S. C. Johnson & Son

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S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
IndustryConsumer goods
Founded1886; 134 years ago (1886)
Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.
FounderSamuel Curtis Johnson Sr.
Headquarters1525 Howe Street, ,
United States
Area served
Key people
Herbert Fisk Johnson III (Chairman & CEO)
RevenueUS$ 11.75 billion (2013)
OwnerJohnson Family
Number of employees
Previous SC Johnson logo

S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (commonly referred to as S. C. Johnson) is an American multinational privately held manufacturer of household cleaning supplies and other consumer chemicals based in Racine, Wisconsin.[2] In 2017, S. C. Johnson employed approximately 13,000 people and had estimated sales of $10 billion.[3] The company is owned by the Johnson family. H. Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO since 2004, is the fifth generation of the Johnson family to lead the company.[4]


The company is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the U.S,[5] beginning in 1886 when Samuel Curtis Johnson purchased the parquet flooring division from the Racine Hardware Manufacturing Company and named the new business S. C. Johnson. The company’s principal product at that time was parquet flooring, later adding other floor care products like Johnson’s Prepared Wax, Johnson’s Dance Wax and Johnson’s Wood Dye.[6]

Under Herbert Fisk Johnson Sr., the company expanded worldwide, establishing its first subsidiary in the United Kingdom in 1914.[7] Giving his employees credit for a successful year, Herbert gave them $35,000 in 1917.[8][9] In 1932, SC Johnson introduced Johnson’s Glo-Coat.[10] The success of Glo-Coat bolstered the company during the Great Depression.[11] S. C. Johnson’s line of wax-reliant products necessitated Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr.’s 1935 expedition to Fortaleza, Brazil to find a direct sustainable source of wax.[12]

From April 1935 until May 1950, the company was the sponsor for the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, officially known as The Johnson Wax Program.[13] During the 1950s, the company served as sponsor of the game show, The Name's the Same.[14] The company went on to co-sponsor Robert Montgomery Presents on NBC, and The Red Skelton Show on CBS.[15]

In April of 1939, the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed SC Johnson Administration Building opened.[16] Its addition, the Research Tower, opened in 1950.[17] The SC Johnson Headquarters was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974.[18]

The launch of Raid House & Garden Bug Killer in 1955 marked the company’s first major departure away from wax-based products.[19] Within the next few years, Sam Johnson, fourth generation leader, introduced some of the company’s best known: Glade, OFF! and Pledge.[20]

In April 2018, the company updated its tagline from "A Family Company", which began in 1998, to "A Family Company at Work for a Better World". According to the company, the updated tagline is "A reminder that SC Johnson holds itself to a higher standard."[21]

Racine Hardware Manufacturing Advertisement, "The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine," November 1889

Acquisition milestones[edit]

  • In 1992, the company bought Drackett, manufacturer of Windex, Drāno and other specialty cleaning products.[22]
  • In 1998, S. C. Johnson expanded its roster of consumer brands when it purchased Dow Chemical's DowBrands division, which included Ziploc, Saran, Fantastik, and Scrubbing Bubbles.[23]
  • In 1999, the commercial cleaning products and systems division separated from Johnson Wax and became a stand-alone company called Johnson Wax Professional, later known as Diversey, Inc.[24]
  • In 2003, the company acquired the three Bayer brands Baygon, Bay Fresh, and Autan.
  • In 2008 the company acquired Caldrea, Co., maker of household cleaning products including the Caldrea and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day brands.[25]
  • S. C. Johnson acquired Deb Group in 2015. A year later the company announced a new line of SC Johnson Professional products at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN conference in Chicago.[26]
  • In July 2016 the company signed an agreement to acquire Babyganics, a baby products company with skin care, oral care, sun care, insect repellent, diapers and wipe products.[27]
  • In 2017 the company signed an agreement to acquire cleaning brands Method and Ecover.[28]


The company launched a website listing ingredients for their products sold in North America in 2009.[29] Fragrance ingredients were added to the list in 2012.[30] The company added the ingredients of its European products to the list in May 2016.[31] In May 2017, SC Johnson disclosed a list of 368 potential skin allergens in its products.[32]

Brand names[edit]

Among the brands owned by S. C. Johnson & Son are the following:

Car care[edit]

  • Grand Prix (in some markets, known as Kit and Carnu)
  • Tempo

Floor care[edit]

Household cleaning and scent products[edit]

Household food storage[edit]

Household pest control[edit]

Shoe care[edit]

  • Bama
  • Class
  • Grison
  • Kiwi
  • Meltonian
  • Salamander
  • Tana
  • Woly
  • Woly Sport

Environmental record[edit]

