History of the Drackett Company's Work with Soybeans, Soy Protein and Azlon (1937-2020)

William Shurtleff; Akiko Shurtleff

Publication Date: 2020 June 8

Number of References in Bibliography: 137

Earliest Reference: 1937

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Brief Chronology/Timeline of Drackett’s Work with Soybeans and Soy Protein

1910 – The Drackett Co. is organized as a partnership named P.W. Drackett and Sons. Its main business is distributing a line of bulk chemicals to industrial users. In 1933 the company adopted its present name.

1918-1928 – Drackett is America's leading manufacturer and seller of U.S.P. grade Epsom salts.

1923 – Drackett starts production of Drano (a chemical composition used to clear clogged drains), which soon becomes the company’s first major consumer product.

1933-1934 – Drackett invents then starts production of Windex (a spray that cleans windows without water), which soon becomes its second major consumer product. Both products are made at Drackett's plant at 5020 Spring Grove Ave. in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1935-36 – Laboratory studies at Drackett lead to the design of an original pilot plant for oil extraction by the solvent method. Laboratory research is also conducted on the extraction of soy protein from defatted soybean flakes.

1935, fall – Drackett submits samples of industrial soy protein to the Champion Coated Paper and Fiber Co. for examination as to use in paper coatings in place of milk casein.

1936 – A pilot plant for making industrial soy protein begins operation inside Drackett’s plant at 5020 Spring Grove Ave. in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1937 Feb. - A solvent extraction pilot plant begins operation on Spring Grove Ave. and continues for 3 years.

1938 April – The world's first soy protein fiber (and the first experimental textile fiber made from a plant protein) is protein) is exhibited by Robert Boyer of the Ford Motor Co. at the Fourth Annual Conference of the Farm Chemurgic Council in Omaha, Nebraska.

1938 – The Drackett Company purchases 60-75 acres of farmland at Sharonville, Ohio (several miles north of the Spring Grove Ave. headquarters), for a solvent extraction plant. Ground is broken in Sept. 1939.

1940, first quarter – Drackett starts to work cooperatively with The Ford Motor Co. to develop a soybean protein suitable for spinning into fiber from which upholstery cloth could be made.

1941 Jan. – Soybean oil extraction begins at the Sharonville plant. Drackett's initial investment was about $1.5 million. The plant has an annual capacity of 35,000 tons of soybean meal and 15 million lb of soybean oil.

1941 – Drackett's first industrial soy protein isolate is sold commercially. 15,018 lb were produced and 7,039 lb were sold during the year. By 1942 this soy protein was brand-named Alysol. Some of it was sold to the Ford Motor Co. to make experimental (noncommercial) soy protein fibers.

1941 Dec. 7 – Japanese military forces attack Pearl Harbor. The United States enters World War II. Henry Ford is soon told to stop making automobiles and to build an assembly line for making bombers for the war effort.

1942 May – The Ford Motor Company produces its first B-24 Liberator bomber using a giant assembly line one mile long that it had constructed at Willow Run in Michigan. Thereafter Ford made one bomber per hour – plus engines, gliders, tanks, armored, cars, jeeps, etc.

1943 Nov. – Drackett purchases the Ford Motor Company's soy protein and soybean fiber spinning operations. Robert Boyer, Francis (Frank) Calvert, and William Atkinson go to Drackett from Ford as part of the deal.

1943 Dec. 2 – Drackett starts commercial production of Soybean Azlon, the world's first commercial fiber made from plant proteins. The fibers were used mainly in felt hats by the America Hat Corporation.

1944? – Drackett is now making a new line of industrial soy proteins named Drackett Protein 110, 112, and 220. The first 2 are for use in paper coatings and sizings, the latter for water-based paints. Drackett never made edible soy proteins.

1945 – The Drackett Co. is the largest soybean processor in Ohio.

1946 - Drackett finishes construction of 18 new concrete silos at Sharonville, costing $500,000, to store one million bushels of soybeans.

1947, mid. – Drackett's plant making industrial soy protein isolates begins operation at Sharonville. It also makes Ortho Protein and Impact Plastic Molding Compounds.

1948 March - Harry R. Drackett, the company's second president, dies. His son, Roger Drackett, is elected president.

1949 July 12 - Drackett's soybean plastics operations are discontinued completely.

1949 – Robert Boyer leaves The Drackett Co. when it shut down its Azlon fiber spinning plant. He begins research on developing the world's first edible soy protein fibers – to imitate muscle fiber in meats.

1949 Sept. - Drackett introduces Charge dessert for dogs, which contains soya bean flour as an ingredient.

1957 July 1 – Drackett sells its entire isolated soy protein business to the Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM). William Atkinson goes to ADM as part of the deal. At ADM Atkinson invents TVP – a registered trademark that stands for textured vegetable protein.

1965 Nov. – The Drackett Co. is sold to Bristol-Myers.

1984 – The Drackett Company, now part of Bristol-Myers, celebrates its 75th anniversary with an attractive brochure. It makes some American household cleaning products that are first in their category including Windex glass cleaner, Drano drain cleaner, Vanish bowl cleaners, Twinkle copper cleaner, Renuzit air fresheners, and O-Cedar mops and brooms.

1992 Oct. – S.C. Johnson & Sons Inc., of Racine, Wisconsin, buys The Drackett Co. from Bristol-Myers for about $1.15 billion.

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