In 1852 Americans numbered some 23 million, California was the newest of the thirty-one states and Millard Fillmore was president, though in the next year, Franklin Pierce would be chosen to replace him. The Civil War was inexorably building, and Americans were busy forming the first labor unions, constructing a railroad to the Pacific Ocean, and getting children out of the factory and into the schoolroom. 1852 was the year Harriet Beecher Stowe brought out Uncle Tom’s Cabin in book form and the year the Boston Public Library was commissioned. “Jingle Bells” had just been published, the underground railroad was in full swing, and the New York Times was one year old.
In chemistry, the best and the brightest were researching how and why chemicals bond to one another. Swedish chemist Jons Jacob Berzelius had described two phenomena he named catalysis and isomerism, and had calculated certain atomic weights fairly accurately, a fact largely ignored by other chemists. The Periodic Table would not be recognized for another eight years.
In the kitchen of his Bridgewater, Massachusetts home, Charles L. Hauthaway was making up the first bottles of a shoe dressing friends had urged him to produce commercially. A shoe worker at the age of twelve, and later a shoe manufacturer, Hauthaway had found a new vocation and launched a business that would thrive for another century and a half. In less than twenty years, the firm would win its first recognition award, in Boston in 1869, followed by medals in Vienna, Philadelphia, Melbourne, and Barcelona before the advent of the 20th century. In the 1920’s Hauthaway began producing natural rubber based adhesives for fabric lamination and furniture. The start of World War II brought limitations on natural rubber availability and the company began a diversification campaign to find new products and markets.
The first major success was in the flocking adhesives market where the company became a significant supplier of acrylic based products from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s. With an increasingly more competitive environment the company decided to sell the business, but reentered in the 1990’s and remains an important alternative supplier. Hauthaway also produced urethane prepolymers for elastomers during this period.
The mid-1980’s were an important technology acquisition period as Hauthaway developed expertise to manufacture water-based polyurethane polymers. Subsequently, the company has had great success serving leather and textile markets with environmentally friendly, high performance resins.
Today, the focus of our business is on continuing to serve our diverse customer base and on translating successes to new markets such as architectural and industrial coatings, and adhesives.