S. C. Johnson & Son's Greenlist process is a classification system that evaluates the effects of raw materials on human health and the environment. The Greenlist logo represents an internal ratings system to help customers identify which products are environmentally safe. The Greenlist label is present in many S. C. Johnson & Son products. The Greenlist process has resulted in the elimination of 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from Windex, and four million pounds of polyvinylidene chloride from Saran Wrap.[35]

In 2011, S. C. Johnson & Son settled a lawsuit that alleged the company's Greenlist label misled consumers into believing the products were reviewed by a third party and given a seal of approval. The company agreed to an undisclosed sum and dropped the labeling of Greenlist on Windex.[36]

S. C. Johnson & Son is the main sponsor of the Serra das Almas Private Natural Heritage Reserve in the states of Ceará and Piauí, Brazil. The reserve protects an area of the caatinga biome, including wild specimens of the carnauba palm tree (Copernicia prunifera), the source of carnauba wax.[37]

On December 18, 2012, S. C. Johnson & Son began operation of two wind turbines at their largest manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. The turbines, in addition to the gas reclamation system in place at a nearby landfill, are estimated to produce enough electricity to completely power the facility.[38]

In 2017 S. C. Johnson purchased the ecological product Ecover and Method brands on undisclosed terms.[33]


A RICO lawsuit by tax whistleblower Mike DeGuelle alleges that since 1997, S. C. Johnson & Son has taken advantage of audit errors and filed fraudulent tax returns, underpaying its taxes by millions of dollars.[39] H. Fisk Johnson ordered an inquiry into the allegations, and told Tax Analysts that he learned "other details of the decisions they (the tax department) made that I didn't like. I didn't like what I heard." On December 15, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Case No. 10-2172, ruled that DeGuelle had alleged a valid claim that the company's discharge of him was part of the tax fraud scheme.[40] DeGuelle's claim was reviewed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin with the Court ruling to dismiss the RICO lawsuit on the grounds of preclusion.[41] The Court did not rule on SC Johnson’s actions as they pertain to tax evasion, with Judge Stadtmueller stating that "the legality of SC Johnson’s actions (and whether those actions did, in fact, occur) is of no importance to the Court’s consideration of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment."[40] The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reviewed DeGuelle's case and affirmed an earlier ruling of the Racine County Circuit Court in favor of SC Johnson for defamation related to Deguelle's claims of tax evasion and breach of a confidentiality agreement.[42][43]

S. C. Johnson & Son was fined by Autorité de la concurrence in France in 2016 for price-fixing on personal hygiene products.[44]


