy-G (a filler and extender in molded resins); and for pharmaceutical use, "two products synthesized from soybean sterols used in replacement therapy for endochrine deficiencies" (Glidden 1943, 1948; Levinson 1942).

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, researchers at National Foam Systems (NFS) had discovered Glidden's isolated soy protein could be used to make an excellent fire extinguishing foam. NFS made most such foam from low-cost scrap leather, hides, hoofs and horns that were boiled vigorously with calcium hydroxide. Shortly after the United States entered World War II, the US Navy requisitioned virtually all of Glidden's isolate output to make this foam. Glidden sold its hydrolyzed Alpha Protein-based product to NFS, which sold it to the Navy under the name Aer-O-Foam, but Navy men soon nicknamed it "Bean Soup." On board, the mixture of soy protein and water was converted to foam by an aerating nozzle; the foam was used for fighting oil and gasoline fires on war ships (Glidden 1948; Burnett 1951b).

In about 1941-42, Glidden's Soya Products Division expanded, buying an existing feed mill and property in Indianapolis, Indiana. There they constructed a solvent extraction plant around a new Blaw Knox Rotocel unit (one of the first in America), with a capacity of 1,000 to 1,500 tons a day. They also built a lecithin plant.

In 1940, upon Ed Meyer's departure for postgraduate research, the phosphatides/lecithin project was turned over to Herbert T. Iveson, a young graduate of the University of Illinois. In about 1942-43 Glidden became the first company in America to make and market granular phosphatides. A small plant was built and the products were sold to the health food and dietary industries. They were packaged as is, not used in other products.

Toward the end of the war Glidden supplied large amounts of food-grade soy flour to relief programs in the liberated areas, especially Italy.

In 1945 (what month??) an important new chapter in Glidden's history began when Dr. Julian hired Dr. Sidney J. Circle to be head of protein research. From 1937-42 Circle had worked as a soy protein chemist at the US Regional Soybean Industrial Products Laboratory at Urbana, Illinois. Julian was now spending most of his time on steroid and hormone research, the elegance of which captivated him. Initially Circle was assigned to improve the quality of Alpha Protein and develop new industrial applications. Glidden's management was worried as they watched new synthetics, such as modified resins, start to compete with Alpha Protein and casein in paper coatings. By 1948 Circle had come to the firm conclusion that the future of isolated soy proteins lay in edible rather than industrial products, since the latter would inevitably be replaced by synthetics. At the same time he realized that the nutritional quality soy protein was coming to be recognized as approximately equal to that of meat or egg protein, except for a slight methionine deficiency. So in 1948 Circle convinced Dr. Julian to let him start to focus his research efforts on development of edible isolated soy protein products and new applications. Since industrial isolates had much of their nutritional value destroyed during typical modification by partial alkaline hydrolysis, and since no effort was made to remove their "beany" flavor, Circle had to develop new processes. By late 1948?? he had developed a viable laboratory scale process, but he did not get a pilot plant until about 1953-54.

The end of World War II brought major changes to Glidden. When the huge sales of industrial isolates to the Navy stopped abruptly, the company went back to its tried and true applications for "Alpha" Protein, such as paper coatings and adhesives. In 1947 Dr. Julian was awarded the Springarn medal (by a black society?? what is it??) for his contributions to the development of soy sterols, hormones, and the alpha protein used in fire fighting foam on Navy combat ships. In 1947 the Soybean Blue Book listed the silos and elevators Glidden's soybean crushing plant in Chicago as having a storage capacity of 2 million bushels (54,400 metric tons), a large operation. In 1948 Glidden published a 20-page booklet titled "Industrial Soya Proteins: New Servants of Industry with a Big Future." The same year Bain, Neubauer and Olson wrote a technical bulletin for Glidden titled "Alpha Protein and the Protein Adhesives for Coated Papers."

In May 1949 Fortune magazine published "House that Joyce Built," an excellent 9-page study of the growth of The Glidden Company. Soya Products and Stock Feeds were listed as one of the companies five main divisions, along with Paint and Varnish; Durkee Famous Foods; Chemicals, Metals, and Mining; and Naval Stores. Each division had a vice president; Ralph S. Golseth was it for soybeans. The paint company was one of the three biggest in the world. Adrian Joyce's 49-year-old son Dwight P. Joyce had become president of the entire company in 1947. Since 1940 Glidden had quadrupled sales and increased net income from $1.7 million to $9.2 million in 1948.

