Chesebrough Manufacturing Company

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Chesebrough Manufacturing Company
IndustryOil-based Products
Founded1859; 165 years ago (1859)
FounderRobert Augustus Chesebrough
DefunctJune 1955 (1955-06)
FateMerged with Pond's

Chesebrough Manufacturing Company (/ˈzbr/)[1] was an oil company, founded in 1859, which produced petroleum jelly or Vaseline,[2] which was marketed with the brand name Luxor.[3] Robert Augustus Chesebrough, a chemist who started the company, was interested in marketing oil products for medicinal use. He produced the first petroleum jelly by refining so-called rod wax, a paraffin-like substance that formed on oil drilling rigs,[4] using heat and filtration. He named the substance "Vaseline", from the German word for water (Wasser) and the Greek word for oil (olion). Vaseline was patented in the United States in 1872 and England in 1877.

Chesebrough today is part of the British consumer products company Unilever, which acquired Chesebrough and Pond's (the two of which merged in 1955) in 1987.

Company history[edit]

In 1870, Robert Chesebrough began selling a product derived from petroleum residue, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. Chesebrough's first manufacturing plant for vaseline was in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. In 1881, Chesebrough Manufacturing began operating under Standard Oil. With the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911, it regained independence. Additional production sites were built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in 1924, London, England.[5]

Chesebrough Manufacturing Company distributed its product throughout the United States and Britain during the early and mid-20th century.[2] Its UK office was at 42 Holborn Viaduct.[6] It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and grouped with other oil-related stocks such as Standard Oil and its subsidiaries, and Continental Oil.[7]

The company had a productive record of earnings and dividend disbursements, even after the onset of the Great Depression. Earnings increased from $8.36 per share in 1925 to $13.22 during 1929.[2] As of December 31, 1940, the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company had total assets of $4,267,940 and liabilities of $603,643.[8] In 1940, damage to its London plant from a World War II air raid totaled $50,000.[8]

Chesebrough and Pond's merged in June 1955 and, in 1987, Chesebrough-Ponds was acquired by the British consumer goods company Unilever.[9] Unilever paid $3.1 billion USD for Chesebrough-Ponds ($72.50 per share), in an all-cash deal.[10]


  1. ^ Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  2. ^ a b c "Curb Market Comment". The Wall Street Journal. July 18, 1930. p. 19.
  3. ^ Lambert, Isaac E. (1941). The Public Accepts: Stories Behind Famous Trade-marks, Names and Slogans. University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-4050-8029-6.
  4. ^ "Petroleum Product of the Week: Petroleum Jelly". Fuel for Thought. July 22, 2016. Retrieved 2022-10-28.
  5. ^ Homan, Peter (December 16, 2008). "Vaseline: from trade mark to noun". The Pharmaceutical Journal. Archived from the original on 2019-10-22. Retrieved 2022-12-16.
  6. ^ A Pictorial and Descriptive Guide to London and Its Environs: With Two Large Section Plans of Central London... Ward, Lock & Company, Ltd. 1919. advertisement ff. p 270.
  7. ^ "Financial Markets". The New York Times. June 21, 1914. p. XX10.
  8. ^ a b "Chesebrough Mfg". The Wall Street Journal. April 1, 1941. p. 9.
  9. ^ Kumar, B. (14 November 2012). Mega Mergers and Acquisitions: Case Studies from Key Industries. Springer. pp. 222–. ISBN 978-1-137-00590-8.
  10. ^ Crudele, John (1986-12-02). "UNILEVER SETS DEAL FOR POND'S". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-05-12.