  1. ^ "SC Johnson What We Do". www.scjohnson.com.
  2. ^ "What We Do". S. C. Johnson & Son. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  3. ^ Byron, Ellen (March 9, 2016), "How Fisk Johnson Works to Keep the Shine on Family Business", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved March 29, 2018
  4. ^ Delwiche, Anna (January 29, 2017), "Continuing the Family Legacy: Fisk Johnson's Donation and His Family's Commitment to Cornell", The Cornell Daily Sun, retrieved March 29, 2018
  5. ^ Cowen, Lee (October 16, 2016), "In Good Company: A Family History at SC Johnson", CBS Sunday Morning, retrieved April 3, 2018
  6. ^ Pfankuchen, David (September 21, 1986), "Parquet Floors Launched Firm", The Journal Times, retrieved April 3, 2018
  7. ^ Pfankuchen, David (September 21, 1986), "Parquet Floors Launched Firm", The Journal Times, retrieved April 23, 2018
  8. ^ Staff Writer (December 22, 1917), "Johnson Gives His Employes [sic] Credit for Successful Year", The Racine Journal-News, retrieved March 29, 2018
  9. ^ Staff Writer (February 16, 1928), "Herbert F. Johnson Dies, Victim of Heart Disease", The Racine Times-Call
  10. ^ Staff Writer (April 29, 1932), "New Product is Now on the Market", The Racine Journal-News, retrieved March 29, 2018
  11. ^ Burke, Michael (October 22, 2001), "The Flight That Changed a Company", The Journal Times, retrieved April 3, 2018
  12. ^ Staff Writer (October 14, 1935). "Wax Hunt". Time. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  13. ^ Stumpf, Charles; Price, Tom (1987), Heavenly Days! The Story of Fibber McGee and Molly, Waynesville, NC: The World of Yesterday, pp. 41–202, ISBN 0-936505-05-2
  14. ^ Staff Writer (April 13, 1953), "Rival TV Networks Share The Honors: NBC and ABC both take lively part in one of TV's biggest success stories", LIFE, retrieved April 19, 2018
  15. ^ Staff Writer (September 15, 2003), "S. C. Johnson & Son", AdAge.com, Crane Communications, retrieved April 19, 2018
  16. ^ Staff Writer (May 8, 1939), "New Frank Lloyd Wright Office Building Shows Shape of Things to Come", LIFE, retrieved April 19, 2018
  17. ^ Staff Writer (December 11, 1950), "Speaking of Pictures: Johnson's new 'Heliolab' makes strange patterns both by night and by day", LIFE, retrieved April 19, 2018
  18. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form - S. C. Johnson and Son, Inc.", nps.gov, National Park Service, December 27, 1974, retrieved April 19, 2018
  19. ^ Cowen, Lee (October 16, 2016), "In Good Company: A Family History at SC Johnson", CBS Sunday Morning, retrieved April 19, 2018
  20. ^ Johnson, Samuel C. (1988), The Essence Of A Family Enterprise, Indianapolis, Indiana: The Curtis Publishing Company, pp. 49–50, 63, 65, 70–72, ISBN 0-89387-086-2
  21. ^ "SC Johnson updates its slogan: 'A Family Company at Work for a Better World'". The Journal Times. Racine, Wis. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  22. ^ The Associated Press (October 28, 1992), "Company News; S.C. Johnson to Buy Drackett from Bristol-Myers", The New York Times, retrieved April 20, 2018
  23. ^ "S.C. Johnson completes Dow acquisition", Milwaukee Business Journal, January 23, 1998, retrieved April 20, 2018
  24. ^ Callahan, Patricia; Ellison, Sarah (November 21, 2001), "Johnson Wax to Buy DiverseyLever From Unilever for About $1.6 Billion", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved April 20, 2018
  25. ^ Hamlin, Doug (April 28, 2008), "S.C. Johnson buys Caldrea", Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, retrieved April 20, 2018
  26. ^ Schuyler, David (October 26, 2016), "S.C. Johnson announces return to industrial and institutional market", Milwaukee Business Journal, retrieved April 20, 2018
  27. ^ Barrow, Olivia (July 1, 2016), "S.C. Johnson acquires fast-growing baby products company", Milwaukee Business Journal, retrieved April 20, 2018
  28. ^ Marotti, Ally (September 15, 2017), "S.C. Johnson plans to acquire Method, which has a Pullman soap factory", Chicago Tribune, retrieved April 20, 2018
  29. ^ GreenBiz Editors (March 13, 2009), "SC Johnson Starts Listing Products Ingredients Publicly", GreenBiz, retrieved April 23, 2018
  30. ^ King, Bart (September 15, 2017), "SC Johnson Completes Full Disclosure if Fragrance Ingredients", Chicago Tribune, retrieved April 23, 2018
  31. ^ "SC Johnson expands ingredient disclosure to Europe", Chemical Watch, May 27, 2016, retrieved April 23, 2018
  32. ^ Joyce, Stephen (May 26, 2017), "SC Johnson to Expand Skin Allergen Disclosures in Products", Bloomberg BNA, retrieved April 23, 2018
  33. ^ a b c Dye, Jessica (14 September 2017). "SC Johnson scoops up Method, Ecover cleaning-product brands". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  34. ^ "Johnson Merchandising: Johnson's Wash-'n'-Wax". TIME. June 26, 1964.
  35. ^ "CNNMoney – Business, financial and personal finance news".
  36. ^ "SC Johnson Settles Cases Involving Greenlist Labeling | Press Room". www.scjohnson.com. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  37. ^ Rodrigo Castro, Reserva Natural Serra das Almas / CE (in Portuguese), Associação Caatinga, retrieved 2016-05-18
  38. ^ "SC Johnson Powers Up Wind Energy at Largest Mfg Facility – Press Room". scjohnson.com.
  39. ^ "Can Loopholes Blow the Whistle on Whistleblowers?". Tax.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  40. ^ a b "Major Victory for Whistleblowers in Seventh Circuit Says Retaliation is a RICO Violation". Whistleblowers Protection Blog. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  41. ^ "DeGuelle v. Camilli et al (10-CV-103-JPS)". Justia.com. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  42. ^ Laehr Tenuta, Marci (June 1, 2011), "Former employee must pay SCJ $50,000 in damages", The Journal Times, Racine, Wisconsin, retrieved May 31, 2019
  43. ^ Burke, Michael (June 6, 2013), "Court of Appeals sides with SCJ in case regarding former employee", The Journal Times, Racine, Wisconsin, retrieved May 28, 2019
  44. ^ "Huge price-fixing fine is upheld". The Connexion. 28 October 2016. Archived from the original on 9 February 2017.

External links[edit]