1950s. In about 1950-51?? Glidden changed the name of its Soya Products Division to the Chemurgy Division. At about the same time?? they purchased a solvent extraction plant in Buena Park, California, that crushed soybean sand flaxseed. The company's third solvent plant that crushed soybeans, it continued operation until the summer of 1956.

The 1955 annual report showed that the Chemurgy division, under vice president Willard C. Lighter, accounted for 18.7% of Glidden's total 1954 sales of roughly $225 million, and about 15-35% of before-tax profits in recent years. By comparison Durkee Famous Foods generated 41% of total sales and Paint 32%, though Paint was the company's largest profit maker. Chemurgy's profits were low because of poor crushing margins since 1952. Productive capacity for isolated soy proteins was increased by 67% following increased acceptance of these products for use in paint, paper, and other industrial products. Soy products in 1955 were categorized as follows: (1) soybean oil and soybean oil meal; (2) edible soya products, including high protein soy flours for bakers, confectioners, and meat packers, lecithin (food emulsifiers and oil-free phosphatides for pharmaceuticals), RG Soya Lecithin, and Promine isolated protein; (3) industrial soya products, including isolated proteins (Alpha Protein and Beta Protein for paint, paper, and insulating industries), protein flours (Prosein adhesives), and lecithin (Gliddol); (4) fine chemicals (steroid hormones and several corticoids); and (5) grain storage and merchandising. Also in 1955 formed a wholly-owned subsidiary, Glidden International, C.A., to expand the licensing, distribution, and production of Glidden products abroad. In 1956, in return for technical assistance, International received an equity interest in Soya Glidden Argentina, S.A., a firm recently organized in Argentina to process soybeans and refine edible oils.

In the mid-1950s, to expand export capabilities for its soybeans and grains, Glidden (which had an active grain trading group), built a $6 million terminal grain elevator with 6.5 million bushels capacity at Calumet Harbor on the Calumet River, St. Lawrence Seaway, and acquired two "feeder elevators" at Lockport and Seneca on the Illinois River. All three began operation in 1956. From the two country riverside collection points, soybeans and grain could be shipped by barge to the terminal elevator, then exported.

Circle's work with edible isolates was progressing nicely, and the products seemed to have huge potential. In about 1953-55?? a small pilot plant was built adjacent to the laboratory. Several hundred pounds a month of edible isolates were produced and offered to various companies for testing. Circle hired a man from Cornell University name Steve ___________?? to help him develop new applications, such as margarine, milk, and ice cream. The basic concept was to use small amounts of isolates (to bypass problems of beany flavor) in foods containing small amounts of casein. One of the first researchers to work with Glidden's edible soy isolates was Tim Anson of Lever Brothers. A protein chemist, formerly with the Rockefeller Institute, he was interested in using the soy proteins to make sheets, which were then laminated and flavored to produce meat analogs. Anson was issued a number of well-known patents on his inventions (what numbers??), but not much came of his projects. (When was Circle's isolate first sold??)

Yet interest in the edible isolates gained momentum and Glidden elected to move forward boldly. Dale Johnson, who had come to Glidden in 1948 to set up a microbiology lab, has previous experience as a bacteriologist at Pillsbury Mills and The Diversey Corp. He convinced Willard C. Lighter, vice president of the Chemurgy Division, that Glidden needed a person with a technical background to do market development work for edible isolates. So in January 1955 Joe Rakosky was hired to take over the microbiology lab; he recalled that his first required reading was China Doctor, about the life of Dr. Harry Miller and his work with soymilk (R. Moore 1961). Johnson began to travel around the country visiting major potential isolate buyers to ascertain what types of products they might need and to introduce them to Glidden's edible isolates. He talked with Carnation, General Foods, General Mills, Quaker Oats, Pillsbury, Gerbers, Kellogg Co., and major meat companies. The company's 1955 annual report noted: "A new edible [soy] protein is now being tested by several major food manufacturers as a nutritional supplement for their products. The potential for this new protein is promising." Glidden's edible isolate, originally called Amisoy, was renamed Promine by Circle in 1955. It was marketed initially primarily on its nutritional virtues, as a protein booster when combined with wheat or used in baby foods. General Foods and Pillsbury spent a lot of time and money experimenting with Promine, but they never actually did much with it. Little did anyone realize at the time that it would first come to be widely used largely for its functional properties, mostly by sausage makers (the main one was in Detroit. Who?? Starting when??).

