Solvay Chemical and Plastics Company Celebrates 150th Year
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2013
Director of Communications
Solvay USA Inc.
+1 (609) 860-3616
PHILADELPHIA, PA --- November 18, 2013 --- One hundred fifty years after Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay launched the global company that bears his name, thousands of Solvay descendants, employees and stakeholders are celebrating the group’s long history around the world. More than 500 people, including employees from Solvay’s labs in Bristol, Pa., attended a special ceremony at the Franklin Institute this evening.
In 1863, Ernest Solvay developed the Solvay process, a chemistry method for creating synthetic soda ash, a white powder used to manufacture glass, paper, soap and other goods. He quickly industrialized the process and by the 1880s Solvay was operating worldwide, including in the United States. The Solvay process is still used today; students often learn about it in basic chemistry class.
The Solvay company, on the other hand, has changed significantly over its 150-year history. It’s still rooted in a rich tradition of entrepreneurial spirit, technical excellence and social innovation (e.g., Solvay was the first to offer paid holidays) but its product portfolio now includes thousands of commodity, specialty and consumer chemicals, polymers, plastics and innovative solutions that address global issues of energy efficiency and sustainability.
Hundreds of employees from Solvay’s regional headquarters in Cranbury, N.J., its Bristol laboratories, and plants in West Deptford, N.J., Marcus Hook, Pa., Newark and Marshallton, Del., and Baltimore, gathered at the Franklin Institute to celebrate and hear from Solvay Chairman Nicolas Boël, a descendant of Ernest Solvay.
“The history of this group is a collective adventure, the result of the determination of a few charismatic, ambitious and visionary individuals. It was born of a conviction that chemistry had a role to play in the progress of mankind. Continuing in this vein, Solvay has now become a major industrial player, convinced that chemistry today, even more than 150 years ago, has a major role in addressing the many challenges of the twenty-first century,” said Boël.
Special guests included representatives from the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, the American Chemical Society, the American Chemistry Council, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates and the University of Pennsylvania. A book about the Solvay’s history will be donated to the Philadelphia Public Library.
As an international chemical group, SOLVAY assists industry in finding and implementing ever more responsible and value-creating solutions. The Group is firmly committed to sustainable development and focused on innovation and operational excellence. Solvay serves diversified markets, generating 90% of its turnover in activities where it is one of the top three worldwide. The group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 29,000 people in 55 countries and generated 12.4 billion euros in net sales in 2012. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on NYSE EURONEXT in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR).
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