The discussions with potential customers pointed to the need for a product that was less expensive than an isolate but that still retained many of its virtues. So in about 1954?? Circle (Oberg too??) began research work on what soon became known as soy protein concentrates. These were basically isolates without the soy fiber removed. Circle worked on what came to be called the "alcohol leach process" for making concentrates. This process, initially developed by A.K. Smith at the USDA Northern Regional Research Laboratory in Peoria, Illinois, yielded a good flavored product and required relatively simple equipment. Lou Sair at Griffith Laboratories was also busily at work on concentrates, but using an acid leach process. The product, initially known as Protein-70 (abbreviated to Pro-70), was first produced on a pilot plant scale in 1959.

The edible isolate pilot plant, located since the early?? 1950s inside?? the industrial isolate factory, first made an insoluble isolate, precipitated at the isoelectric point of soy protein (pH 4.5) then spray-dried and named (Promine R). Shortly thereafter a dispersible edible isolate (neutralized to pH 7.5) was produced, called Promine D. Later Promine G and Promine S also became available.

With interest in Promine growing among major American food companies, Glidden needed to build a full-scale edible isolate plant. Yet to do so was risky, since the investment would be large and they did not yet have any real customers for their product. Willard Lighter pushed for commercialization of the edible isolates and top management accepted his proposals. So Glidden decided to build America's first large, modern edible isolate plant next to their solvent extraction operations in Indianapolis. The water there was of good quality for making isolates, and the company had learned how to treat the effluent for sewage disposal, a key point. They designed the plant and in 1957 began to put up the structural steel work. Then problems began. The process had not been finalized, and at a major meeting of the Chemurgy Division, Circle pointed out to the engineers what he considered to be major flaws in the design.

The Fine Chemical Group under Dr. Percy Julian had been relatively unprofitable over the years, despite the fact that Julian and Ed Meyer had done innovative work. So Glidden's top management decided to get out?? of the fine chemicals and steroid business. In 1953, immediately after this decision, Julian left Glidden. The Fine Chemical Group, an outstanding team of researchers with excellent facilities, was transformed into Glidden's Central Organic Research Laboratory. Chemurgy researchers (such as Circle and Meyer) joined this group, which thereafter did contract research for the rest of Glidden's divisions, including Chemurgy. Glidden continued to make soy steroids and sell large quantities of an intermediate form to Charles Pfizer Co., and small quantities to Charles Strauss Co. in Montreal.

During this same time major changes were taking place at Glidden's headquarters in Cleveland. The 1957 annual report noted that for the past 6 years crushing margins had been far from satisfactory due to a variety factors beyond the company's control, including government price support policies and excess industry crushing capacity. "We have serious doubts that this condition will correct itself for several years. In the meantime we continue to stress the development of high profit margin products [lecithin, flour, isolates] derived from the soybean to eliminate our dependence on primary processing margins." The directors began to realize that they were not going to succeed in the soy processing business unless they invested a lot more money. Although the soy operations had been growing, Glidden's directors felt that they could get a higher return on their investment if they spent their money to build company-owned paint stores instead. So in about 1955 Glidden let it be known they were ready to sell their Chemurgy Division. They contacted Central Soya (whose headquarters were in Ft. Wayne, Indiana) but Central Soya turned Glidden down. When Glidden's directors heard of the problems at the new edible isolate plant, they called a halt to all construction. While all this was going on, Glidden had continued its talks with Central Soya about sale of the company. Finally in 1958 Glidden sweetened its offer with a drop in price, and Central Soya quickly agreed. Instead of simply buying Glidden's Chemurgy Division, Central decided (for tax purposes) to arrange a three-year lease, after which they would buy. So Central Soya acquired Glidden's Chemurgy Division on 1 September 1958, and formally purchased it in on 31 August 1961. Glidden's 1958 annual report noted: "Being closely tied to agricultural economics and processing, the Chemurgy operations were basically foreign to our other activities. Our strength lies in the paint, food, and chemical fields. . . Sales of the Chemurgy Division in 1958 were $31,973,079 and it contributed approximately $987,000 to 1958 net income." Central Soya paid a total of somewhere between $14 million and $21 million for Glidden's Chemurgy Division.

Probably the main reason that Central Soya bought Glidden's Chemurgy Division was the very reasonable price. But there were other reasons of almost equal importance. Recall from Chapter 56 that Central Soya had disbanded its entire edible protein operations in January 1950 and had done very little work in that area during the intervening 8 years. Norman Cruze (sp??) was Central Soya's director and Firstname?? Sipos headed a small development group (started in 1953??, and reported to Cruze. Thus the acquisition of Glidden's Division allowed Central Soya, in one move, create its own Chemurgy Division, rebuild its research facilities, and obtain a staff with broad experience in soy protein and lecithin research and development. It also gave Central Soya two more large soybean crushing plants, two lecithin plants, another large export elevator and two more river elevators, 11 million more bushels of soybean storage capacity, and 523 new employees, plus such new product lines as industrial and edible soy protein products, soy flours, and additional lecithin products (McMillen 1967; Central Soya 1981).

Central Soya wanted to do everything possible to encourage Glidden's top-flight team of experienced researchers to stay on and work for Central Soya; they would continue to work in the same location on Laramie Ave,. in Chicago. All the key people agreed to stay. Ed Meyer became director of research at Central Soya's new Chemurgy Division. Sidney Circle became head of protein research, a position he held until 1967 when he moved to Anderson Clayton. Dale Johnson became manager of edible protein products until 1963, when he became vice president of Soypro International, working as a consultant in Chicago. Joe Rakosky stayed on as head of the microbiology lab and Paul Davis as the top lecithin man.

A major incentive for the team to stay was the decision by Central Soya to budget $1 million for the construction of a new edible isolate plant at 1825 N. Laramie Ave. in Chicago. At the same time, Central Soya decided to scrap Glidden's partly-built isolate plant in Indianapolis. Construction of the new plant began in late 1958 and in October 1959 it began to produce Promine, the world's state-of-the art isolated soy protein.

Also in 1959 Central Soya built a large pilot plant in Chicago (where??) to make Protein-70 (Pro-70), Glidden's soy protein concentrate (renamed Promosoy in about 1960). It began operation in December, and was large enough to supply customers on a commercial basis. In 1962 a full scale plant producing Promosoy was built in Gibson City, Illinois.

On the strength of its acquisitions from Glidden, Central Soya became the world leader in edible soy proteins during the 1960s, and Promine was their flagship product. The company's staff pioneered many new products improvements and applications, and were the first to commercialize these products in food ingredients. Development of the unique alcohol process for producing the soy protein concentrate, Promosoy, also led to broad commercial applications in food systems.

This history is continued at the history of Central Soya in Chapter 56 (Central Soya 1981).

Postscript. In 1967 The Glidden Company was acquired by SCM Corporation (famous for its Smith Corona typewriters), becoming its largest division. In SCM's 1984 annual report showed Glidden Coatings & Resins Division to still be the sales leader ($655 million), followed by Durkee Foods Division ($393 million). Glidden's headquarters remained in Cleveland, where good archives were maintained.

People Consulted in Writing This Chapter

Edwin Meyer                            Michelle Albers

1701 N. Sayre                         Glidden Coatings & Resins Division, SCM Corp.

Chicago, IL 60635                  925 Euclid Ave.

                                                   Cleveland, OH 44115

E.B. Oberg

11228 Village 11                      Ed T. Wilhelm

Camarillo, CA 93010               1942 De Cook Ave.

                                                    Park Ridge, IL 60068

Sidney J. Circle

404 Lawndale                             Jospeh Rakosky

Richardson, TX 75080               5836 Crain St.

                                                      Morton Grove, IL 60053

Dale Johnson

2121 Toledo Ave. North            Harold Klatt

Golden Valley, MN 55422         941 Adare Dr.

                                                      Wheaton, IL 60187